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Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Printable Version

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RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-14-2015 01:32 PM

Hint #1: Regarding the hotel I am looking for - another place it is not located is Pennsylvania.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-14-2015 01:49 PM

If I "read" your posts correctly, it seems no Washington hotel you are looking for. Chicago? The Tremont House?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-14-2015 01:57 PM

Eva, like I said to Gene, there may be multiple right answers to this question. The Tremont (nor any of Illinois) is what I had in mind for this question, but if it can be shown that JWB ever stayed at the Tremont then you are correct. You are right - it's not in Washington or the states of New York and Pennsylvania.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Gene C - 08-14-2015 02:22 PM

Well that eliminates Howard Johnson's


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-14-2015 02:51 PM

Here is the hotel's menu from the 1860s.

[Image: hotelmenu.jpg]



RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-14-2015 06:11 PM

Just to clarify - it's neither in the city nor the state of New York?! The last line of the menu reads "New York oysters fresh every day". I'm no expert on 19th century transportation of fresh oysters - how far could they make it till the fresh condition ceases? New Jersey?

(Maybe there is any other determining typical dish? Laurie...)


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Jim Page - 08-14-2015 06:52 PM

One of the things I find most intriguing about the Civil War era in Washington is that oyster houses were evidently as common then as coffee houses are now. As a confirmed oyster fiend--the four years I lived in Apalachicola, Florida, as a kid were a continuous oyster fest--I love the thought of an oyster house on every corner!

The only D.C. oyster house I know of nowadays is Hank's, off Dupont Circle. Not certain how long it's been around. Even though I used to drive by it every day when I worked downtown and my office was in walking distance, I've never eaten there.

Jim Garrett: ROAD TRIP!!!

--Jim


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-14-2015 07:01 PM

Just checked Art Loux' book, and noticed JWB stayed at the St. Nicholas Hotel in NYC. Didn't Mary stay there, too?

Another guess - the Parker House in Boston?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - L Verge - 08-14-2015 07:39 PM

(08-14-2015 06:11 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Just to clarify - it's neither in the city nor the state of New York?! The last line of the menu reads "New York oysters fresh every day". I'm no expert on 19th century transportation of fresh oysters - how far could they make it till the fresh condition ceases? New Jersey?

(Maybe there is any other determining typical dish? Laurie...)

If we can assume that Mary was at this hotel after the Civil War, the fresh oysters wouldn't be a problem because of railroads and steamships and ice. A bigger clue to me would be the offering of soft shell crabs. They are generally only available at certain times of the year, and I think they don't take to being chilled or frozen very well (get mushy).

I would think this hotel is more northern or upper Midwest because New York oysters would have to compete with Maryland and Virginia oysters the farther one went south. Let's guess at Connecticut???

BTW: Maryland and Virginia used to have oyster wars. There have also been state disputes over crabs because of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay servicing both states. Crabs breed in cooler waters and go to warmer waters for birthing/hatching. Virginia used to benefit in that respect, except that the State of Maryland owns all of the Potomac up to the Virginia shore. Virginians were actually poaching on Maryland property. The Bay is half-and-half.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-14-2015 07:41 PM

(08-14-2015 06:52 PM)Jim Page Wrote:  One of the things I find most intriguing about the Civil War era in Washington is that oyster houses were evidently as common then as coffee houses are now. As a confirmed oyster fiend--the four years I lived in Apalachicola, Florida, as a kid were a continuous oyster fest--I love the thought of an oyster house on every corner!

The only D.C. oyster house I know of nowadays is Hank's, off Dupont Circle. Not certain how long it's been around. Even though I used to drive by it every day when I worked downtown and my office was in walking distance, I've never eaten there.

Jim Garrett: ROAD TRIP!!!

--Jim
Do you also eat them raw (I know, in the US you also get them fried). If you get any here (at some gourmet meccas) they are served raw. I've never felt the need to try these.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - L Verge - 08-14-2015 07:42 PM

(08-14-2015 06:52 PM)Jim Page Wrote:  One of the things I find most intriguing about the Civil War era in Washington is that oyster houses were evidently as common then as coffee houses are now. As a confirmed oyster fiend--the four years I lived in Apalachicola, Florida, as a kid were a continuous oyster fest--I love the thought of an oyster house on every corner!

The only D.C. oyster house I know of nowadays is Hank's, off Dupont Circle. Not certain how long it's been around. Even though I used to drive by it every day when I worked downtown and my office was in walking distance, I've never eaten there.

Jim Garrett: ROAD TRIP!!!

--Jim

I hope I'm wrong, but for some reason I think Hank's is gone.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Jim Page - 08-14-2015 09:55 PM

(08-14-2015 07:41 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Do you also eat them raw (I know, in the US you also get them fried). If you get any here (at some gourmet meccas) they are served raw. I've never felt the need to try these.

I should now go into a routine like that guy in Forrest Gump did about how many ways shrimp can be served, but I won't!

Eva, I love raw oysters, usually on a saltine cracker and sprinkled with a mixture of lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. Recently, I've heard so much about the dangers of raw oysters that I've limited my intake to fried oysters and oyster stew. I also love them in Thanksgiving dressing, though my wife doesn't. She'll make a small pan especially for me with oysters in the dressing.

When I was a kid living in Apalachicola on the Florida Gulf Coast, that town was famous for its oysters. Probably still is. We'd buy raw oysters right off the boats in a big croaker sack for maybe $10. A croaker sack is made of coarse burlap and might hold 50 pounds of potatoes in its original use and holds a lot of oysters. We'd get our oyster knives--not real sharp, but with a very stiff 3" blade--and have ourselves a raw oyster feast. We'd also steam some over an open fire.

In parts of Florida, there are still enormous mounds of oyster shells created by prehistoric peoples, who evidently loved their oysters, too!!!

--Jim


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-14-2015 10:14 PM

Roger, is the hotel you're looking for Barnum's in Baltimore?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Jim Page - 08-14-2015 10:40 PM

(08-14-2015 07:42 PM)L Verge Wrote:  I hope I'm wrong, but for some reason I think Hank's is gone.

Aw, bummer! Well, I had a million chances to eat there and if it's too late, it's my own darned fault for missing it!

--Jim


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-15-2015 05:11 AM

Anita, I think you are right with Barnum's. (I realized after I wrote the question that there was probably more than one right answer.)

Eva, you got the one I had in mind - the Parker House in Boston. Booth stayed there when he was in Boston, and Mary stayed there when she visited Robert at Harvard. The menu I posted was from the Parker House.

Thank you to all who participated! You all win the use of a time machine which will take you back to the Parker House in late July of 1864. Historians are not all in agreement regarding whether JWB really had a Parker House clandestine meeting with Confederate agents who were using aliases. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to determine if the clandestine meeting really took place.