It’s no secret that Chestertown is steeped in history. So is the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland. In fact, that’s one of the things that many folks visit us for: the chance to stay in a pre-civil war building; to tour 19th century homes that have been painstakingly restored; or to visit museums that depict the local history. Yes, we are a romantic getaway destination, but that doesn’t mean a little edification is out of the question, right?
Speaking of education, one of the greatest historical features, and most enduring, in our little corner of the shore is Washington College. This small, highly regarded, liberal arts school is the tenth oldest college in the country, and the FIRST college founded in the new nation: in 1782, a mere 6 years after independence! And YES, the most famous founding father was also the founding patron – and namesake – of the brand new college.
A 235 year old institution in a 241 year old nation, Washington College (or WAC, as it is known locally) has been witness to so much history. Thankfully, the Revolutionary College Project (a website created by the Starr Center for the study of the American Experience) exists to catalog and share this history online. If you have even the slightest interest in history, you will be amazed at the information this site contains. And if you are a history buff, then, well… you’re welcome!! Photos of artifacts; rare newsreel footage of FDR visiting in 1933; stories of segregation and the arrival of the Freedom Riders in1962; Allen Ginsburg walking and chanting through the streets of Chestertown in the 1970’s. These stories and many more are collected here for anyone to peruse. It is truly fascinating stuff. We encourage you to dig into it.
Yet even the most serious students need to let loose every so often, and the WAC community does it in style:
Each year on or around George Washington’s birthday – February 22 – the biggest event of the year is The Birthday Ball: a lavish, themed affair, with costumes or black tie attire, music, dancing, food, and yes, George Washington. Faculty, staff, alumni and students celebrate in style. The students make a video each year to drum up excitement; here is an example:
What a hoot! This year’s Birthday Ball is on February 25th and we hope everyone, including George, has a blast!
Join us at our cozy Maryland bed and breakfast and discover the rich history of this special campus for yourself!