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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of History

Abstract

This thesis is a case study in landscape history which investigates how landscapes in conjunction with historic maps and records can be used and read as documents of history. Through analysis of features in the landscape of Brunswick, Maryland in addition to research of land deeds, maps, historic images, newspapers, and other records, Brunswick’s development and settlement can be traced with reference to broader national ideas and issues throughout history. Brunswick’s landscape shows three distinct stages of development that began near the Potomac River and spread north up into the steep hills that surrounds the river’s floodplain. The first stage is Brunswick’s earliest development which revolved around the river, construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the natural crossing space that allowed travelers to migrate through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The second stage came with the expansion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which built a large rail yard at Brunswick, made the small town into a bustling city, and developed distinct neighborhoods and a central hub of businesses. The third stage of development shows the decline of the railroad after World War II, greater emphasis placed on the use of the automobile, construction and maintenance of a large concrete bridge and paved roads, and an effort by the citizens to revitalize the city with tourism and public memory of their railroad heritage. Through examination of the features within the landscape of Brunswick supplemented with historic records and other documents, more can be understood about how the community developed and who settled in that area.

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