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Will You Wish Us Happiness Forever

The title is from A Dear John Let­ter writ­ten by Billy Bar­ton and made most pop­u­lar by Pat Boone. That is, by the way, most def­i­nitely not the Billy Bar­ton buried at Bel­mont Manor.

If you haven’t heard yet, you, as Howard County res­i­dents, are now the proud own­ers of Bel­mont Manor. Bel­mont is one of the great his­toric manors of the area. It’s even more spe­cial because the ease­ments that are in place help guar­an­tee that when stand­ing on the porch look­ing out, you see things, more or less, exactly as those who stood on that porch in 1738. That’s truly remark­able and I am ecsta­tic that this trea­sure is now in the pub­lic trust and will have pub­lic access. If you are inter­ested in a more detailed his­tory of Bel­mont, the folks from Save Bel­mont have a fan­tas­tic descrip­tion of the manor’s rich history.

Since Bel­mont is nes­tled nicely in Pat­ap­sco State Park, it will pro­vide a per­fect home for an envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion cen­ter. To me, this pur­chase is fan­tas­tic (OK I promise never to use the word fan­tas­tic again) for many rea­sons, but two over­ar­ch­ing ones are worth men­tion­ing. First off, Howard County as a com­mu­nity now has three crown jew­els for envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion, Robin­son Nature Cen­ter, The Howard County Con­ser­vancy, and now Bel­mont, any one of which would be a true prize for a com­mu­nity. To have three, spread through the County, is sim­ply remarkable.

Sec­ondly, I have, for many years, talked about how envi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion and his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion are actu­ally two parts of the same “move­ment.” This is some­thing that usu­ally one either gets intrin­si­cally or has a really hard time get­ting and agree­ing with. Bel­mont pro­vides the per­fect oppor­tu­nity to put that thought into action. Bel­mont Manor, besides being built in 1738, is sur­rounded by Pat­ap­sco State Park and the Pat­ap­sco River is a sig­na­ture river of the Chesa­peake Bay AND the birth­place of the Amer­i­can Indus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion. The river val­ley is where our his­tory and envi­ron­ment col­lide and we, the peo­ple of Howard County, now get to fully appre­ci­ate the keystone.

JD Feld­mark

June 2012


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