Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Events will celebrate town’s role in War of 1812
Cars will be hidden and cellphones turned off as the town of Brookeville steps back in time to the year 1814 during its War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration this summer.
As plans for the events take shape, residents filled the Brookeville Academy on Monday night to learn of the latest developments.
On Aug. 26, 1814, President James Madison fled to Brookeville as the British burned Washington. He sought refuge at the Brookeville home of Postmaster Caleb Bentley, now known as the Madison House, making Brookeville the nation’s capital for a day.
Many other refugees poured into Brookeville, and the townspeople took them into their homes.
That same hospitality exists today, as the town prepares to welcome more than 10,000 people to the bicentennial celebration in August.
Michael Acierno, president of the town commission, said that while researching for the bicentennial, organizers have discovered that their ancestors demonstrated humanity, passion and courage.
“Brookeville is still a place like that, opening up our town like this,” he said.
Symposium on war
A history symposium, “Brookeville and the Burning of Washington: A Tale of Two Capitals,” will be presented from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. March 29 at the Performing Arts Center at Sandy Spring Friends School. Speakers are Sandra Heiler, chairwoman of the Brookeville War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; David Hildebrand, director of the Colonial Music Institute; Anthony Pitch, author; Megan O’Hern, staff researcher with the Maryland State Archives; Catherine Lavoie, chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey with the National Park Service; Bob Hines, educator, historian and field director of the town’s archaeology project; and Steve Vogel, author.
The cost is $20, or $15 for students with school identification through March 15; $25 for adults and $20 for students March 16-29. Registration will be available on the town’s website, townofbrookevillemd.org.
Historic homes tour
The town will open up its doors to guests from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 during “Then and Now,” a home and garden tour.
A selection of both historic and newer homes and gardens will be open to the public demonstrating how architecture has evolved through Brookeville’s history. Proceeds will go to help fund the bicentennial celebration. Lunch will be served at the Brookeville Academy.
The main event will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-31. The weekend will focus on recreating the events in Brookeville that occurred in August 1814, and a 200-year reunion of descendants of refugees, townspeople, soldiers and the president’s party.
All the re-enactments and demonstrations will feature period costumes. Highlights will include exhibits; demonstrations; period musicians; children’s activities; street vendors; arrival of refugees, military units, gold and silver, the U.S. Senate papers, and the presidential party; a flag ceremony; and a dinner held under a tent at Longwood Recreation Center on Saturday, and a barbecue on Sunday.
A new website, www.uscapitalforaday.org, is expected to be launched soon and will include the latest information.