111 W. Montgomery Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Then and Now: Montgomery County History
Request one of the following Speakers Bureau topics through our online form!
Questions? Contact Matthew Gagle or call 301-340-2825.
*NEW* Will Adams, Fiddler of Ken-Gar
Speaker: Julianne Mangin
Fiddler Will Adams had deep roots in the African American communities of Montgomery County from Sandy Spring to Norbeck to Ken-Gar. In 1953, he was recorded by folklorist Mike Seeger (half-brother of Pete Seeger) who grew up in Chevy Chase. Adams’ family history offers a glimpse of African American life in Montgomery County from the final years of slavery to the mid-twentieth century. Learn how the music of both Adams and Seeger lives on among contemporary old-time musicians.
*NEW* Richard Montgomery: “A Grateful Remembrance”
Speaker: Robert Plumb
Richard Montgomery—who was this man whose name today identifies our county and 15 others in the United States? Join Robert Plumb as he presents the life of General Richard Montgomery, the first general officer killed in the Revolutionary War and what, if any, connections he has with Montgomery County, Maryland. Plumb will discuss Montgomery’s arrival in the American Colonies, his role in the American Revolution and the ill- fated American Northern Expedition into Canada. The speaker will also cover Montgomery’s relationship to slavery as practiced in 18th century New York.
*NEW* When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
For most of the 1960s and ’70s Gaithersburg was an entertainment mecca for the greater DC 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. Stars included Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Duke Ellington and even the Jackson 5 for a full week with tickets starting at $4.75. After only 16 years, the curtain came down in 1978—but what a run!
Speaker: Robert Bachman
The 1950’s housing boom almost doubled the number of single-family homes in Montgomery County in one decade. This presentation will focus on the national-level & county-level factors that fueled the housing boom, the federal programs that helped builders & buyers, where the new homes were built in the county, the styles of these new homes, the developers who built them, the architects who designed them, and the role of the National-Capital Park & Planning Commission and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in preparing the infrastructure and establishing the procedures to respond to the rapid population growth and housing boom of the 1950’s.
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
An illustrated presentation on the “Top 10” lesser-known spots in Montgomery County with historical importance, amazing natural beauty, or superlative in some other way. Learn about some famous residents’ homes and houses designed by famous architects, spots with connections to events of national significance, oases of natural beauty, museums every bit as good as those on the Mall, still-standing relics of our past, and more.
Speaker: Katie Dishman
A lecture and PowerPoint presentation focusing on a now a well-known hotel company, Marriott International, which actually started as an A&W Root Beer stand in Washington, D.C. in 1927. Marriott’s corporate archivist will explore the history of the company and its integral connection with cars. Not only did the stands, named Hot Shoppes, expand because of their drive-ins, but the lodging business began as motor hotels at the advent of the Interstate Highway System. Highlights from the history of the company and its growth, including its move to Bethesda in 1955, will be featured.
Speaker: Bob Bachman
A lecture and PowerPoint presentation summarizing the rapid development of lower Montgomery County in the 1950s as a suburb of Washington, DC. The focus is on demographics, housing & subdivisions, shopping centers, schools, parks & recreation, & libraries. This program was offered at the 2018 Montgomery County History Conference.
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
The one-room schoolhouse symbolizes the earliest days of public education. In Montgomery County a surprising number of one- and two-room schoolhouses still exist—in one form or another. With photos of them all, this presentation tells the early history of public education in the county, including the nearly century-long practice of school segregation dubbed “separate but equal” that was very unequal in practice. Can be combined with a visit to a restored one-room schoolhouse to experience what school was like more than 100 years ago.
Montgomery County: A Rich History
Speaker: William Offutt
This slide lecture provides an overview of the county’s past and its people from the era of Native American settlements to today’s urban-suburban development. The lecture is illustrated with slides which evoke the past and indicate the vast changes in the county.
Montgomery County’s Prehistory: A 12,000 Year Story
Speaker: Don Housley
After discussing the various theories for the peopling of North America, this PowerPoint presentation centers on describing the environment, social structure, and tool development of Montgomery County’s prehistory through the Paleo-Indian, Archaic, and Woodland time periods prior to European contact.
Archaeological Sites in Montgomery County, Maryland
Speaker: Don Housley
This PowerPoint presentation provides an introduction to both prehistoric and historical archaeological sites located on park land in Montgomery County and the techniques used by county archaeologists to unearth the past. A list of upcoming public archaeology programs and tours will be provided.
The following talks are temporarily unavailable:
Speaker: Steve Roberts
Montgomery County today is a global community of a million people with one-third of its residents born outside the United States. The dramatic growth of immigrant populations from all regions of the world has profoundly changed the community’s social, cultural and economic dynamic. This program will discuss the modern history of immigration in Montgomery County for different communities, including countries of origins and reasons for migration, settlement patterns, professions of choice, community organizing, cultural identities, and ties with home countries. The speaker will draw on some of his Bethesda Magazine columns to tell stories that flesh out the statistical trends of this recent history.