Christopher Burkins: Walled Off

 

I took this photograph while visiting Jerusalem Mill Village in Harford County, Maryland on October 13, 2020. I have visited this place many times and I enjoy it every time I visit. There is a lot of history to Jerusalem Mill Village, which makes it all the more fascinating because I live about 20 minutes away from it.

Jerusalem Mill was a Quaker village that operated from 18th through early 20th centuries. Today it is a living history museum. It is located along Little Gunpowder Falls, which separates Harford and Baltimore Counties. The mill was completed in 1772 by Isaiah Linton and David Lee. During the American Civil War, it was the site of Gilmor’s Raid. On June 11, 1864, Confederate Army Major Harry Gilmor sent a cavalry unit to the general store, McCourtney’s Store, to capture supplies and horses. The store is now a gift shop. Following the war, the buildings were gradually sold to new owners. The village continued operating as a mill until 1961, when it was purchased by the State of Maryland as part of Gunpowder Falls State Park.

Jerusalem Mill Village has a lot to offer. There are recreation trails that run along Little Gunpowder Falls at Jerusalem Mill Village. Many of the historic buildings are still standing. The site also hosts jousting tournaments (the state sport of Maryland), outdoor concerts, and educational programs with schools in the area. It also serves as the headquarters of Gunpowder Falls State Park.

I always enjoy seeing both the historic buildings and the natural scenery at Jerusalem Mill Village, and since it was a weekday when I went it was not very busy. I found the visit very relaxing after spending the earlier half of the day working on two classes at my university, one of which I had a test in. With classes being mostly online due to the coronavirus pandemic, I feel a much bigger need to break up my day so that I spend too much time on a computer.

This photograph is of the former dairy barn at the mill. Most of the mill is gone except for the stone walls. I have always found abandoned stone walls interesting. I have no idea why exactly, but is interesting seeing how the walls remain where they are. It also interesting to look at it and imagine what it might have been like when it was fully operational. I wandered around the ruins of the barn to get some photographs and I noticed a window in the wall, which I thought was fitting for they type of photograph I was looking for. I got the name “Walled Off” from a Banksy installation called “The Walled Off Hotel.” I used the wall from this disused barn as a metaphor for what I believe to be the current state of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has, figuratively speaking, built a wall around everyone’s normal lives. Everything we know and love has been disrupted because of this pandemic. In addition to that, there has been a lot of arguing over what to do about this pandemic. Between the coronavirus and increasing political polarization (especially in U.S.), I feel like everyone is building some sort of imaginary wall around each other. I think this could also be a metaphor for mental health and the stigma associated with it, as well as a metaphor for racism in light of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

 

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