“For 80 years, the mission of the Garrett County Historical Society has been to collect, preserve, exhibit, and publish the history of Garrett County, and we look forward to continuing this mission for future generations,” said Jim Ashby, President of the Society. The Society was officially constituted on February 27th, 1941 with the adoption of a provisional constitution and the election of the following officers: Captain Charles Hoye, President; Marshall Brown, First Vice-President; Viola Boradwater, Second Vice-President; and Crystal Elliott, Secretary. In March of 1941, the Society published the first issue of the Glades Star, which featured articles on local history and interesting stories from the area. The Glades Star takes its name from the first newspaper published in the area by E.S. Zevely in 1871, and although it only lasted a few months, the society has published its version quarterly since 1941.
Currently, the Society combines many facets of Garrett County History into three museums with wide-ranging displays and presentations. The Garrett County Historical Museum features a variety of artifacts that will take you through generations of Garrett County History. The Grantsville Community Museum tells the compelling story of Grantsville and Western Maryland through their collection of photographs and artifacts donated by the community. A generous donation from the Howard and Audrey Naylor Family Trust Foundation enabled construction of the newest museum, Garrett County Museum of Transportation in Oakland. The museums in Oakland are open regularly during the summer. Visitors are encouraged to consult the society’s website or to call (301) 334-3226 to before visiting to verify they will be open.
Also featured through the Society is a collection of Leo J. Beachy photography taken between 1905 and 1927. This collection digitized from glass plate negatives, viewable on the Society’s website, is an expressive and eloquent window into the lives of Garrett County’s past. The Society also recently provided assistance to the digitization of historical issues of the Republican newspaper, making this important local resource publicly available online.
The Society plans to mark its 80th anniversary with a number of other projects to help move its technology into the current century while promoting the history of previous ones. One of the first initiatives will be the rollout of a new updated website with a streamlined interface and improved functionality across a range of devices. On the new website, the Society will be hosting video tours of the museums conducted by longtime Society Board member and Past President, Bob Boal. The new website will also provide improved membership management and access to historical resources. The Society also plans to ramp up its use of social media to promote the initiatives of the organization and engender an interest in local history in younger generations. The Society will also be holding traditional, in-person events commemorating the anniversary. On August 14 from 11am-2pm, the Society will host an old-fashioned ice cream social at Daily Park, in the gazebo at the corner of Liberty and Second Streets. A membership dinner is also planned for late Summer or early Fall. Future lectures, presentations and events are being developed by the Society as public gathering restrictions are lifted.
Membership is open to the general public and is $25 per year or $300 for a lifetime membership. Members receive the Glades Star publication on a quarterly basis as well as a number of other benefits such as reduced rates for events and book sales. As part of the Society’s technology improvement initiative, members will also gain access to in-depth content such as full color images, maps and other resources. An online membership form is available on the Society’s website or can be requested via phone or email.
The text from the Preamble of the Society’s constitution reflects the ideals and goals of its formation, stating that “our present civilization is built upon the accomplishments of the past, and our hope of future progress rests upon the same foundation . . . it is proper and necessary that we preserve the history of the motives and deeds of those who formerly inhabited this region.” With support from the community, the Board of the Society reports that it is committed to continuing its mission of the promotion and preservation of the unique story of Garrett County.
More information on the Society can be found at www.garrettcountymuseums.com, calling the office at (301) 334-3226 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.