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Download Montgomery County (MD) (Images of America) epub

by Michael Dwyer

Nicknamed the “Gateway to the Nation’s Capital,” Montgomery County is home to a number of federal agencies and a highly educated and affluent population that has grown increasingly diverse in recent years. Established in 1776, Montgomery County now consists of urban centers like Bethesda and Silver Spring; suburban neighborhoods like Wheaton, Germantown, and Potomac; and scenic rolling farmland interspersed with historic villages, like Brookeville and Barnesville. An additional 50,000 acres of federal, state, and county parkland provide numerous recreational opportunities for its residents.
Download Montgomery County (MD) (Images of America) epub
ISBN: 0738542741
ISBN13: 978-0738542744
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Michael Dwyer
Language: English
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (July 17, 2006)
Pages: 128 pages
ePUB size: 1251 kb
FB2 size: 1747 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 916
Other Formats: lrf rtf txt docx

Excellent source for information referring to historical past, and showing 'then-and-now' pictures of the growth of Montgomery County. I do a lot of historic research when I go to shoot historic places/locations, and sometimes the records that tell you where they were refer to places that no longer exist. If not for the 'Images of America' series books that I have, many quests would've been pointless; so I pick them up whenever I can. Collecting this series of books is highly recommended for anyone who wants a good selection of location information, with photo references that are specific to places.
You will see this review repeated for any of this series that I purchase.
Masterful photography by a premier regional historian. It simply doesn't get any better than this. Without the documentary photographs of probably several thousand sites taken by the author over the last 35+ years, and his detailed knowledge of most of them, much of our heritage likely would have been lost. The photographs are distinctive, highly perceptive, often subtly iconic, and always well-crafted classic images of our heritage.
Would never ever recommend this book. It fell far short of what I expected to find regarding images that remain in that county. Again as in the Prince Georges County book, this book revolves around primarily a single family and goes no further.
Montgomery County, Maryland consists of roughly 500 square miles on the Northwest border of Washington, D.C. It is best-known today for the affluence and high education levels of its residents. As a long-time resident of Washington, D.C. I am familiar with Montgomery County. I live in D.C. within easly walking distance of Silver Spring and in fact lived in Silver Spring, the community that borders Washington D.C. north of Georgia Avenue, itself for some years.

The books of photographic local history in the Images of America series have frequently helped me to see the familiar with new eyes. Michael Dwyer's book on Montgomery County (2006) brought home to me images of a region that I know in ways I had not known it before. Dwyer is a historian for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In the early 1970s he conducted a historical survey of resources in Montgomery County and in the adjacent Prince Georges County. He uses many of the photgraphs resulting from this survey in this book. Dwyer's photos deliberately have an aura of the commonplace. In the introduction to this volume he writes "[p]articular emphasis was paid to structures and scenes that were perhaps not the most elegant but rather the ordinary places often overlooked." Dwyer emphasizes the rural background of Montgomery county rather than the busy urban and suburban communities that will be most familiar to people today. I was reading this book the other day on the subway on my way home. I got into a conversation with a fellow-passenger who was reading the book over my shoulder. We had a pleasant conversation about the photos and about the extent to which the county had changed.

Dwyer offers a survey of Montgomery County in 128 pages of photos and annotations. Early in its history Montgomery County was overwhelmingly rural. Tobacco was the chief cash crop, and the county was also dotted with mills. Slavery was common in pre-Civil War Montgomery County. Thus, the county offered substantial sympathy to the Confederacy during the Civil War even though the Blair family of Silver Spring was instrumental to Lincoln's war effort. Dwyer offers many rare photographs of Montgomery County, including photos of old slave quarters, during these early years.

The portions of the book I most enjoyed were those that focused on the urban development of the County. Dwyer offers photos of early Silver Spring, Bethesda, and other communities I know showing streetcar lines, roads, community landmarks and old stores and homes. I was moved by his several photographs of African American housing during the many years in which Montgomery County was heavily segregated and overwhelmingly white. This too, together with its pro-Southern stance, is sometimes easily forgotten in thinking about Montgomery County and its past.

The larger portion of Dwyer's book consists of photographs of farms and rural areas in the upper parts of Montgomery County -- those at a greater distance from Washington, D.C. Agriculture plays a critical and sometimes overlooked role in the county's life even today. Dwyer present photographs of old barns and farm houses, log cabins and shacks. The scenes cover homes from the most prosperous individuals of the day to the impoverished field hands. He shows how housing developed from the simple dwellings of the early days to large, expensive homes as the county grew and prospered. The most impressive photographs are those that document simple and common life. The book includes photgraphs of churches and schools ranging from the simple to the elaborate. Scenes of logging, milling, quarrying, and commercial activity in addition to farming offer a portrait of early life in the county. Dwyer's own photographs from the 1970s are among the most eloquent in the book. With the continued pace of development in Montgomery County, many of the these places and buildings were demolished a short time after he recorded them with his camera. Dwyer has preserved a valuable legacy.

This book helped me get beyond my own preconceptions of Montgomery County as an upper-middle class enclave of comfort and complacency. Every community has a history and a depth that are open to be discovered if we look at them afresh. I enjoyed getting to know Montgomery County anew in Dwyer's book.

Robin Friedman
This book provides a visual overview of the history of Montgomery County, MD, through a series of photos taken over many decades. I found it informative and gives a solid picture of the county's rural roots. Overall it was an enjoyable and entertaining read. However, I started losing interest somewhere in the middle when all the photos end up being of house after house, barn after barn. It would have made it more interesting to insert some photographs of some some of the early residents of the county - the people who inhabited these houses. Minor improvements would be to include the exact coordinates of each photograph so it can be looked up on a Google Map. Having a date on each photo would also be useful. Finally, while I appreciate the author's concerns over the increasing urbanization of the county, I got irritated towards the end of the book by his incessant grieving tone over the loss of farms and agricultural land. Get over it! Sometime before those farms came into place, the land used to be forest. Why doesn't he grieve over the loss of the forest to build the farmland in the first place? Who is to say farm is better than city or forest is better than farm? While there is merit to his argument, I prefer that a book like this should be free from judgment and attitudes. I bought it to learn about the county's history, not to spend 50% of each caption reading the same lecture over and over.
The first time I opened this book I was mesmerized. It was Christmas morning and I don't think I put the book down until New Year's Eve. As a life-long resident of Montgomery County and a local history enthusiast, I am thankful for Michael Dwyer's photographs, which offer a unique glimpse into the county's past. His work with the M-NCPPC is a true inspiration and this book is one that I will always go back to.