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News Dispatches from Other Centuries

History Features from Town Archivist Patricia Patula (and a few other distinguished authors)

Washington Grove in the 1890s-1920s

The Historic Context Report researched by Robinson & Associates, Inc., in conjunction with their work in preparation of the Town’s National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, provides perspective on the significant regional and national events and trends that shaped the development, design, and character of Washington Grove. This...

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Housing Stock in Washington Grove as it Transitioned from Stockholder Association to Municipality and the Great Depression Yielded to World War II

The research of Robinson & Associates, Inc., in preparation of Washington Grove’s Updated and Expanded Historic District Nomination to the National Register is gratefully acknowledged.  It is the basis of the following. Washington Grove’s initiative to seek incorporation as a municipality followed national trends. Starting in the early...

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A Brief History of the Indigenous People of Washington Grove Environs

This month, we share the brief history of indigenous people of Washington Grove environs that Town resident Ann Philips has researched and compiled with information contributed by Sarah Hedlund, Montgomery County Librarian/Archivist, and Heather Bouslog, Montgomery County Parks Archeologist.  The generous collaboration of resident Wendy Harris...

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History of Washington Grove’s “Commercial Corner”

The Commercial Corner in the 60s and 70s The research of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination forms the basis of this month’s overview of our Commercial Corner’s more recent past. It is gratefully acknowledged. In the 1960s, property owner Kay Bowling, and later her son...

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Development of Washington Grove’s “Commercial Corner”

We acknowledge with appreciation Robinson & Associates’ research in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination; it forms the basis of this month’s look back at the early days of our Commercial Corner. As Washington Grove and the neighboring subdivision of Oakmont developed in the last decades of the...

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Sheltering the Faithful at Camp Meeting

Once again, we acknowledge with appreciation the research of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination. Their research forms the basis of this month’s overview of shelter at camp meetings. The earliest permanent building constructed at many campgrounds was a tabernacle....

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Camp Meetings

We appreciate the research of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination; it forms the basis of this month’s overview of the choice of camp meeting locations and their physical arrangements. While many revivals were located within topographically indistinct clearings or...

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The Origins and Early Development of Camp Meetings in the United States

While no standardized definition exists, a camp meeting is an outdoor preaching event at which participants sustain themselves and camp overnight, often in tents. Camp meetings are temporary gatherings, typically lasting a few days to a week at the end of the summer. Scholars have developed several theories as to the origin of the camp meeting,...

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The Washington Grove Auditorium – Last of the Summer Series

Last month, we looked at the role of the Auditorium in the Chautauqua Movement and the significance of the Auditorium in the early development of Washington Grove. Again, we express our appreciation for the work of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination. This month's focus on...

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The Auditorium – Central to Chautauqua

In June, we looked at the Chautauqua Movement and its manifestation in Washington Grove. Again, we express our appreciation for the research of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District Nomination. Excerpts from their work, which follow, focus on the role of the auditorium in the...

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Chautauqua Came to Washington Grove—and an Auditorium Would Follow

We are grateful for the research of Robinson & Associates in preparation of the Updated and Expanded Washington Grove Historic District nomination. Excerpts from their work, which follow, focus on the Chautauqua Movement and its manifestation in Washington Grove. The Chautauqua Movement developed in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to...

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A Brief History of Tennis in Washington Grove

(as researched and compiled by Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist and HPC Commissioner) Tennis has been an important part of the life, culture, and landscape of Washington Grove since the camp meeting days. Philip Edwards (Washington Grove, 1873-1937) and others who have researched the history of tennis here estimate that the Town has...

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A Second Camp Meeting

A second camp meeting was served by the B&O Railroad when it stopped at the Washington Grove station… Did you know that Johnson’s Park at Emory Grove, alongside Washington Grove Lane, was the site of a camp meeting? The community of Emory Grove, unplatted and unplanned, was built by former African American slaves and their...

