Annual Landmarks contest draws big response

August 31, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Our changes to The Herald-Mail's annual Landmarks contest this year didn't throw too many people for a loop.

Out of 137 entries, 91 entries found all 13 landmark clues, which were letters this year, and unscrambled the letters correctly to spell Elizabethtown, the first tiebreaker. When Jonathan Hager founded Hagerstown in 1762, he named the town for his late wife, Elizabeth.

Kristi Gee won $300 and bragging rights for winning The Herald-Mail's 12th annual Landmarks contest when her entry was randomly drawn from all the correct answers.

All clues were in a 16-block area in downtown Hagerstown. One of the Ts (No. 12) and one of the Es (No. 11) appeared to give people the most trouble.


Gee spotted that particular T in the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren sign along East Washington Street during one of three nights she and her family walked around Hagerstown looking for clues.

"We all walk in a group, so it's who sees it first," says Gee, who claims to have spotted that T first.

Gee, 37, of Maugansville, says she'll split the winnings with her older sister, Kathy Thomas of Clear Spring, and their parents, Bob and Jean Hart, who live in the Hagerstown area.

They, along with Thomas' children, Nathan Koontz, 20, Alexa Thomas, 8, and Noah Thomas, 7, worked as a team and spent seven to eight hours looking for the clues.

Bob Hart is a retired Hagerstown Police major, and would tell his family stories about the buildings and downtown as they walked around, Gee says.

Gee says her family looks forward to the contest every year. On the Sunday morning the clues were revealed, Gee was at her breakfast table around 9 a.m. trying to unscramble the letters when Thomas called to tell her she had solved the puzzle.

Gee says she'll probably spend her share of the winnings on a family night out on the town - dinner and maybe a movie. "We have three children so we don't get out much," she says. Her husband, Clif, watched their children while she went out to look for clues.

Runners-up and winners of $50 gas cards were the Miller family, who live east of Hagerstown, and the Plunkett sisters, along with their neighbor Brian Lookabaugh.

"We loved it. First of all, it was a nice thing to do as a family," says Sarah Miller. Miller says she's lived and driven through Hagerstown for more than 20 years, but saw places she had never seen before during her family's search for the clues.

She was accompanied by her husband, Brian, and their daughters, Grace, 9, and Carrie, 8.

Their toughest letter was the E near the farmers market off Church Street. They found it the day before the contest deadline.

The I at Skyline Coffee Co. and the E in the Copper Kettle Antiques Lamp Repair sign were the toughest clues for the Plunketts and Lookabaugh, says Keri Plunkett.

Plunkett, 20, of Hagerstown, was accompanied by her sisters, twins Shanan and Shawna, 15, and Lookabaugh, 18.

"We did (the contest) last year, but we never turned it in," she says.

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