History Day Shows that Leaders Create Long Term Impact
Crash Course in Tourism and Travel
John Fieseler, Executive Director of the Tourism Council of Frederick was the facilitator for the day. His leadership in the areas of travel and tourism has benefited Frederick County immensely. In 2011, more than 1.5 million visitors traveled at least 50 miles to visit Frederick County, and while here spent $325 million dollars. According to John, this year, the numbers are expected to show that visitors spend $1 million dollars per day in Frederick.
“Visitors to Frederick County help support our local economy,” said Fieseler, and this was reflected in his early morning presentation. He spoke about the presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama, and other past leaders who have travelled through Frederick and left an historical mark on our county that has travelers coming to learn about. It seems as though many come for the history and stay for dining and shopping opportunities. And, unlike other cities, where the natives stay away especially during tourist season, in Frederick many of the folks work in the city and stay to shop and play.
Leaders create opportunity and do the right thing
At each site we visited, we saw stunning examples of leadership on display.
In the City of Brunswick, we met Dr. George Lewis, who started his story with “I was taking a walk in the woods and stumbled upon a crumbled aqueduct.” Leaders create opportunity and do the right thing, and what better thing to do than to restore apart of Frederick’s history? Dr. Lewis created the Catoctin Aqueduct Restoration Fund, raised $4 million dollars, influenced many to join the cause, and in 2011, his work was realized and on display for many to enjoy year after year.
The Brunswick Heritage Museum where we learned about the city’s rich railroad history from Executive Director James Castle was fascinating. It was also interesting to learn the city is starting to tap into their rich canal history with the hope to bring in more revenue. On a side note, I enjoyed watching the trains run on the third floor of the museum. The interactive scale model railroad depicts the B&O passenger line from Union Station, DC to Brunswick and now they are extending the line to Harpers Ferry.
History in Motion
Local historian and award winning filmmaker, Chris Haugh captivated us with stories of the folks who used to live in and around Gathland State Park, the former estate of war correspondent George Alfred Townsend. Chris uses his gift of story-telling to bring movement to history.
Finally, Executive Director, David Price at the National Civil War Medicine Museum (NCWMM) gave us a tour of the museum. I have been to that museum a handful of times and know a lot of the stories. However, touring with him was quite an experience. His excitement and love for what he does is infectious! He is partnering with many businesses in and around the city to take history out of the museum and bring it into places like restaurants, brew pubs, and shops. The NCWWM has partnered with PBS Television on their new series, Mercy Street. The show will air in January 2016. Look for upcoming details about “Watch” parties on NCWMM website.
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Photos courtesy of David Rogers