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Home / Montgomery Parks highlights diverse histories through the new Untold Stories initiative 

Montgomery Parks highlights diverse histories through the new Untold Stories initiative 

Home / Montgomery Parks highlights diverse histories through the new Untold Stories initiative 

WHEATON, Md. – Montgomery Parks is launching a new program to shine a spotlight on places whose rich histories have long been undervalued and underrepresented. 

Remarkable Montgomery: Untold Stories will share accounts of the distant and not-so-distant past related to current day parkland. These narratives will appear on the Untold Stories webpage, and many will be developed into visitor experiences such as audio tours, interpretive signage, and interactive activities in parks.  

“As we observe Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, it is so important that we recognize these stories,” said Montgomery Parks Cultural Heritage Specialist Elena Guarinello. “Making histories visible in public parks is a powerful way to share and represent the county’s diversity.” 

Untold Stories expands Montgomery Parks’ existing Cultural Resources interpretive program, which includes five museums, over 40 historic sites and more than 80 outdoor signs. 

“As the Untold Stories program grows, we’re excited about collaborating with residents and a variety of communities to learn about their histories and present-day connections to parkland,” Guarinello said.  

The Untold Stories website already features more than a dozen stories related to parks throughout the county. Entries highlight African Americans, women, Native Americans, and others. For example: 

Johnson’s Local Park in Gaithersburg was once the heart of the historic community of Emory Grove which was settled by African Americans who were formerly enslaved. The tight-knit community thrived into the 1970s until broken up by federal urban renewal programs. The park is now slated for renovation by Montgomery Parks to enhance its amenities and commemorate its historical significance.  

The Rockwood Manor Retreats and Events Center is another featured site. The area was formerly a beloved Girl Scout camp that was threatened by a sale to a private real estate developer. A group of Girl Scouts were part of a successful 1979 class action suit to retain the location’s natural setting and its intended use as outdoor gathering space. 

Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park is a newly acquired site in Silver Spring that will eventually highlight the Indigenous history of Montgomery County. Once developed, the new park will feature exhibits and activities highlighting how Native Americans mined soapstone and turned it into items for daily use. 

Untold Stories is a collaboration with Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office. That agency is also working to place historic markers around the county, on non-park land. 

About Montgomery Parks      
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. MontgomeryParks.org  

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Program Access Office at 301-495-2581 (Voice/TTY), MD Relay 7-1-1 or 800-552-7724 or ProgramAccess@MontgomeryParks.org to request a disability modification. Visit Montgomery Parks Accessibility for more information.