Per the State of Maryland: Governor Wes Moore today announced increased funding for the African American Heritage Preservation Program. Beginning in FY24, the program will have a new annual appropriation of $5 million, up from $1 million annually.
“To build a stronger future, we need to recognize our past—and acknowledge the broad shoulders we stand on. The African American Heritage Preservation Program is one of the best tools we have to celebrate, study, and share the stories of the African American community in Maryland,” said Gov. Wes Moore. “African American history is American history and Maryland history, and we have a solemn duty to preserve it.”

The African American Heritage Preservation Program provides grants to assist in the preservation of buildings, sites, or communities of historical and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland. The competitive program is funded through an appropriation from the Maryland General Assembly and is administered as a partnership between the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust.

Grant awards range from $10,000 to $250,000. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and local government jurisdictions. Business entities and individuals may also apply for program grants when seeking funds for a preservation or development project that serves a high public purpose. There is no match requirement for program applicants.

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust will hold an in-person workshop and three virtual sessions to inform interested parties about funding for capital grants available through the program. A virtual webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 19 from 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to discuss the overall program. Two Q&A workshops will also be offered on Friday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursday, June 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

An in-person workshop will take place on Thursday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Maryland Historical Trust’s office, located at 100 Community Place in Crownsville. The workshops are free but registration is required. Application information may be obtained from the program web page beginning April 17.  Applicants in need of assistance with developing project purpose and scope, programming, and project prioritization may contact Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture Executive Director Chanel Johnson at [email protected].
Applicants in need of assistance with program eligibility and construction and technical preservation questions may contact Maryland Historical Trust Capital Grant Administrator Barbara Fisher at [email protected].

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Per Montgomery County: For most of the 1960s and ’70s, Gaithersburg was an entertainment mecca for the greater Washington area. Shady Grove Music Fair—first under a big-top tent and then in a theater-in-the-round venue complete with a revolving stage—hosted Broadway hits and a wide variety of pop, rock and soul singers. That era will be the subject of Montgomery History online presentation at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 6.

“When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair” will be hosted by Ralph Buglass. He is a Montgomery County native and avid history buff who speaks frequently to community groups, businesses and at national conferences.

Among the many stars who performed at the Shady Grove Music Fair were Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, the Allman Brothers, Tom Jones, Cher and the Jackson 5. Tickets often started at $4.75.

The Music Fair also hosted many graduation ceremonies of Montgomery County high schools.
The Music Fair was an arena theatre where the audience surrounded the stage. At one point, the stage actually rotated.

After only 16 years, the curtain came down in 1978. The site at the intersection of I-270 and Shady Grove Road, is now occupied by office buildings.  To join the presentation, go to Webinar Registration – Zoom.

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The tour will leave Rockville on Friday, March 24, and return on Saturday, April 1. The tour will travel to Greensboro, N.C.; Atlanta; Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Ala.; Memphis, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark., Sumner and Jackson, Miss. It will retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, the Little Rock Nine and many other civil-rights heroes.

Highlights on the tour will include visits to the Birth Home Museum of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Civil Rights Memorial Museum, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum, the Freedom Rides Museum, the new Legacy and Peace and Justice Museums, the National Voting Rights Museum, the famed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Little Rock Central High School, Medgar Evers’ home, the courthouse involved in the Emmett Till case and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

Joan Mulholland, a freedom rider from the Civil Rights movement, will again be a special guest on the tour. Willie King, a former secretary of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under the direction and leadership of Dr. King Jr., also will join the tour again this year. Ms. Mulholland and Ms. King will share their stories and provide personal accounts at the stops along the journey. They also will have copies of books and other materials available for sale and have offered to sign for participants.

The all-inclusive tour packages cost $2,150 per person for a single room, $1,750 per person for a two-person room and $1,651 for a three-person room. Family and student rates are available upon request. Payment is due by March 10.

Event details, including the registration form, itinerary and general information is available here.  Early registration is encouraged. Checks are preferred, but credit cards are accepted as payment for registration.

The trip includes travel on a deluxe motor coach with wi-fi, hotel, multiple tour and museum admissions, some meals and snacks.

The tour is hosted by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, with support from Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The tour is available to County and non-County residents. The tour will comply with all required COVID protocols in place at the time of the tour.

For additional information, contact Tawania McFadden at 240-242-5640 or [email protected]or Jim Stowe at [email protected]

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Per Montgomery County: Montgomery History will hold its 17th Annual Montgomery County History Conference as an online event Jan. 21, 25 and 28. The conference will offer a myriad of opportunities to participate, including three keynote sessions, 12 breakout sessions and a film screening.

