Highlighting a Few Legendary Women in Montgomery County’s History

“In diverse and remarkable ways, women have made major contributions in the history of Montgomery County. The lives and achievements of some Montgomery County women are legendary, while the significance of others is often overlooked.”

PLACES from the PAST: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County, Maryland by Clare Lise Kelly M-NCPPC highlights just some of these legendary women below, courtesy of Montgomery Planning:

The first National Historic Site dedicated to the accomplishments of a woman was the Clara Barton House (c1892). The stucture, in Glen Echo, served first as a warehouse for disaster relief supplies and, in 1897, became headquarters of the organization and Barton’s residence. From this house, she organized and directed American Red Cross relief efforts for victims of natural disasters and war (The National Park Service owns the Clara Barton House, which is interpreted as a house museum).

Rachel Carson, renowned biologist, natural-ist, writer, and poet, drew public attention to the danger of chemical pesticides and herbicides to public health. She was living in the Silver Spring house she designed when she wrote, in 1962, her remarkable book Silent Spring. This influential work dramatically altered the way Americans thought about the natural environment and led to the estab- lishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest official honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian. The Rachel Carson House (1956) was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993.

Several women from the Sandy Spring community were influential in women’s independence and the suffrage movement. Mary Bentley Thomas (1845-1923), as president of the Women’s Suffrage of Maryland, played a major role in the struggle for women’s rights. Mary Thomas grew up at Bloomfield in Sandy Spring and succeeded Sandy Spring resident Caroline Hallowell Miller as president of the state suffrage association.

Elizabeth Ellicott Lea (1797-1858) was an influential writer of one of the best-loved housekeeping guides of the era, Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts and Hints to Young Housekeepers. Betsy Lea, as she was known to the family, was well educated, industrious, and a liberal Quaker. Intending the book to serve as a handbook for the inexperienced newlywed, she published her cookbook at her own expense in 1845. By 1879, 19 editions had been published. Elizabeth Ellicott Lea inherited Walnut Hill and expanded the c1820 brick house, installing a bake oven to test her recipes.

Representing less well-known but influential women is the Madonna of the Trail statue in Bethesda. The Daughters of the American Revolution erected twelve identical sculptures to commemorate American pioneer women and their role in the country’s westward expan- sion. The Bethesda statue was erected on Wisconsin Avenue in l929, marking an important route taken by settlers traveling to the West.

Women have played active roles in promoting education and foster- ing community life, often creating organizations to promote their cause. Two of the earliest, the Women’s Mutual Improvement Association (1857) and the Home Interest Society (1870), started in Sandy Spring. The Takoma Park Women’s Club established the first public library in the town of Takoma Park, in a donated house in the mid-1930s. The Lincoln Avenue residence is in the present Takoma Park Historic District. In Rockville, the Women’s Club, established in 1900, created that city’s first library in Dr. Stonestreet’s Office, now located in the West Montgomery Avenue Historic District.

National Park Seminary (1894) in Forest Glen was a finishing school for young women designed to provide skills for managing estates and operating in social venues of wealthy families.

Lilly Moore Stone (1861- 1960) was an outstanding civic leader who founded the Montgomery County Historical Society and a shrewd busi- nesswoman who operated the Stoneyhurst Stone Quarries. Following a disastrous barn fire and the death of her husband, Frank Pelham Stone, in 1921, Stone, in her early sixties, turned to a career in stone quarrying. Under Stone’s direction over the next 30 years, Stoneyhurst stone, a granite-like mica schist gained a reputation as an excellent building material known for its color, versatility, and durability. The stone was used in buildings and structures throughout the metro region, including the Washington Cathedral’s Chapel of Aramathea and the National Zoo’s birdhouse. Lilly Moore Stone’s own residence Glenmore (1937), 8311 Comanche Court, is sheathed in Stoneyhurst stone.

A group of Montgomery County women formed the Farm Women’s Cooperative as a self-help response to the severe economic conditions of the Great Depression. In 1932, they held the first market in an empty Bethesda storefront, selling fresh produce and home-made products directly to subur- ban families. The women built the permanent Farm Women’s Market in 1934 and it has been in continuous use as a farm market ever since.

Featured photo is of Rachel Carson, courtesy of the Library of Congress

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895


Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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