Crazy Laws in Maryland and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in Maryland and Fun Facts
Would you believe a state law prohibiting a sexual activity anywhere? Or a law against taking your lion or camel to the movies? I kid you not. Maryland still has those crazy laws on their books.
Crazy Laws in the State of Maryland
• Thistles may not grow in one’s yard.
How does one inform the thistles?
• Oral sex cannot be given or received anywhere.
I could not stop laughing when I read this crazy law because I fantasized an ‘Oral Sex Division’ at the local police department and a policeperson answering the phone:
‘Oral Sex. How may I help you?’
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Maryland
• In Baltimore - no person who is a “tramp” or “vagrant” shall loiter in any park at any time.
Tramps and vagrants already know about that law which is why they loiter with signs at busy intersections instead.
• It is a violation of city code to sell chicks or ducklings to a minor within one week of the Easter holiday.
Is that one week before or one week after?
• It is illegal to throw bales of hay from a second-story window within the city limits.
Why would there be bales of hay on your second floor in the first place?
• It is illegal to take a lion or a camel to the movies.
Make those free-loaders pay their own way.
• It is a park rule violation to be in a public park with a sleeveless shirt.
Let your sleeveless shirt find its own amusement. Forgive the laughter you hear but I can’t figure this one out at all.
• Though you may spit on a city roadway, spitting on city sidewalks is prohibited.
If you spit in the street, watch out for those semis.
Those trucks travel so fast, they can cause your demise.
• In Cumberland - it is illegal to use profane or indecent language on a playground or in any public park of the city.
I guess profanity is okay everywhere else.
• No person shall knock or throw any stones or other missiles into or upon any public park or playground.
Confine your missile-throwing to the countryside.
• In Rockville – persons may not curse and swear while on the highway.
Take your road rage to the side streets.
• A person may not deface, or injure or remove any fence, gate, railing, porch, building, or other structure upon public land.
Were citizens actually removing buildings?
• Citizens may not swim in the public fountains within the city limits.
Don’t be a fool, swim in your pool.
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Maryland
• Maryland was named after Henrietta Maria of France, the wife of King Charles I, of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by George Calvert, 1st Lord of Baltimore, before his death in 1632.
Lord Baltimore desired to create a haven in the New World for Catholics, free of the persecution that was commonplace in England at the time.
• Oxford (founded 1683) has the oldest privately operated ferry service still in continuous use in the U.S. The ferry links Oxford with Bellevue – a three-quarter-mile ride that takes about 10 minutes.
• King William’s School was founded in 1696 and became chartered as a college in 1784 in Annapolis. It is now a private liberal arts school, St. John’s College.
• The Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace, constructed in 1827, is the second oldest continuously operated lighthouse in Maryland.
The Cove Point Lighthouse erected earlier the same year is the oldest.
• The Mason-Dixon line was drawn between Pennsylvania and Maryland in the 1760s to resolve a border dispute. The line is traditionally thought of as the division between America's North and South.
• Maryland is one of two states which provided some of its land to help form the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. in 1790. Delaware is the other state.
• On the morning of August 10, 1813, residents of Saint Michaels were warned of a British naval attack and hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the tops of the trees.
The height of the lights caused the British cannons to overshoot the town.
This was the first known blackout and was so effective only one house was struck and is now known as the ‘Cannonball House.’
The town is known as ‘the town that fooled the British.’
• During revolutionary times, Rockville, a small unincorporated town, was known by a variety of names including Hungerford's Tavern, Owen’s Ordinary (tavern) and Daley’s Tavern.
Are you wondering why a tavern is part of all those town names? Simple. The only structure in the town large enough for a town meeting was the local tavern.
• America's national anthem was written by Francis Scott Key, a Maryland attorney, on September 14, 1814.
It is believed Key wrote the anthem while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor by the British.
The American flag has flown continuously over the monument of Francis Scott Key’s birthplace in Keymar, Maryland since May 30, 1849.
• During the Civil War, Maryland was a slave state but remained in the Union. Consequently, Marylanders fought on both sides and many families were divided.
• Mount Clare Station in Baltimore is the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the U.S. beginning on May 22, 1830. The B&O Railroad Museum located in the old Mount Clare Station houses the largest collection of 19th-century locomotives in the country.
• Samuel Finley Breese Morse was a painter and inventor of the electrical telegraph and Morse code. On May 24, 1844, he sent his famous ‘What hath God wrought’ message from D.C. to the Mount Clare Station in Baltimore.
His telegraph line had been strung along the railroad right of way.
• Ezra Cornell, co-founder of Cornell University, invented the telegraph pole.
• The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use. Construction began in 1772.
It is topped by the largest wooden dome built without nails in the country.
• The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber of the State House from November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784.
During that time, George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, marking the end of the Revolutionary War.
• Chincoteagues are famous ponies from Assateague Island. Known for its clean beaches and feral ponies, the island is visited by over 2.1 million people annually.
