Or Some Cool Old Stuff Around Potomac You Should Know About
History comes alive through great stories. Great stories come alive through great storytellers. Potomac has plenty of both—if you know where to look and who to ask. The Montgomery County Historical Society, known simply as Montgomery History, is a good place to start. Celebrating its 75th year, the group operates two museums and a research library, manages a 9,500-piece artifact collection and much more. It is also a mecca for people who dig through dusty boxes, sort ancient photographs, pore over fading archives and study hand-scrawled memoirs so everyone else can experience the wonder of a shared history without having to work so hard. Here are a few of them along with a few of their favorite tales. MontgomeryHistory.org
Ralph is a volunteer with Montgomery History, a docent at the Kingsley one-room schoolhouse in Clarksburg and a member of the Historical Society’s Speaker’s Bureau. Since he discovered that he is descended from Potomac’s original settlers, the Offutt family, Ralph has been giving talks about Potomac history to community groups and businesses and at national conferences. Ralph’s extensive network of people important to Potomac’s history includes the 94-year-old Roemer McPhee, a one-time special assistant to President Eisenhower who has lived in the same Potomac home for nearly 60 years and who has plenty of his own stories to share. Find Ralph via MontgomeryHistory.org.
Up until 1880, Potomac—or more specifically the part of Potomac now known as Potomac Village—was called Offutts Crossroads, named for the Scotsman William Offutt who received a land grant in the late 1690s to help settle the area. Offutt’s Market marked the crossroads at River and Falls Roads. Mitch and Bill’s Exxon Station stands there now. Across the intersection, a Capital One Bank occupies what used to be the Perry Store, a competitor of Offutt’s Market.
An author and speaker, Judith is currently writing a pictorial history of Potomac to be published by Arcadia in March 2020. Her previous books include two about Cabin John. Judy is bursting with colorful tales of local families descended from Potomac’s founders, the Potomac gold rush, the C&O Canal, the trolley, the Potomac Fox Hunt and much more, all of which will be in her book, not the least of which will be never-before-published photos of the Potomac Hunt. JudithWelles.com
Old Angler’s Inn and Normandie Farm
The stone building of the Old Angler’s Inn dates to 1862 while the restaurant at Normandie Farm has been feeding visitors since 1931. Check out the websites of both for colorful tales related to these historical sites that include famous and little-known figures. OldAnglersInn.com, Popovers.com