Bob Belas Photography Blog

An Afternoon at Benjamin Banneker Park

The leaves were still mostly on the trees. The weather was unseasonably warm. High above clouds were scurrying to the east as a front moved through. There were bluebirds flitting about the branches of the trees. What a wonderful time to photograph the dwellings at Benjamin Banneker Historical Park in Oella (318 Oella Avenue, Catonsville), Maryland.

The park is named after the first African American man of science, and its museum exhibits chronicle Banneker’s contributions as a largely self-taught mathematician, astronomer, almanac writer, surveyor, abolition advocate and naturalist during the late 1700s. Don't be fooled, it is a small parcel of land, but rich in so many things. I come here often to see birds that I am unlikely to see at home and to photograph the architecture and landscape.

The first two photographs I've placed in today's blog show the Treuth House (c. 1849-1851). Also known as the Joshua Hynes House, the house is a three-story, five-bay by two-bay granite ashlar structure, with partly dressed and partly coursed rubble stone on the remaining walls. It has a gable roof on standing-seam metal with a ridge and an interior brick chimney on each end.

The lower two photograph are the Banneker cabin. This split log colonial cabin is furnished with reproduced artifacts like those Banneker could have used. It sits beside the colonial herb garden, vegetable garden and Banneker Orchard. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of light and dark as the afternoon sun illuminated the horizontal beams of the cabin. Please savor these images.

Best wishes,