Washington DC – Day Trip 2 – Prince George’s County 2

March is Women’s History Month in America, and just as hordes of American 8th graders start to descend on the nation’s capital, before their graduation in June, this is a perfect time to learn more about the women who made America great!

Maryland is the only American state to catalog and physically mark a Heritage Trail so that visitors can learn about the places and accomplishments associated with these amazing women. This is part of the section in Prince George’s County, which borders Washington, DC.

Powder Mill and Riggs Road • Adelphi, Maryland 20783

The Maryland Historical Trust – State Highway Marker helps us learn about  Mother Jones, the “Grand Old Champion of Labor”. It is located at the site where the legendary labor organizer died while at the Walter and Lillie May Burgess farmhouse on November 30, 1930. Although the farmhouse no longer exists, several foundation stones from it have been unearthed on the property of the Hillandale Baptist Church. Mother Jones’ “100th” birthday celebration near the farmhouse was a nationwide event, as it should have been, to honor this ardent reformer. A nearby elementary school has just been named in honor of Mother Jones.

And, in the Department of Labor Building, in Washington, DC, you can also see more about the giants who made the Labor Movement the leveler, which gave ordinary American citizens the chance for a piece of the magnificent system they were building, which became the amazing economic engine of the world.

4811 Riverdale Road • Riverdale, Maryland 20737 • 301-864-0420
Phone: 301-864-0420 Office Hours: M-F, 9-5
Tours: Fridays and Sundays: 12 noon – 3:30 pm
other times by appointment.

At the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum, we honor a woman who worked to benefit the Arts. Riversdale Mansion was the home of several women important in American history; we’ll just talk about Rosalie here.

Rosalie Stier Calvert (1776-1821) was the daughter of a Belgian aristocrat who was a refugee from the French Revolution. Coming to America at age 16, she was the only unmarried child. After Rosalie married American scion, George Calvert, a descendant of Lord Baltimore, and after her family returned to Europe in 1803, Rosalie completed Riversdale and handled business affairs for her father, who made the unusual transfer of plantation and manor house to his daughter, and not to his son-in-law as was the usual practice.

So, Rosalie juggled being the mother of 9 children and being the mistress of 2 successful plantations (her own and her husband’s – Mt. Albion). Both she and the house survived the important Battle of Bladensberg during the War of 1812.

At Riversdale, Rosalie held the first art exhibit in the United States with paintings by Van Dyck, Titian, Bruegel, and Rubens that had been left with her, for their safety, during the European turmoil. Her own portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart and her letters are collected in the book, “Mistress of Riversdale”, edited by Margaret Law Callcott. She exemplified the multi-dimensional, well-educated woman who emerged from the shadows of European domesticity and stricture, into the opportunity America afforded all.

But, she died at age 45, and interestingly, her great-great-grandaughter, who bore her name, and who was instrumental in the restoration efforts, died a few weeks before turning 100 years old, in December 2010.

Riversdale, now more than 200 years old, offers events throughout the year. Check for tour times and events at: Riversdale Historic Home.

The next event is: Tasting the Past: Heirloom Grains Saturday, April 9, 2 pm

You can take a culinary journey back to the 19th century. The short talk is followed by a guided tasting of historic recipes made from heirloom grain varietals. Ticketed guests can also visit the Dependency kitchen where the Riversdale Kitchen Guild will be cooking grain dishes on the open hearth. Fee: Resident $12; Non-Resident $15; reservations are required by April 1. There are regular culinary events from this group at Riversdale throughout the year.

Part 1: C&O Canal

Part 2: Maryland Women Pacesetters

Part 3:
Clara Barton, Rachel Carson

Part 4: Christa McAuliffe, Judith Resnick – Maryland political and science pioneering women

Washington, DC Travel – Archived Articles

©2011 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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