Hagerstown’s Annual Historic Houses of Worship Tour Planned for December 26

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – The annual Historic Houses of Worship Tour will be held in downtown Hagerstown on December 26, 2016, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. This free, self-guided candlelight tour is a way to experience the City of Hagerstown’s beautiful, historic churches festively decorated for the holiday season. Docents are available at many of the stops to provide interpretation. Seasonal music and refreshments are also offered at several of the tour stops.

The 2016 tour includes 14 churches as well as the Miller House (Washington County Historical Society) and the Washington County Arts Council. Brochure guides are available at the Visitor Welcome Center at 6 North Potomac Street prior to the event and at the Miller House at 135 W. Washington Street the night of the event. Shuttle service will be available on a continuous loop. In case of inclement weather the tour will be held from 3-7 p.m. on December 27.

The Historic Houses of Worship Tour is hosted by the Hagerstown Area Religious Council. The Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the City of Hagerstown are sponsors of the annual holiday event.

Historic Houses of Worship Tour organizers, in partnership with and support from the Washington County Arts Council (WCAC), invite the public to submit up to three photos to their 2016 photo contest. Photos should be taken during the Historic Houses of Worship Tour and must be submitted in jpg format by noon on January 13.  The winner will be selected by contest judges and that photograph will be commissioned by the tour organizers and used to create promotional materials for the 2017 tour. The winner will be announced in February and will receive a $200 award. For the complete contest rules and entry form, go to: http://www.washingtoncountyarts.com/holiday-worship-tour.

Prior to the Historic Houses of Worship Tour, Sarah Polzin, training manager with the National Park Service Historic Preservation Center, will give a program, “What’s So Special About that Old Building? Identifying Visual Character in a Historic Structure.” The free program will be presented on Tuesday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Trinity Lutheran Church at the corner of North Potomac Street and Randolph Avenue in downtown Hagerstown.

“Have you ever wondered how they decide on what features to save on an old building?” Polzin asks. “Or noticed after an old building is remodeled, that it’s lost some of its personality? What’s important to the way a building looks and what isn’t? In the historic preservation world, we call the important pieces, ‘Character Defining Features’. The National Park Service has created an online training laying out a 3-step process to identify visual character.” Polzin will walk through that process, illustrating it with photographs of the amazing architecture that will be open during the Historic Houses of Worship tour. She’ll also lead a conversation in what makes buildings significant.

Polzin, a native of Wisconsin, has made Hagerstown her home for the past 9 years. After hopping around the southeast in her early 20’s, seeking a way to work on old buildings, she discovered a program in Building Preservation and Restoration in St. Clairsville, OH. That schooling 18 years ago led to an internship with the Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick MD, where Sarah now manages and coordinates training for facilities maintenance employees. She serves on the Hagerstown Main Street Design Work Group and is currently the vice president for the Preservation Trades Network.

Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. Visit Hagerstown helps to create growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about the CVB, or to see events coming up throughout Washington County, go to http://www.visithagerstown.com.