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Telling the Story

Library of Congress Local Legacy

In 1997, folklorist Alison Kahn and photographer Peggy Fox began working on an oral history project to capture images and stories from long-time residents of Oella and Ellicott City. The original project was funded by the Maryland Historical Trust and initiated by Elaine Eff, its Director of Cultural Conservation.

The Trust wanted to record the cultural history of those towns before electricity, automobiles, and water and sewer service dramatically changed daily routines. Kahn and Fox captured stories and images of life in the mills, travel by streetcars, railroad and horse and buggies, local merchants, family doctors, home remedies, hobos, swimming and fishing in the river; outhouses and hand pumps.

Over the next three years, working with the Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway, they completed interviews and portraits on a total of 55 residents in four towns along the central Patapsco Valley: Elkridge, Ellicott City, Oella and Relay. The oral history project was accepted as a Local Legacy by the Library of Congress as part of its Bicentennial Collection.

© 2013 — Patapsco Heritage Greenway