I’m in the colonial era town Chestertown, MD this morning — for a short while — blogging at the town central coffee shop, Play it Again Sam.
This is a fascinating place that used to be one of the primary nodes along a course of travel from the Southern states up to the Northern states, and vice versa. George Washington, according to public records, came through a minimum of eight times and received an honorary degree from the local college here in 1789, named Washington College — the only college that George Washington consented to have his name affixed to and on which Washington was a member of the Board of Visitors.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted an honorary degree from Washington College in October 1933 — and Friday morning this week, I was delighted to see a bronze plaque above the “presidential bed” on the long-time (now privately owned) presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia, which stated that Franklin Roosevelt slept in that bed (so did LBJ and JFK on other occasions) when he traveled up to Chestertown, Maryland for that ceremony. (I enjoyed an incredible, private tour of the USS Sequoia Friday morning and may be participating in an important event on the yacht in the not too distant future.)
Chestertown, MD used to be the central base for Episcopal affairs in the country as well — and the local Emmanual Episcopal Church hosted the 1790 convention that broke the American Episcopal Church away from the Church of England.
L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame was also married to Sara Northrup here on August 10, 1946, though he was already married to someone else, Polly Grubb. (note to Scientologists: Just stating the facts. . .calm down.)
Tallulah Bankhead is buried down the road in Chestertown.
And while Katherine Hepburn was born in Hartford, CT — she was allegedly “conceived” at a gorgeous 18th Century farm called Shepherd’s Delight in Chestertown owned by Hepburn’s grandfather, Reverend Sewell Hepburn.
On March 7, 2007, the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation named Chestertown] one of a dozen distinctive destinations that folks should check out.
More later. I’m off to a brunch with former Australian Deputy Prime Minister as well as Minister of Finance and Defense Kim Beazley — a big personality from down under who used to head the Labor Party and who I wish was running his country.
— Steve Clemons