It is unclear exactly how the Chincoteague Ponies originally came to the island. But the legend that they escaped from shipwrecked Spanish galleons is most likely untrue.
It is believed that they are descendants of domestic animals transported to the island in the 1600s by 17th century colonists looking to escape livestock laws and taxes on the mainland.
Four centuries later, most of us still believe taxes are too high.
• The United States Naval Academy was founded October 10, 1845 on the site of Fort Severn, Annapolis and receives more than 4 million visitors a year.
• Bladensburg Dueling Grounds was the site of approximately 50 duels by gentlemen and military officers settling affairs of honor from 1808 until 1868 when the last known duel was fought.
• Speaking of dueling, In 1836, Daniel Key (22), son of Francis Scott Key, was killed in a senseless duel with a fellow Naval Academy cadet over a question regarding steamboat speed.
Natty Boh cap
• The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered a masterpiece and one of the finest 19th century buildings in the world.
The basilica was the first Roman Catholic cathedral in the U.S. constructed between 1806 and 1821.
• The first dental school in the United States was founded at the Baltimore campus of the University of Maryland in 1840.
• Baltimore’s most famous brew, National Bohemian Beer (otherwise known as ‘Natty Boh’), was first brewed in Baltimore in 1885. Its slogan is ‘From the land of pleasant living’ – a reference to Chesapeake Bay.
Natty Boh is currently brewed by MillerCoors in Georgia and North Carolina but 90% of its sales are in Baltimore.
Are you wondering why does Mr. Boh, the mustached mascot, have only one eye? Because ‘Gunther’s got it.’
• Gunther was National Bohemian’s biggest competitor after prohibition ended in the 1930s. The mascot’s missing eye represents a friendly play on the rivalry between the two companies.
• Natty Boh is also the reason why today you can pick up a six-pack of your favorite beer. Knowing that four would be too few and eight would be too much, the brewing company was the first to issue six-packs in the 1940s.
• George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth, Jr. nicknamed the ‘Sultan of Swat,’ and ‘The Bambino,’ was born in Baltimore and attended Saint Mary's Industrial School.
Many consider him to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Other Major League baseball players besides ‘The Babe’ born in Maryland include Cal Ripken, Jr., Billy Ripken, Lefty Grove, Frank (Home Run) Baker, Harold Baines, Al Kaline, Denny Neagle, and Jimmie Foxx.
• Edgar Allen Poe, author, poet, editor and literary critic, lived in Baltimore and is buried in Baltimore's Westminster Cemetery.
Didja know that the name of the Baltimore Ravens football team was inspired by Poe’s poem. ‘The Raven’?
• The highest point in Maryland, 3,360 feet above sea level, is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County.
• The lowest point in Maryland is a depression, often called Bloody Point Hole, 174 feet below sea level. The area is located about 1 mile west-southwest of the southern tip of Kent Island.
• Located in the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island is inhabited by one of the region’s oldest English-speaking communities. The local dialect is similar to the dialects of the West Country of England.
The most famous dish, Smith Island cake, is a locally produced cake similar to the Prinzregententorte, a Bavarian torte, featuring 8 to 15 thin layers filled with chocolate buttercream frosting and/or crushed candy bars.
The cake is iced with a cooked chocolate icing. Yummmm!
• Located on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the National Aquarium gets 1.5 million visitors every year. It holds more than 2,200,000 gallons of water containing more than 17,000 specimens representing over 750 species.
• Perdue Farms, a multi-national poultry corporation, is headquartered in Salisbury with annual sales in excess of $6 billion.
The company was founded in 1920 by Arthur Perdue with his wife, Pearl, who had been keeping a small flock of chickens. The company started out selling eggs. Then in 1925, Perdue built the first hatchery, and began selling layer chicks to farmers instead of only eggs.
• Swallow Falls State Park near Oakland showcases the highest waterfall in Maryland – the 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls. The park is also notable for its stand of old hemlock trees, some more than 300 years old.
• Crisfield is known as the ‘Seafood Capital of the World.’ The city's success was so rapid that oyster shells literally prompted the extension of the city's land into the marshes. City residents often claim that the downtown area is actually built atop oyster shells.
The National Hard Crab Derby & Fair begun in 1947 is held every Labor Day weekend. Major highlights include a parade through Main Street, the Little Miss and Mr. Crustacean Pageants, the Boat Docking Contest, the Crab Picking contest, and the Crab Bowl.
• The Community Bridge mural project in Frederick transformed a plain concrete bridge into the stunning illusion of an old stone bridge.
The entire structure was painted by hand by an artist and his assistants, using advanced trompe l'oeil (‘deceive the eye’) techniques.
• According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland households are currently the wealthiest in the country, with a 2013 median household income of $72,483 which puts it ahead of New Jersey and Connecticut, which are second and third respectively.
• Chesapeake Bay has had the largest blue crab harvest for more than a century.