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History of Lighting in Washington Grove

Presented below are a few highlights about the history of lighting in Washington Grove, based on Gail Littlefield’s research as we prepared for the Town’s updated nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Gail’s research relied heavy on Philip K. Edwards’ work, Washington Grove 1873-1937: A History of the...

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Francis Hiller – The Only Nature Lover?

By Archival Staff & HPC Commissioner Mimi Styles It was customary in Washington Grove’s earlier days as a camp meeting association with a Board of Trustees, that the president of the Washington Grove Association* would give an annual report to the stockholders. In his 1930 report, President Francis L. L. Hiller expressed his concern for the...

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John Fletcher Hurst: a Biography — The “Find” that Connects a Century

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist When one looks through old books, perhaps having a slight tinge of mustiness, there is always the anticipation of a “find.” In May of 2018, the Town’s archival researchers were not disappointed. The “find” – a heavy, thick tome with the gold, ragged page edges of publications in 1905 – bears a title in gold...

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Our Woods and Walkways: Are They Historic? Part 3

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist In our last two articles, we used concepts borrowed from the world of historic preservation to discuss whether Washington Grove’s woods could be considered historic. Once again we return to the world of historic preservation and borrow the term “streetscape, ” which refers to “ . . . the character...

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Everything’s Ready for the Camp Meeting – Directory of the Grove

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist The Evening Star correspondent, who signed his article with his initials J. R. M., began his Aug. 8, 1892, newspaper report with a split, and unusually long title: “Everything’s Ready for the Camp Meeting – Directory of the Grove.” J.R.M. opens his narration in a similar manner as his Washington Post peers...

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Our Street Signs

By Gail Littlefield, HPC member Watch a video of the WG Sign Restoration Project Hey, what’s the big deal about our street signs? Did you know our brown wood street signs with white letters, on wood posts, found at intersections throughout the Town, are a rare and endangered species? Washington Grove is the only historic district in Montgomery...

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Opening Day Among the Methodist Tenters in Maryland, Part 2

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist In part one of this article, we ended with the Washington Post correspondent’s brief history of camp meetings and with his personal conclusion, that over time, camp meetings had become more of a “religious luxury rather than a religious necessity.” Continuing his narrative – perhaps with the mind set of apology...

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Opening Day Among the Methodist Tenters in Maryland, Part 1

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist “Washington Grove, Montgomery County, Md. August 11 [1881] –To-day the ninth annual camp of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association of the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland, began.” The Washington Post correspondent reports on the opening of the camp meeting by the presiding elder at...

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Our Woods and Walkways: Are They Historic? Part 3

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist  In our last two articles, we used concepts borrowed from the world of historic preservation to discuss whether Washington Grove’s woods could be considered historic. Once again we return to the world of historic preservation and borrow the term “streetscape, ” which refers to “ . . . the...

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Our Woods and Walkways: Are They Historic? Part 2

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist Recently there has been much discussion as to whether various non-architectural features such as our community’s woods and walkways are truly “historic.” Whether or not this is the case, the woods of Washington Grove, representing nearly one-half of the Town’s lands, certainly have a history all...

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Our Woods and Walkways: Are They Historic? Part 1

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist During the past two months there has been much discussion as to whether various non-architectural features such as our community’s woods and walkways are truly “historic.” Whether or not this is the case, the woods of Washington Grove, representing nearly one-half of the Town’s lands, certainly...

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Portrait of a Founding Mother: Amelia Elmore Huntley, Part 3

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist In our previous installment, we left Amelia during the spring of 1913. That April, fundraising efforts were underway to construct the “Amelia E. Huntley Hall” on the campus of a Methodist boarding school for girls in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China. In June, Amelia became the first woman ever...

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A Day Devoted to the Cause of Temperance, August 20, 1883

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist Washington Grove Camp is given as the location for this day devoted to the Cause of Temperance by the Special Correspondent of The Post who wrote this piece. He sets the mood by observing that few people were there from the county, and those present were mostly from the immediate neighborhood, but the number...

