Historic Preservation Office Opens Digital Archives of Photos, Historic Permits

The county’s Historic Preservation Office has opened up a new online archive system that allows users to search a digitized slide and photograph collection as well as digitized Historic Area Work Permits, according to a press release.

The release, which will make the materials more easily accessible to property owners, researchers, historians, and the public, coincides with the county’s Planning Board recognizing May as Preservation Month during its May 27 meeting.

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

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

The digitized slide and photograph collection includes Park and Planning photographs from the 1930s through the 1950s as well as photographs donated to the HPO.

It also includes pictures taken by Park and Planning staff that feature existing conditions from the 1970s through the 1990s for master planning efforts, surveyed historic communities, and documented historic resources, according to the announcement.

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

Original physical slides and permits are available by making arrangements with the HPO for retrieval and viewing records from the archives.

Images courtesy Montgomery County Planning Department Historic Preservation Office. Top, student sitting room, National Seminary, 1898-99.