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
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