In 2013, crab landings were valued at $18.7 million from Maryland waters.
Marylanders are known for dousing their crabs in copious amounts of Old Bay or Chesapeake Bay seasonings.
• The Thrasher Carriage Museum in Frostburg houses a collection of early 19th- and 20th-century horse drawn conveyances.
Closed carriages, milk wagons, open sleighs, funeral wagons, dog carts, and President Roosevelt's inaugural carriage are among the approximately 50 vehicles featured.
• Speaking of Presidents, on Father’s Day in 1953, President Harry Truman and his wife motored to Frostburg. They visited the Princess Restaurant, the only family-owned business that still exists from that time which continues to attract visitors with its Truman photos and the booth where they dined.
• The Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge in Savage is made of both cast iron and wrought iron. It is the only open railroad bridge of its type anywhere in the world.
• Move over, Duck Dynasty. Havre de Grace is known as the Decoy Capital of the World. You can visit the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum to view the many working decoys and fine arts models.
• Jousting became the official sport of Maryland in 1962. The sport in which two armored contestants mounted on horses try to strike the other with a lance has been enjoyed in Maryland for 300 years.
• Lacrosse became the official team sport of the state in 2004. The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame is located on the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore.
• Best-selling espionage author Tom Clancy was born at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore in 1947 and grew up in Northwood.
He wrote ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (which sold over 5 million copies) while working at an insurance company in Owings.
The Hunt for Red October (1984), Patriot Games (1987), Clear and Present Danger (1989), and ‘The Sum of All Fears’ (1991) all became successful films with actors, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, and Chris Pine all playing Clancy’s famous fictional character, Jack Ryan.
• The quaint town of Hale, Maryland depicted in the 1999 Julia Roberts film, ‘Runaway Bride,’ was actually filmed in the town of Berlin.
Berlin was also transformed into the fictitious Treegap for the 2002 film, ‘Tuck Everlasting.’
• You might think of the beaches of California when David Hasselhoff comes to mind, but ‘The Hoff’ was born in Baltimore where he spent his early years before going on to be the star of shows like ‘Knight Rider,’ ‘Baywatch,’ and YouTube videos.
• Maryland was first to enact Workmen's compensation laws in 1902.
• Speaking of laws, Maryland is the only state in the United States whose judges wear red robes in the Court of Appeals of Maryland (the Supreme Court of the state).
State motto – ‘Fatti maschii, parole femine’ (strong deeds, gentle words)
State dessert – Smith Island cake
State dinosaur – Astrodon (herbivorous sauropod dinosaur related to Brachiosaurus 30 ft. high, 60 ft. long)
State gem – Patuxent River stone (a yellow-red almost orange quartz found only in Maryland)
State drink – Milk
State song – ‘Maryland, my Maryland’ (sung to tune of ‘O Tannenbaum’ with lyrics by James Ryder Randall)
Maryland State Symbols
State bird – Baltimore oriole
State cat – Calico cat
State dog – Chesapeake Bay retriever
State flower – Black-eyed Susan
State tree – White oak
State insect – Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly
State fish – Rock fish
State reptile – Diamondback terrapin
State crustacean – Blue crab
More Maryland Fun Facts
• The 1,200 foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the third longest continuous truss bridge in the world.
• Mount Airy is unique because it is divided by two counties: Carroll and Frederick.
• Maryland forests cover approximately 2.7 million acres, or 43% of the state’s land surface.
• On September 14, 1975, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton of Emmitsburg was canonized, becoming the first native-born American to be so honored.
• Dr. Florence Rena Sabin was the first woman to become a full professor at a medical college, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, in 1917.
• New Market calls itself the ‘Antiques Capital of Maryland.’ Two annual festivals highlight the town's historic past. ‘A Day in New Market’ festival is held on the first Saturday in May. ‘Christmas in New Market’ is held on the first Saturday in December.
• There is a town in Maryland named Chevy Chase. However, the town was named in the 1800s, long before the former ‘Saturday Night Live’ star was born.
• Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore in 1940. While he lived in the city, he suffered from asthma, earaches and sinus problems. Zappa said that his chronic illnesses were caused by exposure to gas released by a nearby chemical warfare facility.
Favorite Maryland joke (Marylanders will appreciate this one):
The day after his wife disappeared in a boating accident, an Ocean City man answered his door to find two grim-faced Maryland State Troopers. "We're sorry, sir, but we have some information about your wife," said one trooper.
“Did you find her?" asked her husband.
"We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?"
Fearing the worst, the husband said, "Give me the bad news first."
The trooper said, "This morning we found your wife's body in the bay near the bridge."
"Oh my God!" said the shaken man. "What's the good news?"
The trooper continued. "When we pulled her up she had 15 huge blue crabs on her."
Stunned, the husband demanded, "If that's the good news, what could be the really great news?"
The trooper said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow."
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."