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Civil War properties protected

September 08, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

FREDERICK, Md. - Two "significant Civil War properties" near South Mountain Battlefield will be preserved through a $785,000 state grant, Gov. Robert Ehrlich's office announced Tuesday.

The 31-acre Robertson property and the Ceres Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church will become part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' South Mountain State Park, which includes the battlefield, Ehrlich's office said in a news release.

The grant is from the state's Transportation Enhancement Program, which is federal money administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

"As part of the ongoing effort to preserve Civil War sites in Maryland, more than 6,000 acres of South Mountain and the Rural Legacy land have been permanently protected," the governor's office said.

The state's Rural Legacy Program was set up to help fund the preservation of farms, forests and open spaces, according to the Department of Natural Resources' Web site.

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Ceres Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was vandalized repeatedly about five years ago when "The Blair Witch Project" was released. The movie was set in nearby Burkittsville, Md.

An Associated Press story from the time said the church, which closed in 1984, attracted "late-night partygoers, thrill-seekers and movie devotees who have splashed the interior with graffiti, smashed the altar, repeatedly tore protective plywood off the doors and windows, and littered the inside with beer cans, candles and even a Ouija board."

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