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Old photos, stories sought for Oak Hill Project

July 20, 2010

Calling all local history buffs! Rebecca Rush, Outreach Coordinator for the Oak Hill Project, is looking for photographs and stories relating to the history of the Oak Hill Historic District.

Some of the goals of the Oak Hill Project are to create learning programs, a booklet, web- site and interpretive walking tours of the Oak Hill Historic District and related areas.

Rush plans to produce a map that will be available online with interpretations of the Garden City project features still evident in Oak Hill today - the protected tree canopy, walk-to-work concepts, curving streets and several special historical homes.

The Garden City project - which Rush describes as an early example of an environmentally friendly urban development plan - was initiated by Clara Hamilton in 1909.

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A sign will be installed some time in August at Oswald Park, at the corner of Prospect Street and Oak Hill Avenue, recognizing Hamilton's efforts, Rush said. She added that it is being installed by the City of Hagerstown with funds from the Hamilton Family Foundation.

Rush is seeking photos, stories, printed materials, souvenirs, books and memorabilia to keep or borrow about the area now known as the Oak Hill Historic District. The period of interest is from 1899 to 1939. The District was entered in the National Register of Historic Places Sept. 18, 1987.

Of particular interest are photos that show the tree canopy on Hamilton Boulevard, Oak Hill Avenue and The Terrace, as well as pictures and stories about people who lived in the houses in the Oak Hill area during that time.

In addition, information about Hagerstown and Washington County in general during this time period on these sub-topics would be appreciated:

o Clara Hamilton and Julia Hamilton Briscoe

o suffrage

o Prohibition, speakeasies, dance halls and ballrooms

o the impact of the Depression here

o Miss Helen Hoffmeier and her school

o World War I

o debutantes; "garden parties"

o walking to work/bicycles/cars/mass transit

o legends and ghosts

o oral histories

Please e-mail Rebecca Rush at oakhill1905@gmail.com">oakhill1905@gmail.com or call her at 301-797-4146 if you have something to share. This project is sponsored by the Land and Cultural Preservation Fund, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Volunteers and donations are welcomed.

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