Sharing the stories that matter is essential to understanding the community. This year’s conference will trace the evolution of immigration to Montgomery County, address why historic preservation matters and study the fraught history of teaching history to today’s young people.
The conference is scheduled to include a special sneak preview of excerpts from Ain’t no Back to a Merry-Go-Round, an inspirational documentary that highlights the protests that led to desegregation of Glen Echo Park in the 1960s.

Breakout sessions will cover topics such as restrictive covenants and housing discrimination, Frieda’s Cottage, LGBTQ+ history, the archaeology of the enslaved, suburban growth in the 1980s and the changing face of agriculture. There also will be a session on the Oyster Wars on the Chesapeake Bay.

Registration for the conference starts at $25 ($10 for students) and offers varying levels of access.
A full schedule, including session descriptions, and more information can be found on the conference’s registration page.
Questions about the conference can be sent to Montgomery History’s Director of Programs Matt Gagle at [email protected].

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Per Montgomery County: Durward Center, the restorer and caretaker of Glen Echo’s Wurlitzer 165 Band Organ for the last 50 years, will explore the journey of the organ at the historic park in a free online presentation from Montgomery History. The presentation will be available for a one-week period starting Monday, Dec. 19.

In his talk, Mr. Center will address the organ’s modifications, restoration and maintenance. He will also offer a close-up view of the organ’s internal mechanism and how it works.

Glen Echo Park is an arts and cultural center in Glen Echo. The park’s site was initially developed in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly. Following the foreclosure and sale of the Chautauqua grounds in 1903, leisure facilities were developed there to serve Washington’s growing population. In 1911, the site was expanded to become the privately owned Glen Echo Amusement Park, a popular facility that operated until 1968. The National Park Service now operates the park, which serves the Washington area as a regional cultural resource offering classes, workshops and performances in the visual and performing arts.

To view the presentation on the organ starting Dec. 19, go to » WATCH (montgomeryhistory.org).

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Per Montgomery County: The historic African American community of Gibson Grove no longer exists in Montgomery County, but its spirit lives on. The Montgomery History free online presentation, “Gibson Grove: Gone But Not Forgotten” will tell the story of the community and its people. The presentation will be available starting Monday, Nov. 21, and can be accessed for one week.

Alexandra Jones will lead the presentation about the community in what is now known as the Cabin John area. Gibson Grove was built on self-reliance, education, faith and mutual support in a time when African Americans were discriminated against and prevented from attending schools, obtaining insurance and being buried in the same cemeteries as their European American counterparts. The community has all but faded in the memories of many in Montgomery County, and today the few remaining historical sites are being threatened by the expansion of the Beltway. However, a new community of advocates has stepped in to save these sacred spots. This talk will explore the history of Gibson Grove and the actions being taken to save the two sites associated with this community.

According to a story about Gibson Grove in Maryland Matters in 2021 by Chandler Louden, after the end of the Reconstruction (1865–1877), the rise of segregation led to a large disparity between white and Black communities. Many Black communities did not have adequate infrastructure for things such as schools and cemeteries. To address their needs, they began forming benevolent societies and fraternal organizations funded by member dues. The societies acted as insurance agencies providing payments to families during illness and upon the death of loved ones and provided for burials. The societies were a source of social support and community cohesion.

In 1880, the Gibson Grove community in Cabin John was established by Sarah and Robert Gibson, who had previously been enslaved on a plantation in Virginia. They bought property, but were forced to live on the outskirts of White society. In 1882, they helped establish the first schools for Black children in the area. To learn more about Gibson Grove and its people, view the Montgomery History presentation by registering at https://montgomeryhistory.org/mhconnected/watch/.

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The Germantown Historical Society will host a free, two-part presentation on the structures of the B&O railroad, which will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2023. Go to www.germantownmdhistory.org/upcoming-events  to sign up via Eventbrite for this free event and get directions. Full details below courtesy of Susan Soderberg:
Viaducts Bridges and Trestles – Structures holding up the Trains Next spring we will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the railroad that runs through the County. The Germantown Historical Society will be previewing the celebration with a dual event – a talk on the structures of the railroad on Saturday, November 19 followed on Sunday, Nov. 20 by a short hike to one of the most magnificent of those structures – the Waring Viaduct over Seneca Creek.

Many of you have ridden over this viaduct on the train or seen pictures of it, but not many have actually visited the structure from below. That is because there are only two ways to access it – either by a very steep and overgrown path from Waring Station Road at the top, or through the private property of the Izaak Walton League below. For this event the League has granted GHS and our guests access through their property. We may even have a picnic in their pavilion if the weather cooperates.

