Her­itage So­ci­ety of Es­sex and Mid­dle River opens for sea son April 2

Her­itage So­ci­ety of Es­sex and Mid­dle River opens for sea­son April 2

The Avenue News - - Front Page - By LISA HAR­LOW

As far as we know there won’t be any Ori­oles present, but that won’t stop the fun at Es­sex’s big Open­ing Day! The Her­itage So­ci­ety of Es­sex and Mid­dle River will cel­e­brate its open­ing day of the 2016 sea­son on Satur­day, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Her­itage So­ci­ety of Es­sex and Mid­dle River Inc. is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion staffed by vol­un­teers whose goal is to pre­serve and share the his­tory of Es­sex and Mid­dle River. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first meet­ing was held at Es­sex El­e­men­tary in Septem­ber 1968. The mu­seum opened ex­actly seven years later in Septem­ber 1975 in the 1920 Fire/Po­lice Sta­tion at 516 East­ern Blvd., which also served as a court house.

The Mu­seum fea­tures ex­hibits from the po­lice and fire sta­tion, post of­fice, a phar­macy, toy store, bi­cy­cle shop, can­dle shop and more.

“We’ve had some re­ally great vol­un­teers come out. Peo­ple from my gen­er­a­tion, from the early 80s, who be­lieve that it is im­por­tant to pre­serve our his­tory and be­come more ac­tive in the com­mu­nity,” said Terri Knachel, who was elected pres­i­dent of the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety in Jan­uary. “It re­ally is a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I love to learn some­thing about my com­mu­nity each and ev­ery time I walk through the door.”

Knachel said that she and other vol­un­teers of­ten play games and quiz each other about lo­cal his­tory, ask­ing things like “where was the orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion of Geres­beck’s?” Most re­cently she learned how Mid­dle River and Back River got their names early set­tlers be­lieved that all of the wa­ter lead­ing to the har­bor was part of the Gun­pow­der River, so they named the dif­fer­ent parts.

A ma­jor project the Her­itage So­ci­ety has be­gun to take on is the archives. In ad­di­tion to the orig­i­nal archives, the Her­itage So­ci­ety is now adding dig­i­tal archives.

“Jenny Par­rish, a pro­fes­sional archivist, has vol­un­teered her time to do this so we don’t lose this in­for­ma­tion,” said Knachel.

The Mu­seum is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help with the ar­chiv­ing process in ar­eas such as typ­ing, data en­try and scan­ning.

Another project in the works is oral his­tory. Ken­wood High School stu­dent Vic­to­ria Ramirez and oral his­to­rian Keith Roberts will in­ter­view long­time Es­sex and Mid­dle River res­i­dents on cam­era so that their sto­ries and knowl­edge can be passed down. The in­ter­views will be avail­able for schools to bor­row so that stu­dents may learn what it was like for past gen­er­a­tions to live in the area.

“With schools hav­ing lim­ited ac­cess to field trips, it’s a great tool for his­tory teach­ers to have for their lo­cal his­tory lessons,” said Knachel.

The Mu­seum is free and open for tours on Satur­days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (ex­clud­ing hol­i­days) un­til the sec­ond week­end in De­cem­ber. Busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions that will be fea­tured at the open­ing this Satur­day in­clude Star En­ter­prizez Can­dle Com­pany – spon­sor of the Es­sex Can­dle Shop circa 1929 Ex­hibit, Back River Restora­tion Com­mit­tee – Clean­ing Up Back River and The Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, Katie’s Kreations, Lup­ton’s Sports Col­lectibles, the Mary­land Mu­sic Hall of Fame, and the Greater Mary­land Para­nor­mal So­ci­ety. The gift shop fea­tur­ing recipe books from mem­bers, T-shirts, DVDs from Para­nor­mal So­ci­ety events and more will be open.

“I am look­ing for­ward to a new sea­son of giv­ing peo­ple tours and show­ing them the won­der­ful his­tory in our com­mu­nity,” said Knachel. “The Mu­seum has been such a good se­cret, we need to give peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to come by and see what they’ve been miss­ing. Then we will start adding ex­hibits so there is al­ways some­thing new to see and learn.”

New this year is Carol’s Cor­ner, which was cre­ated by Ronnie Alder (AKA Daddy Kool) in honor of his late

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