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Hagerstown trio wins annual Landmarks contest

August 23, 2013|By CHRIS COPLEY | chrisc@herald-mail.com
  • Tia Taylor center and family members Dena French left and Destiny Taylor right are photographed at Hagerstown City Park Tuesday after Tia was named the winner of the landmarks contest.
Colleen McGrath / Colleen McGrath

Turns out, winning The Herald-Mail’s 17th annual Landmarks Contest really was a walk in the park for three women from Hagerstown. A walk and a drive. And lots of fun.

The winners of the contest are Tia Taylor, her mother-in-law, Dena French, and Taylor’s 12-year-old daughter, Destiny Taylor. 

This year’s contest was set in City Park in Hagerstown. The Herald-Mail published 10 close-up photos of elements of buildings or structures in the park. Participants searched for the clues and identified the landmarks. A total of 232 entries were submitted. 

Several participants sent notes with their entries thanking The Herald-Mail for organizing the contest. Two families sent photos showing smiling kids standing next to identified landmarks. “What a fun way to spend a summer afternoon!” wrote Kristy Gross of Hagerstown.

Of the 232 entries, 176 correctly identified all 10 structures. All correct entries were placed into a random drawing; Tia Taylor’s entry was selected. She and her search-party partners were declared the winners. They won $300.

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Tia Taylor said the trio’s search technique initially involved efficiency. She printed black-and-white copies of the clues from The Herald-Mail website. Then Taylor, French and Destiny piled into the car and headed for the park. 

“We started out just driving around on the outskirts, trying to get as many as we could,” Taylor said. “Then we went in and walked around.”

They got some of the answers right away, such as No. 1, the decorative circle in the wrought-iron park entrance archway on Virginia Avenue. But other clues were tougher to find. The women returned several times to the park before finding all the answers.

French said she had participated in several previous Landmarks contests.

“I did the one for downtown (Hagerstown). I did Funkstown. I did the Antietam battlefield,” she said. “Funkstown was interesting for the historic part of it. Things you don’t see when you ride by.”

French was excited when she saw that this year’s clues were in City Park. She grew up near the park, so she immediately had guesses about the locations of several clues. 

“But there were some stumpers. Like the spring hole (No. 8),” she said. “I looked at it, and looked at it, turned (the printed photo), turned it and walked away. I told them, ‘I think that’s it.’ So then, one day while they were (busy), I come back and double-checked and said, ‘That’s it.’”

Taylor said the women persisted, going back to the same places they had been before.

“It did take us multiple times,” she said. “You can overlook some. We looked in a spot and then went back later (and found the clue) and said, ‘How did we overlook that?’” 

Their toughest clue, Taylor said, was No. 3, a round, weathered piece of metal with N stamped in the middle. Their printed copy of the clue made the piece of metal look large. That was misleading, French said.

“That last one, the N, that was a stumper,” she said. “I said, ‘I think it’s bronze.’ The image that you get off the (website), you think it’s going to be something a little bit bigger, but it’s only yay-big ... the size of a quarter, if that.”

The three women will share a $300 prize for being selected as winners of the 2013 Landmarks Contest. Destiny said she’ll shop for clothes for school. Taylor, who starts work at Meritus Medical Center on Monday, said she’ll buy scrubs. And French said she’ll buy something nice for herself.

But French said spending time in the park with family was rewarding.

“It’s fun when you got everybody going together and you’re trying to find things," she said. 

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