Baird Montgomery County Collection - PP94

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Collection of the Maryland Historical Society Library


Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, September 1999


Montgomery County, Maryland was formed as a political unit in 1776, having formerly been a district of Frederick County, which had grown unmanageably large in the face of increasing war activity in the region. Named for General Richard Montgomery, the county originally encompassed lands (including Georgetown) that later became part of the District of Columbia. The county seat was established at what later became Rockville, which took its name from Rock Creek.

It was at Brookville in Montgomery Co. that President Madison and members of his cabinet took refuge when the British captured Washington and burned public buildings in 1814. It was also near Brookville that gold was reportedly discovered in 1849 on Samuel Ellicott's farm. Gold was believed to be present in the Potomac area, and was discovered again during the Civil War by troops camped in the vicinity of Great Falls.

In 1828, construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal was begun with President John Quincy Adams breaking ground in Georgetown. The canal's purpose was to provide a trade route over the Appalachian Mountains to the Ohio River Valley and the mid-west, since the Potomac was the only river in the East to bisect the Appalachian mountain barrier. By 1850, the canal reached its conclusion in Cumberland, Md.

Great Falls is a natural landmark where the Potomac River holds a series of rapids interspersed with 20 foot waterfalls, falling a total of 76 feet over a 3500 feet distance. It has long been a popular destination site for visitors from near and far, viewable from Maryland or Virginia. The head of Great Falls is the site of the Aqueduct Dam which is the intake for the District of Columbia's water supply system, for which construction was begun in 1853. Designed and overseen by Montgomery Meigs, the system called for diversion of Potomac River water into a 12-mile brick conduit, with gravity and pumping stations conveying the water to reservoirs for pumping into city pipelines. The complex infrastructure needed to support this endeavor included 11 tunnels and 6 bridges in addition to the conduit, pump stations, reservoirs and pipelines. The C&O Canal was an important route for bringing to the construction sites the large quantities of materials needed: cast iron, sand, concrete, brick, and sandstone.

By the mid-1800s, Montgomery Co. became a prosperous farming area. The success of farming in the region is attributed to the use of Peruvian guano, imported by the Quakers of Sandy Spring in 1844, as a fertilizing material. The area remained predominantly agricultural until about 1940. In 1874, the Montgomery County Agricultural Society was formed, holding annual Fairs in Rockville which featured agricultural achievement and home arts competitions, and horse races.

Collection Origin

Purchase, 1985 (001225).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 album with 46 photoprints. The subjects are primarily in the vicinity of Montgomery County, Md., taken in years 1907-1912 by Baird family member/s. Most photographs are dated and captioned, and were numbered by the album's creator. There are scenes of the C & O Canal at Great Falls with locks and boats, the Rockville Fair, an air field in College Park, and a hotel and race track in Marlborough. Some scenes include identified people, and there is a photo of an African American family in Montgomery Co. There are also photographs of people on holiday at Atlantic City, N.J.


Album pages are arranged so that Baird's numbering system runs consecutively.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 1 Album

Album 1
26 x 30 cm. Album has no covers, spine has disintegrated, and pages are extremely brittle.

Photoprint descriptions (number in parentheses is Baird's numbering system):

General Bean, trotting horse, on way to the Cedars, 1907. 2 items. (447, 448)

The Cedars, home of Rev. Dr. Hutton (near Brookville, Montgomery Co., Md.). 1 item. (537)

Father's grave and monument set in 1879, 1910. 1 item. (717)

Franklin car at the country club, 1910. 1 item. (718)

Great Falls, 1910. 7 items. (719-725)

Mr. Wells who keeps hotel at Marlborough, 1910. 1 item. (726).

Children at Marlborough, n.d. 1 item. (727)

Landmark at Burnt Mills, Md., n.d. 1 item. (728)

Going to the boat race, Aug. 14, 1910. 2 items. (729, 730)

White Horse Inn (between Camden and Atlantic, N.J.), 1910. 1 item. (731)

Marlborough, races that day, 1910. 1 item. (733)

D.A.R. Building (Washington, D.C.?), 1911. 1 item. (744)

Bureau American Republics (Washington, D.C.?), n.d. 1 item. (745)

Benning's Race Track, outside the fences, n.d. 1 item. (746)

Lt. Milling in Wright Biplane (College Park, Md.), 1911. 1 item. (747)

Whitmer cranking car, 1911. 1 item. (748)

From window of Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel (Atlantic City, N.J.), 1911. 1 item. (749)

Bathers (Atlantic City, N.J.), 1911. 3 items. (750, 752, 753)

Asphalt paving of R.I. Avenue (Washington, D.C. vicinity?), 1911. 1 item. (751)

Aunty and her family on Daniels Rd., near Brookville Rd. (Montgomery Co., Md.), n.d. 2 items. (754a, 754b). Dup/copy neg Z24.2100.

Sunday outing, "1 and 3 (year old) boys of a poor but contented couple". 1 item. (755)

Gov't. Hangar (College Park, Md.). 1 item. (756)

Rex. Smith's aeroplane, "The crowd defeated his flight". 1 item. (757)

Rockville Fair, Aug. 1911. 4 items. (758-761)

Mr. Mulcare and Pedro (dog), n.d. 1 item. (762)

Mrs. Davison (nee Middleton) and the baby, 1912. 1 item. (763)

Canoe on the C & O Canal at Great Falls, 1912. 1 item. (767)

Automobile races at Laurel, 1912. 1 item. (768)

C & O Canal near Aquaduct Bridge, 1912. 1 item. (769)

Canal boat in lock at Great Falls, 1912. 2 items. (770, 771)

Monument to New Jersey soldiers killed at Antiedam, n.d. 1 item. (772) © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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