Paddle Along With Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, c. 1856

Adapted from a news release…

Civil War Trails, Inc. has teamed up with the Caroline Office of Tourism, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Caroline County Historical Society to update three of the Civil War Trails sites in the county. This includes a new look at at the story of voters at the Courthouse, a relocation and update to the sign describing Denton Wharf, and an update to the sign at Hillsboro Landing. The revised sign at Hillsboro now encourages visitors to paddle along the Tuckahoe Creek, to better connect with Frederick Douglass and to experience first hand the landscape that gave rise to one our of nation’s greatest leaders.

Caroline is home to six Civil War Trails sites. These sites are networked with over 170 in Maryland and over 1,350 across six states. The Civil War Trails program encourages visitors to stand in the footsteps of history, exploring each unique landscape and story through the eyes of those who were there. Each Civil War Trails site is marketed internationally by state tourism offices, regional destination marketing organizations, and municipal partners. This means the educational product is part of a much larger economic development mission.

Caroline Courthouse. “The new panel describes the turmoil surrounding the November 1864 vote to end the institution of slavery in the state.”

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is renown for its great paddling opportunities and is a draw for out-door enthusiasts and adventure travelers. Coupled with Douglass’s own writing about the power of place and waterways as avenues of self-emancipation this was a great opportunity. “The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources is pleased to partner with Civil War Trails to encourage visitation and outdoor recreation along Tuckahoe Creek,” said Lisa Gutierrez, Director of the Department’s Public Access and Water Trails Program. “The public water access points at Hillsboro and Covey’s Landing enable visitors to experience Douglass’s birthplace from the water and the new Civil War Trails signage provides insight to his formative years and the power of this landscape.”

Denton Maryland. “The signs new location in Crouse Park will capture a larger audi-ence and as a focal point in the community helps point visitors to other Civil War Trails sites nearby.”

These three updates are the first of several being planned for the Civil War Trails sites in Caroline. The updates are made possible by the participation of the municipal tourism office. Tara Hill-Coursey, Executive Director of the Caroline Office of Tourism said, “Working with the Civil War Trails so far has been a great experience. It does a great job of highlighting our history and giving travelers the opportunity to stand on the terrain where these stories took place. A hands on experience with history is received well by many. We hope that as people begin to travel and to enjoy the outdoors more, they will consider learning at our 6 stops along the way.”

“Our program is unique in that the sign content is constantly updated to keep pace with scholar-ship, input from community leaders, and expectations from our dynamic audience,” said Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. “Sites and stories like these help defeat the myth that the Civil War narrative is just about white men in uniforms on battlefields. The struggle began long before the ‘war’ began and took place along creeks and downtowns across the nation.”

Hillsboro. “Paddle along with Frederick Douglass.”

About Drew Gruber

Drew lives in Williamsburg with his wife, Kate and their two cats Milton (the Brown) and Graham (Spartacus). He enjoys reading but doesn't particularly relish writing. He enjoys oyster, never cooked- always raw, brown spirituous liquors and quiet.
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