Montgomery Parks Highlights Diverse Histories Through New “Untold Stories” Initiative

Courtesy Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks is launching a new program to shine a spotlight on places whose rich histories have long been undervalued and underrepresented.

Remarkable Montgomery: Untold Stories will share accounts of the distant and not-so-distant past related to current day parkland. These narratives will appear on the Untold Stories webpage, and many will be developed into visitor experiences such as audio tours, interpretive signage, and interactive activities in parks. 

“As we observe Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, it is so important that we recognize these stories,” said Montgomery Parks Cultural Heritage Specialist Elena Guarinello. “Making histories visible in public parks is a powerful way to share and represent the county’s diversity.”

Untold Stories expands Montgomery Parks’ existing Cultural Resources interpretive program, which includes five museums, over 40 historic sites and more than 80 outdoor signs.

“As the Untold Stories program grows, we’re excited about collaborating with residents and a variety of communities to learn about their histories and present-day connections to parkland,” Guarinello said. 

The Untold Stories website already features more than a dozen stories related to parks throughout the county. Entries highlightAfrican Americans, women, Native Americans, and others. For example:

Johnson’s Local Park in Gaithersburg was once the heart of the historic community of Emory Grove which was settled by African Americans who were formerly enslaved. The tight-knit community thrived into the 1970s until broken up by federal urban renewal programs. The park is now slated for renovation by Montgomery Parks to enhance its amenities and commemorate its historical significance. 

The Rockwood Manor Retreats and Events Center is another featured site. The area was formerly a beloved Girl Scout camp that was threatened by a sale to a private real estate developer. A group of Girl Scouts were part of a successful 1979 class action suit to retain the location’s natural setting and its intended use as outdoor gathering space.

Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park is a newly acquired site in Silver Spring that will eventually highlight the Indigenous history of Montgomery County. Once developed, the new park will feature exhibits and activities highlighting how Native Americans mined soapstone and turned it into items for daily use.

Untold Stories is a collaboration with Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office. That agency is also working to place historic markers around the county, on non-park land.

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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

www.dayofthebook.com

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

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