Monocacy National Battlefield Visitor’s Center

6 08 2008

Fellow blogger and historical marker hunter Craig Swain chastised me for having no photos of Monocacy National Battlefield in this post about some of the sites I visited in Frederick, Md, in June.  I shot plenty, and decided to present them here in this separate post.

The new visitor’s center at the park is very airy and modern, but I gotta tell ya, the old VC had a lot more charm.  I find the new one a little, umm…, sterile?  Austere?  The first floor houses what you might call a book store, but really it’s all one big room featuring the ranger desk.  The second floor has artifacts and placards arranged in a circular pattern, with an observation deck at the end opposite the entrance.  I don’t know, it just didn’t appeal to me.  I may have been expecting too much after having seen the new Corinth Interpretive Center.  Anyway, here are some photos I took that hot, hot Saturday morning.  Click the thumbs for larger images, click those images for even larger ones.


The entrance sign and the new, barnlike VC – the old VC was in a real barn


The second floor displays, including a room encircling time-line and the frock coat of a New Jersey officer (I think)


A tactile display and Jubal Early’s campaign desk


A cavalry display and an appropriately larger artillery display


Time-line detail and battle map with bells and whistles


General Lew Wallace’s uniform coat and vest and the observation deck


A small closet which the visitor opens to reveal the battleflag of Co F, 17th VA Cavalry, Nighthawk Rangers



3 responses

7 08 2008
Harry Smeltzer

I’ve received a few notes “disagreeing” with my “assessment” of the VC, ranging from it being superior not only to the old Monocacy VC, but to the new Gettysburg VC, to the need for the new Monocacy VC due to flooding at the old one and traffic concerns there.

First and foremost, I think some do protest to much. It’s not like I hammered the thing. It’s just a little….cold. I didn’t think it was very imaginative, though the artifacts on display are indeed cool and accessible. But the setting of the old VC was pastoral, with a nice walking trail nearby. The new one is in the middle of a burning hot, treeless field. But maybe in a few years it will be better. In the words a very wise hunchback: “I don’t know…a little paint…some flowers…couple of throw pillows…”


7 08 2008

Harry, the park is currently developing a trail leading out from the VC down to the actual junction. The trail will link in several Civil War events, not only the battle, but stories of several encampments over the war years…. and of course the lost orders!

If, and that is a big if, save passage points are engineered around the railroad and MD 355, then one could walk the ground from the VC over to the Best Farm. Who knows maybe even the Worthington House.


8 08 2008
Harry Smeltzer


Thanks for the update. How about trees? Any plans for trees?


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