West Friendship: Howard County Historical Society 'discovered' at new Miller Branch Library

When the new Miller Branch Library opened Dec. 17, library employee Monica Suchowski noted that the "opening day" crowd numbered larger than anyone could have expected. The massive, impressive building gives testimony to the great value of our Howard County library system.

I have to admit that I still recall the original Miller library, a cozy little spot which I frequented back in 1972. One summer afternoon, shrieks were heard throughout the stacks when a snake was discovered slithering amongst the highest shelves of the fiction section. Now we have this beautiful new building and an entire section devoted to the history of Howard County.

Volunteer coordinator Paulette Lutz has wasted not a moment in getting the word out to the community about the vast display, information, programs and volunteer opportunities afforded us with this new fantastic second floor of the library devoted to the Howard County Historical Society. The original Howard County Historical Society Museum remains in the Weir Building in historic Ellicott City.

Since the opening of the new Miller Branch, many residents are being introduced to the Howard County Historical Society for the first time.

"Since our move to the Miller Branch we have been 'discovered'," Paulette laughed. "We have more foot traffic here than we had at the Weir Building location."

Paulette is particularly interested in any source material on the history of the western part of Howard County. If you have any books, photographs, letters or materials which would pertain to the history of Howard County, she will gladly accept the items for donation to the Historical Center.

The Howard County Historical Society is currently preparing for a presentation of "The 150th anniversary of the Civil War: A Marylander's View." This event will be presented by Henry Stansbury Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Historical Center.

Stansbury, former president and chairman of the Maryland Historical Society, will take participants from the 1860 Presidential elections to the era of Fort Sumter and the Pratt Street Riots. Those riots were followed by the occupation of Maryland by federal troops, arrests of southern sympathizers and some significant military events which impacted Maryland at the time and still impact us today.

For those interested in attending the Civil War program, register at the library website under "Classes/Events" for Jan. 21. The website is http://www.hclibrary.org. If you have any materials which you would like to lend or donate to the Historical Center or if you would like to volunteer at the Howard County Historical Society, call Paulette at 410-480-3250 or e-mail info@hchsmd.org.

I heard from Janet Sowers at St. James United Methodist Church. The annual blood drive, sponsored by and held at St. James, will take place Jan. 26, 2-8 p.m. Donors are encouraged to call the church office at 410-442-2020 to set up a reserved time slot, although walk in donors are more than welcome too. Mark your calendar for the blood drive on Jan. 26. St. James is on Route 99, just off of Route 32.

There are several more chances to see Brother Gerry's fabulous train garden in the Manor House at the Shrine of St. Anthony on Folly Quarter Road. The set up is open to the public Jan. 15, 22 and 29 from 3 to 5 p.m.

"What is that snake?" "Which turtle is that?" These are the questions which will be answered by Ray Bosmans, president of the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society.

Bosmans, a professor emeritus with the University of Maryland Extension Service, will display his collection of live snakes and turtles. Discussion will include interesting stories about turtles and snakes along with the special habits and amazing adaptive qualities of these species.

The session is free of charge and set for Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Register online at http://www.hcconservancy.org or by calling 410-465-8877. The Howard County Conservancy is at 10520 Old Frederick Road, in Woodstock.

Aging in place. Now that sounds inviting. Karen Lubieniecki of the Howard County Association of Community Services wants to let residents know that a session dedicated to information on the topic of independent living for adults ages 65 and older, is set for Jan. 18 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia.

Presenters will include Phyllis Madachy, project director for "Opting for Independence," Cynthia Marshall, director of People Acting Together for Howard County and Paul Verchinksi, chairman for the Columbia Association Senior Advisory Committee.

The informational meeting is free of charge. Lunch is available for pre-order. The purpose of the session is to educate the public about options available in Howard County for the challenges met by seniors who wish to stay in their own homes as aging occurs.

For more information on the event, call Karen at 301-490-7434 or email karenlub@aol.com.

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