From the time the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad began service to Washington D.C. in the spring of 1873 it started to transform the County. Suburban railroad towns started popping up down-county and the farmers up-county began planting peach and apple trees and milking cows. Steam-powered mills and factories were built near the train stations, bringing us into the Industrial Age. City folk came up from the city in the summer to escape the sweltering heat, noise and pollution. So people in the up-county opened their homes as rooming houses or built hotels to accommodate them.

Rising more than 500 feet from the District to Gaithersburg, cutting through the highest elevation of Parr’s Ridge, and crossing many small brooks and large creeks and the Monocacy River, the 42-mile long railroad posed many challenges for the builders. Great feats of engineering were needed to meet these challenges. Come to the lecture to find out about these engineering feats – and learn the difference between a viaduct, a bridge and a trestle.

Saturday, November 19, 1pm
Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., Germantown, MD

Sunday, November 20, 1pm
A Short Hike to the Waring Viaduct from the Isaac Walton League park.
Go to https://germantownMDhistory to sign up via Eventbrite for this free event and get directions

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Per Montgomery County:
Montgomery County’s Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation will hold special events and activities throughout the month of November, and encourages other groups to hold its own events, to promote a better understanding of County history—including recognition of three men who were the victims of racial terror lynchings in the late 1800s. The commission was established by the Montgomery County Council to help bring the County together. Among the highlights of Remembrance Month will be ceremonies on Sunday, Nov. 20, to induct new members into the County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.

The schedule of events actually gets started in late October with the Poolesville Community Conversation Circle on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and a celebration of Emancipation Day at Button Farm Living History Center in Germantown on Saturday, Oct. 29. There will be two major events on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Open House will have a full day of activities starting at 10 a.m. A Montgomery County: Historical Black Sites and Places Bus tour hosted by the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation, Inc. will begin at noon.

The commission is composed of community leaders who work with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and other community stakeholders to commemorate the three locations in the County where racial terror lynchings have been documented.
The project seeks to memorialize and honor two men who were lynched in Rockville—John Diggs-Dorsey (in 1880) and Sidney Randolph (in 1896)—and George Peck, who was lynched in Poolesville in 1880.

The schedule of events for Remembrance and Reconciliation Month:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 25. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Poolesville High School, 17501 West Willard Rd., Poolesville. Poolesville Community Conversation Circle. Hosted by Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project. Register at https://tinyurl.com/yckpdywy
  • Saturday, Oct. 29. Noon-3 p.m. Button Farm Living History Center, 16820 Black Rock Rd., Germantown. Celebrate Emancipation Day. More information at https://buttonfarm.org/.
  • Nov. 1-30. Montgomery County Public Schools teaches lessons on African American Historical Communities. Throughout the month, MCPS students will receive instruction in local African American community history.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1. Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Virtual Program. More information at https://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2. Certain Party or Parties Unknown Exhibit Kickoff (available all month). Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring. Hosted by Arts and Humanities Council. More information at www.creativemoco.com.
  • Saturday, Nov 5. Noon-4 p.m. Montgomery County: Historical Black Sites and Places Bus Tour hosted by Lincoln Park Historical Foundation, Inc. (fee charged). For registration and more information, email [email protected].
  • Saturday, Nov. 5. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Open House. 18524 Brooke Rd., Sandy Spring. Stories of Underground Railroad. 2-4 p.m. (Fee charged.) Gospel Choir (5-8:30 p.m. Fee charged). More information at https://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 8. 7 p.m. Broadcast of “Unwritten Law.” It is a symposium on the lynchings in Rockville. Hosted by Montgomery History. MCM Cable Channel 21.
  • Thursday, Nov. 10. 7 p.m. Broadcast of Remembrance Conference and Soil Ceremony for John Diggs-Dorsey and Sidney Randolph. Hosted by Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project. MCM Cable Channel 21.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 15-17. 6:30 p.m. MCPS Changemaker Workshops. Hosted by MCPS. Activists will help students and families learn strategies to address challenges in their communities. SLS hours available for attending. Register at https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JdGxmIbwTlmuLzsKQR4iMA.
  • Sunday, Nov. 20. 3 p.m. Human Rights Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Towns Commons Dr., Germantown. Hosted by Montgomery County Office of Human Rights. Nomination form and more information can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights/.
  • Monday, Nov. 21. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Montgomery College “Let’s Talk! Montgomery County’s Journey Toward Remembrance and Reconciliation.” Hosted by Montgomery College. Register at https://bit.ly/letstalkmoco
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Preserving Historic Cemeteries, including the importance—and excitement—of researching, locating, archiving and preserving these historic places—will be the theme of an online presentation of Montgomery History starting Monday, Sept. 26, and available through Sunday, Oct. 2.

