Upper Marlboro residents and officials hope the creation of a town historical committee will make the town’s rich history more widely known and encourage preservation of its historic features.
Stephen Sonnett, president of the town’s board of commissioners, said the proposed committee is necessary for the town to fulfill its goal of becoming a vibrant “historical village.”
“What this town’s niche will be is as a historical village,” Sonnett said. “Now that there are people who are into the history of the town, I think we can push that along.”
Sonnett said he is looking for volunteers to join the committee, whose first task will be to try to collect and catalog historical documents relating to the town, which was established in 1706. Town officials had been considering the formation of such a committee for some time, Sonnett said, but a recent meeting on how to promote historic sites in town held by the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Inc. “tipped the scales.”
“It got it in more of an action mode,” Sonnett said. “I think now we’re ready to step forward a little bit more aggressively. We have a wonderful history, we just have to get it all organized.”
No meetings for the committee are scheduled yet, but officials said they hope to hold the first one in the next month or so.
Commissioner Joseph Hourcle said he hopes the committee will encourage residents to protect historic sites in the future, but he fears it may be too late for the embattled Old Marlboro Elementary School, which Prince George’s County has proposed to demolish.
“The big thing is getting people involved and interested in the town,” Hourcle said. “It should get things more visible to more people, but I don’t think it’ll make a difference in the short term.”
Barry Morton, a town resident and president of the Marlborough Towne Community Association, said he was definitely interested in helping on the committee. He said it’s important for residents to highlight the historic nature of the town and show a presence to county officials.
“[County leaders] just have to work here, and it escapes you that the town is over 300 years old,” Morton said. “In order to preserve the town, leaders have to know the importance of it. If we beef things up with walking tours and the like, they’ll have to take note of it.”