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Romance and Religion, Part 2

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist We pick up again the lengthy article in The Post titled “Many People Attracted There—A Picture of Rural Loveliness” which described the events at the Grove camp meeting on August 17, 1886. At 2 p.m. the children’s service was conducted by Dr. Laney. The Post narrator described the children’s recitations of Bible...

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Romance and Religion, Part 1

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist Some of the newspaper writers at the end of the 19th century were romantic poets at heart. A social news article about Washington Grove, which appeared in The Post on August 17, 1886, was titled: “Many People Attracted There--A Picture of Rural Loveliness” and reflects a trait of the time to write in literary...

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Portrait of a Founding Mother: Amelia Elmore Huntley, Part 2

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist This past August, the Town Bulletin published Part 1 of an account of the life of Amelia Elmore Huntley, who in 1913 became the first woman in Washington Grove’s history to be elected to the Board of Trustees. Her election was described in the June 8, 1913 edition of The Washington Post as “the...

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Where Every Grover Was On July 3, 1880

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist According to the July 3, 1880 issue of The Washington Post, the camp-meeting of the Methodist churches was set for August 12, 1880, but by July 3 most of the cottages were already occupied. The author of The Post article speculates that “This is but carrying out one of the original designs in purchasing the...

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Portrait of a Founding Mother: Amelia Elmore Huntley, Part 1

By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist The headline to a story appearing in the June 8, 1913 edition of The Washington Post read: “Washington Grove Elects” and beneath it “Three Progressives Are Given Places on the Colony’s Board of Trustees.” Among them was Amelia Elmore Huntley, nearly seventy years old, highly educated, an official...

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Tents and Cottages

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist The Washington Post issue of August 6, 1879 announced the opening of the annual Methodist Camp Meeting to begin the next day “at Washington Grove, on the Metropolitan branch of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, a few miles above Rockville.” The writer (unknown) predicts that this gathering would be “marked by...

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News Dispatches from Other Centuries

by Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist Introducing a series describing Washington Grove’s earliest days Town Archivist Pat Patula and I have recently begun to use an exciting new source of information for researching the early history of Washington Grove. The digital archives of The Washington Post, containing newspaper articles from...

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The Town’s First, Fastest and Cheapest Building Permit

By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist Note to reader. The original minutes of this portion of the Town Council’s meeting are a fun read. Special effort was made by the writer to retain as much of the original order of the text as possible. If you feel a little confused, don’t be alarmed. It was July 13, 1938, barely a year after the Town had cast...

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Archives and Geek Squad Jargon

In working with archival material and the rapid updating of computers to save that material, one comes across terms that can be challenging, confusing, surprising and even amusing. How about these for starters? Antiquarianism, n. - An interest in things that are old, especially because of their age rather than other qualities. Could any of us be...

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Halloween Hooligans: a Washington Grove Historical Tidbit

Kids may have been more “lawless” in those golden, bygone days, but they probably had more fun at Halloween. Evidence for this of was recorded in minutes of the Oct. 14, 1946 WG council meeting headed by Irving L. McCathran. The following was edited slightly to protect the innocent (joking!). “The matter of what might happen in W.G. at Halloween...

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The Town’s Journey to the National Register, Part 2

By Wendy E. Harris; Volunteer Archivist The National Register of Historic Places came into being in 1966 with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. By the end of the decade, 1200 properties had been found “worthy of preservation” and listed on the Register. Between then and 1982, the Register expanded further. By the latter year,...

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The Town’s Journey to the National Register, Part 1

By Wendy E. Harris, HPC Volunteer Archivist As noted in the Congressional Record (Volume 126, No. 84), Washington Grove, in its entirety, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1980. By this action of the federal government, the Town now joined other sites and communities on what the National Register's website calls...

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Aitchison Crossing. . . and the Bridge

by Patricia Patula, Town Archivist The agenda for the Town Council meeting of October 15, 1964, is an interesting combination of formal, politically correct titles of topics, such as Minutes, Treasurer’s Report, Old Business, etc., with an informal, chatty style reflecting a closely knit group. Instead of a more predictable listing, such as...

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