Historic Preservation Office opens digital archive of photos and historical permits


The county’s historic conservation office has opened a new online archive system that allows users to search a collection of scanned slides and photographs as well as scanned work permits in historic areas, according to a press release.

The publication, which will make the documents more easily accessible to landowners, researchers, historians and the public, coincides with the County Planning Council’s recognition of May as Preservation Month at its May 27 meeting.

“After years of working to digitize these historic documents, it is exciting that community members can now view them from their homes,” Planning Director Gwen Wright said in the statement. “Students can now research what Montgomery County looked like 90 years ago and owners of historic homes can get a more complete picture of the work that has been done on their home.

“These documents will also allow researchers and historians to understand changes over time in our historic sites and communities,” Wright added.

The collection of slides and digitized photographs includes park and planning photographs from the 1930s to the 1950s as well as photographs donated to the HPO.

It also includes photos taken by park and planning staff that show conditions existing from the 1970s to the 1990s for general planning efforts, historic communities studied and historic resources documented, according to the announcement.

Since 1980, owners of historic properties have filed HAWPs to make changes to these properties. Over 3,000 HAWPs are now online for an accessible record of changes to these historic sites through 2009; the collection can be searched by keyword address.

The original physical slides and permits are available by making arrangements with the HPO for retrieval and viewing of recordings from the archives.

Images courtesy of the Historic Preservation Office of the Montgomery County Planning Department. Above, student lounge, National Seminary, 1898-99.

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