Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Annapolis, Maryland

As we drove in to Annapolis yesterday we noticed a paucity of traffic.  That became more apparent as we started driving around the capitol city's streets.  Then  it dawned on us that it was election day.  We had voted by absentee ballot so it was not on our radar what the day was.  Fortunately the state capitol was open, the only people around were the security guards.  I think it is interesting here to give some of Maryland's history.  The colony was named Maryland after Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England in 1632.  The Maryland State House is the oldest capitol in continuous legislative use since 1779.  It had been in a couple other buildings prior to this one.  The current building was the peacetime capitol of the United States Continental Congress which met there from November 1783 until August 1784.  The old senate chamber, where several historic events pertaining to the Continental Congress took place (as George Washington's resignation as commander in chief of the Continental Army), is closed for repairs.  We were able to see the old House of Delegates Chamber which is as it appeared 1876-1905.
Now that room is just used for special state ceremonies.  It was during the turn of the 20th century that the State House needed major repairs.  Two of the 19th century rooms were removed and replaced with one large annex where there is presently the Senate and House of Delegates.  After seeing those two rooms we were done with our tour, it is a small capitol building compared to others we have visited.

The rest of our day in Annapolis was spent as the U.S. Naval Academy.  Our guided tour was quite interesting as our guide sponsors a couple of the midshipmen and could share with us stories about what their everyday life is like on the Yard, as well as the traditions.  Pictured above are some of the middies as they are returning to their dorm (Bancroft Hall, largest dormitory in the U.S.) for the evening meal.  It is the only dorm on campus.  Before settling down for the evening they are required to work out for a couple of hours.  All of them are expected to participate in a sport- 35 varsity sports are available, besides club and intramural.  We also toured the Lejeune Physical Education Center which has a wrestling arena.
Pictured above is Dahlgren Hall, it will be the site of a Marine Corps ball this coming week end.  Originally graduations for the midshipmen were held here.  The naval school started in 1845 with 50 students in attendance.  Today there are 4,400 midshipmen, of which 25% are female.  Twenty-four academic majors are offered leading to a bachelor of science for all graduates.  We also saw Memorial Hall, the Naval Academy's place of highest honor where distinguished alumni, past and present, are remembered.
Above is the main chapel, the highest point in the Yard and it offers a good view of the Severn River.  The beautiful stained glass windows of the chapel are by Tiffany, on the right side the windows have Old Testament Bible stories with water and on the left side stories with water pertaining to the New Testament.  A person cannot be married while attending the school, so after graduation an average of 200 marriages happen here yearly.  We also visited the crypt of John Paul Jones below the chapel.  He was one of our country's greatest Revolutionary War naval heroes.  We learned more about him at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum at Preble Hall.  We have been to Annapolis in past years, I am glad we were able to able to take the opportunity this time around to see the naval academy.  It certainly was a worthwhile visit.

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