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Maryland WWI Centennial Home

To the Glory of Maryland: Conservation of the World War I Memorial to the Fifth Regiment

Written by Nancy Kurtz

1. 5th Regiment Armory MD_23

WWI Memorial, Fifth Regiment Armory (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

The magnificent World War I Memorial over the entrance of the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore recently was cleaned and refurbished, the work coordinated by the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments and the Department of General Services, and funded by the Maryland Military Department.  Last maintained in 2001, the coatings on the bronze and copper elements had weathered and required removal and renewal.  Anticipating the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I and Armistice Day on November 11, 2018, the Commission funded a condition assessment in early 2016 and developed a plan for treatment in cooperation with the Military Department, the agency headquartered at the armory.

The Commission has sponsored or co-sponsored conservation treatment for 112 Maryland monuments, including twenty-five commemorating World War I. Some projects were in partnership with Baltimore City or with the National Park Service. These include monuments at Antietam National Battlefield, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Potential projects are evaluated and selected according to condition, historical significance, and artistic merit.

2. 5th Regiment Armory MD_03

Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

In order to preserve the completed work, the Commission manages, on a modest budget, a plan of cyclical maintenance carried out every 3-4 years for sixty of the treated monuments that do not fall under maintenance programs administered by other agencies. The sixty are owned by counties, municipalities and private organizations. Projects are added to the treatment and maintenance program according to need and budget. Maintenance of treated works is key to the success of the program. Performed by professional outdoor sculpture conservators, it typically entails washing the monuments and plaques, touching up the protective wax coatings on bronze, and attending to repair issues that may arise. Because the scope and cost of maintenance of the memorial at the Fifth Regiment Armory exceeded the annual budget of the Monuments Commission, it was funded by the Military Department.

The Fifth Regiment of the 29th Division fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, part of the final Allied offensive and one of the largest in United States Military history. Over 30% of the Division was killed or wounded. This powerful sculpture by Baltimore artist Hans Schuler, dedicated on Armistice Day in 1925, features the allegorical figure of Victory leading the Regiment and comprises actual portraits of men who died at the front.  Schuler graduated from the Rinehart School of Sculpture of the Maryland Institute, studied in Paris where he was the first American sculptor awarded the Salon Gold Medal, and was president of the Maryland Institute from 1925 until 1951, the year of his death.  The memorial is an outstanding example of the figural bronze sculpture in demand for public art, monuments and private memorials in the early twentieth century.

4. P1090305

Deteriorated coatings on the memorial pre-conservation

The inscription, “TO THE GLORY OF MARYLAND,” radiates in brass letters on a copper lunette surrounding the bronze sculptural group.  Below the sculptures is an honor roll of those who were lost.  Flanking the entrance are tablets carrying the names of those who served, capped with ornate shields and guarded by bronze eagles.  The two-story roll-down door is constructed of copper sheet over wood and embellished with decorative cast bronze elements.

Detail of figures before laser cleaningAfter laser cleaning of face, with rifle in progress

                                                     Details of figures before laser cleaning                                         After cleaning of face, with rifle in process

The memorial has had a variety of coatings applied over the years, which has hampered ongoing conservation efforts.  Chemical methods were not entirely successful in removing underlying layers of paint during the 2001 maintenance.  However, in summer of 2018 the deteriorated coatings were removed from the bronze and copper using recently available, highly precise laser technology, which revealed the historic surfaces under the coatings without removing the patina.

Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frondRemoval tests on brass rays and copper molding

Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frond

                                   Coatings removed from top of inscription and palm frond             Removal tests on brass rays and copper molding

Following testing to determine the appropriate level of cleaning, Conservator Andrzej Dajnowski of Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio used laser technology to remove deteriorated coatings from the bronze  sculptures while preserving the patina beneath (click here to see a video of the process). The new coating of satin finish acrylic will protect the metal surfaces for many years while revealing and enhancing the richness of the colors.

11. 5th Regiment Armory MD_29

Detail of restored soldiers (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

The final step in the project was installation of new bird netting.  Inconspicuous from the ground, it prevents birds from roosting and nesting in the alcove and will protect the memorial well into the future.

Bird netting (credit: BirdMaster)Netting from ground (credit: BirdMaster)

Bird netting (credit: BirdMaster)                         Netting from ground (credit:BirdMaster)

Administered by the Department of Planning, the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments has developed and implemented the only statewide program of military monuments conservation and maintenance in the country.  The Commission was created in 1989 by Governor William Donald Schaefer and is charged with locating, determining maintenance responsibility for, and assisting in preservation of monuments in need.  At present count, 468 monuments to Marylanders have been identified, in and out of state.  Approximately 100 are owned and under the care of the City of Baltimore, the National Park Service, other federal agencies, or other states.  Sixty-one commemorate World War I.

3. 5th Regiment Armory MD_15

The restored Fifth Regiment memorial (photo copyright: J. Brough Schamp)

The construction of new monuments is ongoing, and many of the monuments date from the mid-to-late 20th century.  The Commission is not charged with the creation of new monuments, and those who do so are encouraged to set aside funding for their maintenance. For more information on the work of the Monuments Commission and a guided tour of representative projects, please visit the Commission web page, hosted by the Maryland Historical Trust.

The Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments and the Maryland Historical Trust are grateful to architectural photographer J. Brough Schamp, who documented the completed project. Mr. Schamp’s photos are copyrighted and used here with permission.  For information and permission for use, visit http://www.broughschampphotography.com

Netting photos are courtesy of BirdMaster, as noted.

Camp Meade and WWI

Published on Nov 13, 2017

Created by Arundel TV

Fort George G. Meade
Fort Meade became an active Army installation in 1917. Authorized by an Act of Congress in May 1917, it was one of 16 cantonments built for troops drafted for the war with the Central Powers in Europe. The present Maryland site was selected June 23, 1917 because of its close proximity to the railroad, Baltimore port and Washington D.C. The cost for construction was $18 million and the land sold for $37 per acre in 1917. The Post was originally named Camp Meade for Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, whose victory at the Battle of Gettysburg proved a major factor in turning the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North.

World War I
During World War I, more than 400,000 Soldiers passed through Fort Meade, a training site for three infantry divisions, three training battalions and one depot brigade. During World War I, the Post remount station collected over 22,000 horses and mules. Major Peter F. Meade, a nephew of General Meade, was the officer in charge of the remount station. The "Hello Girls" were an important part of Fort Meade history. The women served as bilingual telephone-switchboard operators in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. In 1928, the Post was redesignated Fort Leonard Wood, but Pennsylvania congressmen, angry at removing the name of native son George Meade, held up Army appropriations until the Army agreed to name the new permanent installation Fort George G. Meade on March 5, 1929.

Fort Meade has recently released a book titled Fort George G. Meade: The First 100 Years.  The full book can be found at http://www.ftmeade.army.mil/100Years.pdf

Discovering Epiphany Episcopal Church

Chapel 1918Epiphany’s story is of specific times and places, people and events--all within the context of the church and society moving and changing with the challenges and blessings of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Like initials carved in an old tree, over time small markings become large and reveal plainly the character and values of a community.

I first saw Epiphany Church in 1987. Discovering Epiphany was like finding a valuable old coin in a jar of ordinary pennies. To the casual eye, the little cottage church appeared to be a rundown relic of yesterday covered with aluminum siding and surrounded by overgrown hedges. The underlying design, however, is characteristic of a period of American architecture known as the “Arts & Crafts Period.” Some may have noticed that the front stoop was worn, but no one remembered that hundreds of World War I soldiers passed through its doors seeking solace and encouragement as they faced the hardships of trench warfare in Europe. Though it would take a two million-dollar restoration project to restore the exterior and interior fabric of the facility, there is no price that can estimate the value or weight of the memories that shine like the patina on the old oak furniture and are embedded in the worn wooden floors. A scrapbook found in the archives of the Diocese of Maryland full of news articles, financial ledgers, letters, photographs, sermons and daily schedules is the foundation from which a new Epiphany Church emerged.

Read more: Discovering Epiphany Episcopal Church

 Calvert County Honors Their WWI Fallen

The Calvert County WWI Memorial Marker is located at the Calvert County Courthouse in Prince Frederick.  It was sculpted by Edward Berge (1876-1924), is 6.25’ feet high and is mounted on an 8’ base.  The inscription on front reads: The soldiers and sailors from Calvert County who lost their lives in the World War.  “1920” is engraved in the stone base (marking the date the memorial was put in place).  Inscription on back reads:  This memorial is erected by the citizens of Calvert County to perpetuate the memory of their sons and daughters who made the supreme sacrifice and to those who served their country in the great World War: 1917-1918.

Three hundred and fifteen men from Calvert County enlisted; 18 died during the war and are named on the Memorial.  These soldiers are listed below:

George Armiger

USN, declared “officially lost” June 14, 1918. I was a member of the crew of the USS Cyclops, a collier or coal ship, which departed Norfolk Naval Station on a snowy day in January 1918 headed to the South Atlantic to refuel US and allied naval vessels. We arrived safely in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and then departed February 16 northbound with a load of manganese ore. Our skipper decided to make an unscheduled stop in Barbados concerned that we may have been overloaded. We left Barbados on March 4 enroute to Baltimore but we never made it. On June 1, 1918, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the Cyclops and her crew were officially lost after an extensive search failed to locate the vessel. To this day, the vessel has never been found, presumed to have sunk in the Bermuda Triangle. The German Navy declared that it had not sunk the Cyclops.

Read more: Calvert County Honors Their WWI Fallen

Maryland Milestones Maryland Milestones/Anacostia Trails Heritage Area 

Overview

Maryland Milestones/Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) is the regional Heritage Area program – part of a system of Certified Maryland Heritage Areas – for northern Prince Georges’ County and the Washington D.C. Metro area.  We celebrate unique historical innovations, major community moments, and amazing resources of the region.  The Heritage Area is a place to discover your own personal milestones – from kayaking or hiking to biking the trails and from experiencing history to enjoying arts!  Bordered by Washington D.C., Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and the Baltimore/Washington Parkway, the Heritage Area encompasses approximately 84 square miles.

