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Washington County Historical Society raises Titanic at Mad Hatters' Ball

April 14, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Bob and Babs Savitt, left, of Myersville, enjoy drinks and conversation with Linda Irvin-Craig Saturday night at Foutain Head C.C. during the 2nd Annual Mad Hatter's Ball to benefit the Washington County Historical Society. Bob is the society's Vice President and Linda is the Executive Director.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

The Washington County Historical Society couldn’t pass up using the 100th anniversary of the Titanic striking an iceberg as the theme of its fundraiser Saturday night at Fountain Head Country Club in Hagerstown.

From gastronomic delights on the Titanic’s menu to carved iceberg statues, the historical society spared no details to make the night as authentic as possible — without the loss of 1,522 lives, of course.

Linda Irvin-Craig, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society, said the Mad Hatters’ Ball, as the annual fundraiser is called, generates the most revenue of all the organization’s fundraising events.

She said organizers hoped to raise at least $12,000 during the gala, which was attended by about 120 people who paid $100 per plate and participated in raffles for a chance to win a model of the Titanic and restored antique storage trunks.

“It’s been quite a challenge,” Irvin-Craig said of the historical society’s fundraising efforts during the recent downturn in the economy. “We have small fundraisers throughout the year, but this is the big one.”

Those who attended the fundraiser dined on a variety of dishes that were served to first-, second- and third-class passengers aboard the R.M.S. Titanic on the evening of April 14, 1912.

It would have been their last meal before the doomed luxury liner struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. The ship sank nearly three hours later.

Sharpsburg resident and historical society member Lee Stine said fundraisers such as the one Saturday night are important to help preserve the county’s rich history.

“In Washington County, a lot of people are in to the Civil War stuff, but Washington County goes back before the Civil War,” he said. “There’s a lot of Colonial history, too.”

Stine also mentioned Fort Frederick, a bastion near Big Pool that was used during the French and Indian War.

Jenny Bullington, a member of the historical society’s board of directors, said the money that is generated by the fundraiser goes toward maintaining two historical properties that the organization maintains — The Miller House on West Washington Street in Hagerstown and Beaver Creek School, an early 20th century schoolhouse.

Bullington said some of the money also is used to maintain artifacts at the Hager House, the 18th-century home of Hagerstown founder Jonathan Hager at City Park.

“The night is a great way to get people together to see the historical things we have to offer and a great way to raise a little money,” she said.

During the event, the historical society displayed many of the items that the organization curates, such as clothing and silverware.

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