Author Glenn Wallace, coordinator of “Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory Revisited” for Montgomery Preservation, will lead the presentation.

The overview describes the basic process that anyone interested in cemeteries can follow. Mr. Wallace also will detail his 15-year process archiving Monocacy Cemetery.

Mr. Wallace and Project Director Eileen McGuckian four years ago took on a Montgomery Preservation adventure to significantly update the Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory in terms of data, technology and accessibility. During 2018, 90 trained volunteers visited all known burial sites in Montgomery County. Project volunteers assessed conditions, completed survey forms, noted GPS coordinates, conducted additional research and took a variety of photographs to capture the current environment.

To view the Montgomery History presentation starting on Sept. 26, go to https://montgomeryhistory.org/mhconnected/watch/.

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Per Montgomery History:
More than 77,000 pages from 1,575 issues of The Montgomery Gazette and other local newspapers have been digitized and are now available for viewing at the Jane C. Sween Library in Rockville due to the preservation efforts of Montgomery History. The project was made possible as part of the success of Montgomery History’s New Life for Old News campaign. It raised the funds necessary to make the papers accessible and preserved for posterity.

The Jane C. Sween Research Library and Special Collections is located at the Beall-Dawson Historical Park in Downtown Rockville. Named in honor of its first librarian, Jane C. Sween, the library supports Montgomery History’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of the County.

The pages now available at the Sween Research Library include:

  • The Gazette. 1960-65, 1977-86 (Papers from 1966-76 are no longer available).
  • The County Courier. 1973-81. (Purchased by The Gazette in 1981).
  • The Olney Courier-Gazette. 1981-86 (Merger following purchase, covering Olney area news).
  • The Sentinel. 1964-69. (Issues from 1855-1963 are provided on Chronicling America, through the Library of Congress. See our tutorial for searching The Sentinel).

This is the first time mid- to late 20th Century Gazettes and other local newspapers are available digitally. The papers had been in storage for more than a decade and were completely inaccessible to researchers or the public. Many of the issues began to deteriorate while in storage due to the poor-quality paper on which they were printed at the time.

The completion of this phase of digitization ensures that the resources, which provide some of the best coverage of the people and events that shaped the County’s history, will be available for generations to come. The next phase of the campaign, scheduled to begin in early 2023, will focus on digitizing issues from the latter part of the 1980s.

The now-available newspapers date from 1960 to 1986 and cover topics of particular interest including politics, education, local entertainment, high school sports, community events, wedding and engagement announcements, obituaries, advertisements for now defunct popular businesses and the rapid pace of suburbanization during those decades.

The New Life for Old News campaign was launched in April 2021 to celebrate the memory of former Montgomery History Executive Director Mary Kay Harper, who had recently passed away. Acquiring all the hard copies of the Gazette was one of the last initiatives Harper undertook before she retired in 2008.

Access to the digitized issues of the Gazette is available by appointment during regular research hours Wednesday through Friday at the Jane C. Sween Library. Visit MontgomeryHistory.org/montgomery-county-newspapers to find out how to view the digitized newspapers and to learn more about the project.

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Known for their pizza, mojo potatoes, and game rooms, Shakey’s Pizza Parlor is fondly remembered by many MoCo residents over the age of 30. The restaurant was popular with both children and adults as parents could drink pitchers of beer while the kids played Pac-Man or watched the chefs prepare pizza through their open kitchen.  As the first franchise pizza chain in the United States, the company expanded to as many as 500 stores worldwide at the height of it’s popularity. Shakey’s had multiple locations in Montgomery County in the 70’s and 80’s, including in Gaithersburg on Bureau Dr. and in Rockville on the pike.

The company was founded in 1954 by Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson and Ed Plummer in Sacramento, CA. According to wikipedia, Johnson’s nickname resulted from nerve damage following a bout of malaria during World War II. After multiple ownership changes in the 80’s, most of the U.S. locations were closed by the early 1990’s.  Currently you can only find Shakey’s in California (47 locations) and Washington state (2 locations). Who’s up for a road trip to the West Coast?

Here’s a look at some current day menu items from the chain:


Vintage Shakey’s advertisement:

We did a Facebook post about Shakey’s back in 2015, here were some of the best replies:



All photos courtesy of Shakey’s USA.

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