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Vexed in the city

Two clues stumped nearly half of the participants in The Herald-Mail's annual landmarks contest

Two clues stumped nearly half of the participants in The Herald-Mail's annual landmarks contest

August 15, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Melissa Horn scored more than a hot meal during a recent Saturday morning breakfast stop at Hagerstown City Farmers Market. From her market parking spot off Weller Alley, she spied one of the most elusive clues in The Herald-Mail's 2004 landmarks photo contest - electrical pipes behind the Hagerstown Post Office.

"I looked up and said, 'No, that can't be,'" said Horn, 28, of the Hagerstown area.

It was - and that lucky break helped Horn win the contest's $500 prize. The first-time landmarks contest entrant correctly identified 12 landmarks within three blocks in any direction from Hagerstown's Public Square, and her entry was randomly drawn from a box containing all the correct submissions.

"I'm very surprised and very happy," said Horn, who works for the U.S. Navy. "I know a lot of other people found the answers, too."

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A total of 89 entries were received for the 2004 contest - giving participants who nailed all 12 landmarks better odds than last year of winning the cash prize. More than 250 people entered the 2003 landmarks contest. Twenty-five entries were received in 2002.

Horn said she started helping a neighbor hunt for contest clues before getting "caught up" in the competition herself.

"It's a fun way to get to know the town," she said.

Last year's landmarks contest winner, Hagerstown resident Roger L. Tritapoe, was among 54 entrants who correctly identified all 12 landmarks in the 2004 competition. Tritapoe began scouting for potential landmarks a week before the contest started - accurately predicting that landmarks at Flair Hair Stylists on East Antietam Street and the Masonic Temple on South Potomac Street would be featured. He hit the streets again the day the contest began and for two weeks thereafter. One of this year's landmarks kept Tritapoe in search mode until the morning of the contest's Aug. 9 deadline.

"I don't have any good thing to say about No. 6," he said.

Landmarks clue No. 6 - a wire mesh grate on the side of an entryway at the front of St. Mary's Catholic Church - and No. 5 - the pipes behind the post office - stumped many searchers. Betty Wilson of Hagerstown was among 21 entrants who missed just one of the 12 landmarks - in her case, the wire mesh at St. Mary's.

"We walked almost every street and alley and found so many neat things that would be absolutely wonderful for next year's contest - and then there was that thing," Wilson said, referring to the mesh grate that she looked right at but didn't connect to the contest. She also called the electrical pipes a "very sneaky" landmark - one she felt proud to identify.

Horn, who spent about six hours on foot combing downtown Hagerstown for the landmarks, also named the mesh grate as the most vexing clue.

"I looked for that forever," she said.

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