State officials traveled to the Brookeville Academy on Monday morning to award $1.2 million in grants to the Town of Brookeville and other nonprofit and government entities in support of a variety of War of 1812 Bicentennial projects.
T. Eloise Foster, secretary of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, presented the town, the only recipient from Montgomery County, a grant from the Maryland 1812 Commission in the amount of $98,550 for events associated with its War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration, planned for 2014.
Other recipients included Maryland Public Television, the Maryland Historical Society, the Maryland Academy of Sciences, the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.
The grants, supplemented by matching funds, will support programming, education, visitor experience and capital improvement projects. Funding is through corporate sponsorships, state appropriations and proceeds from the sale of Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins and other memorabilia.
“We are pleased to be able to provide these grants, which will be supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds to revitalize communities, spur tourism and create jobs,” said Dominick Murray, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development secretary.
Sandra Heiler, Brookeville’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission chairwoman, welcomed visitors to the town with a bit of history, including the fact that only four places have served as the capital of the United States — New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Brookeville.
Heiler said while the town may seem small, quaint and old-fashioned, in 1814 it was anything but. The Quaker town was the second largest town in Montgomery County, and was “thoroughly modern.”
She said on Aug. 26, 1814, President James Madison fled to Brookeville as the British burned Washington. He sought refuge at the home of Postmaster Caleb Bentley, now known as The Madison House, making Brookeville the U.S. capital for a day.
At a reception held at the historic Madison House following the grant presentations, Murray said that being in such a historic setting provides an opportunity for people to learn from the past while moving forward.
“I can almost hear the muskets,” Murray said. “We are able to learn from the past through the celebration of the War of 1812, and it continues to demonstrate that we can all become allies, even if we were at one time enemies.”
Brookeville Commission President Michael Acierno said that the event was a great lead-off for next year’s events.
“There were a lot of people here familiar with Brookeville, but a lot were not,” he said. “It’s great to see people come to learn about and appreciate our town, and next year, we are looking forward to many others experiencing the joys of Brookeville.”
Brookeville’s celebration will include several events taking place throughout 2014, including presentations at Montgomery County History Day, a history symposium, a children’s play, musical performances and archaeological exhibits. The yearlong campaign will culminate on Aug. 30-31, 2014, with a recreation of the events that took place in Brookeville in August 1814.
Heiler said this grant, most of which will be matched by the efforts of many volunteers, will be used to create a documentary and for other associated costs.
“It is the one thing we will do that will be permanent,” she said. The town has previously received grants from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the state, the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Montgomery County, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and Heritage Montgomery. The funds will be used for research at the Maryland State Archives and for the commemoration events.