Image credit Gary, of bobblehead George Alfred Townsend
And who is George Alfred Townsend, as you might be prone to inquire?
First off, the bobblehead was a fan giveaway at this past Saturday night's Class A minor league baseball game between the hometown Hagerstown Suns (affiliate of the Washington Nationals) and the Lexington Legends (affiliate of the Houston Astros). Mister Tristan (the 7 year old human being, not the blog) and I enjoyed a great summer night of baseball.
But rather than feature a bobblehead figure from the world of sports, entertainment, or politics, the team turned to local history. American Civil War history, to be specific.
Good on them! This was a very cool promotion, for anyone, not just history buffs.
See, George Alfred Townsend was a member of the press, and considered to have been the youngest war correspondent of that conflict. After the war he purchased a tract of land at Crampton's Gap, atop South Mountain near Burkittsville, MD (remember the spooky movie The Blair Witch Project, which was set nearby?). The site was part of the Battle of South Mountain, 3 days before and a prelude to Antietam, where the Confederates held three mountain passes and delayed the Union army by at least a day, enabling General Lee to consolidate his scattered army and manage a drawn battle at Antietam.
Wikipedia has a good summary of Townsend's life.
Townsend later built on his property a memorial arch to War Correspondents, billed as the first monument to the free press in the world:
Image credit here.
OK, you've all, I'm sure, been waiting with bated breath for the connection to Ultrarunning. Well, the fabled JFK 50 Miler goes right past the arch (too bad they don't have you actually run through it, which would be waaaay cool...but probably not looked favorably upon my the National Park Service).
I've run the JFK 5 times and each time when you pop out of the woods and into this park early in the race, see the arch and the hundred of spectators assembled there for the race, it is quite uplifting.