World War I

Anacostia Trails Heritage Area will be working with partners throughout the Heritage Area on projects related to WWI.  Specifically, we are considering the Peace Cross in Bladensburg and the College Park Aviation Museum as two major components of this program.  ATHA, Inc. will help to market additional events that will be developed at their partner sites. 

Read more: Maryland Milestones/Anacostia Trails Heritage Area

National Cryptologic Museum        National Cryptologic Museum

Overview

The National Cryptologic Museum is the National Security Agency's principal gateway to the public.  It shares the Nation's, as well as NSA's, cryptologic legacy and place in world history.  Located adjacent to NSA Headquarters at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, the Museum houses a collection of thousands of artifacts that collectively serve to sustain the history of the cryptologic profession.  Here visitors can catch a glimpse of some of the most dramatic moments in the history of American cryptology: the people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines and devices they developed, the techniques they used, and the places where they worked.  For the visitor, some events in American and world history will take on a new meaning. For the cryptologic professional, it is an opportunity to absorb the heritage of the profession.

Originally designed to house artifacts from the Agency and to give employees a place to reflect on past successes and failures, the Museum quickly developed into a priceless collection of the Nation's cryptologic history.  The Museum opened to the public in December 1993 and quickly became a highlight of the area.

Being the first and only public museum in the Intelligence Community, the Museum hosts approximately 50,000 visitors annually from all over the country and all over the world, allowing them a peek into the secret world of codemaking and codebreaking.

Read more: National Cryptologic Museum

Jewish Museum        Jewish Museum of Maryland

Overview

The Jewish Museum of Maryland, America’s leading museum of regional Jewish history, culture and community, is located in downtown Baltimore, blocks from the Inner Harbor. Here at the JMM, visitors can uncover the roots of Jewish history in our landmark historic sites – the Lloyd Street Synagogue, built in 1845, now the nation’s third oldest surviving synagogue and B’nai Israel Synagogue, built in 1876 and still home to a vibrant congregation.  Our Museum Campus includes three exhibition galleries featuring fascinating and diverse exhibitions that explore in depth, the Jewish American experience. The Museum offers a wide range of programs and special events for children, adults, and families as well as a research library and family history center.  We invite students of all ages to experience the rich vitality of Jewish culture and heritage on and off-site through our education programs.

World War I

The JMM collections include artifacts, photographs, and archival material related to soldiers in the Jewish Legion and the US military; nurses and volunteers who worked in France with the Jewish Welfare Board; Jewish-owned businesses in Baltimore who helped supply the war effort; and the Maryland home front.  We plan to commemorate the centennial through public talks, programs, and small exhibits both on-site and online, on a variety of topics including the Jewish Legion, the roles of women in the war effort, life in Baltimore in the late 1910s, and ways to preserve your family’s WWI-related materials. 

1993173013b

Members of the Jewish Welfare Board in Paris, France, 1918
Rose Lutzky (later Beser) is third from the right.
Gift of Sylvia Beser. JMM 1993.173.13b

Read more: Jewish Museum of Maryland

Tina at St. Annes Cem

Honoring WWI Soldiers in Anne Arundel County

For the past 20 plus years Tina Simmons has been researching Anne Arundel County cemeteries and their occupants for the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society. She is trying to keep track of the WWI soldiers buried in those cemeteries, recording their military service. She currently has information on 221 individuals buried within Anne Arundel County. As a disclaimer, although she also has information on individuals at the Annapolis National Cemetery, none are currently listed as World War I veterans although she believes that there are some. At the United States Naval Academy cemetery, there are 52 individuals listed as World War I veterans who she is currently adding to her database.

Read more: Honoring WWI Soldiers in Anne Arundel County

 Preserving The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

MallowsMallows Bay is situated south of Washington, D.C., along the tidal Lower Potomac River off the Nanjemoy Peninsula of Charles County, Maryland. This small embayment and adjacent waters contain one of the largest assemblages of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere. While there are nearly 200 known vessels dating from the Revolutionary War period to well into the 20th century, the vast majority represent the civilian efforts of the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation during World War I. The need to man this fleet was a significant factor in the expansion and development of the U.S. Merchant Marine. At almost 300 feet long the skeletal remains of the last wooden steamship fleet fill the bay and give the illusion of rising from the waters when the tide ebbs and have been dubbed, “The Ghost Fleet.”

In addition, the area boasts archaeological sites and artifacts representing the depth of history of the Piscataway peoples and their ancestors in the region; there are Civil War encampments, as well as evidence for historic commercial fishing endeavors that include sturgeon fisheries and caviar canning.

The area is contiguous to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and the Lower Potomac Water Trail, which offers many educational and recreational opportunities.

Thriving populations of bald eagles, heron, beaver, river otter, deer, turtles and numerous aquatic species call this area home. Striped bass, white perch, channel catfish, blue crab, and others make this area particularly popular for recreational fishing. In fact, Mallows Bay is widely regarded as one of the best bass fishing areas in the country.

Read more: Mallows Bay - "The Ghost Fleet"

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