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Boundary Stones is a blog about local history in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. On these pages (or pixels!) we'll seek to uncover and share some of the stories that have helped to shape our community over the years. There will be some serious stuff, some light stuff, some photos and eventually maybe even some video. It should be a fun exploration and we hope that you will check back often to read, comment and suggest topics.
So what's with the name Boundary Stones? It's a local history reference, of course! After President George Washington chose the Potomac River region as the site for the new national capital in 1790, surveyors laid out 40 sandstone markers to mark the territory. These stones were inscribed with "District of Columbia" on one side and "Maryland" or "Virginia" on the other side. If it worked for George Washington, it works for us!
On this site, we strive to provide interesting, informative and accurate blog posts based on a variety of reputable sources including history books, articles, websites, interviews, newspaper accounts and primary source materials. However, in most cases, our short-form blog post format does not allow us to research and discuss these topics exhaustively. Quite simply, there is almost always more to the story. We invite comments and suggestions on how our posts can be improved and/or how our treatment of a topic can be expanded. After all, blogs are always better when readers contribute their thoughts and knowledge.
The views posted on Boundary Stones are the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the views of WETA.
Valeria Almada has lived in the DC area her entire life, with brief international stints in Ireland, England, and Argentina. While abroad, she began to develop an interest in local history, sharing her discoveries through blog posts and travel magazine articles. After returning to America, she continued this newfound interest by exploring and documenting the history of her own hometown. Valeria is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English at George Mason University and boasts a healthy obsession for reading and writing stories, both real and fictional.
Jenna Goff has spent the majority of her life in search of stories. Whether begging her parents for another bedtime fairy tale or researching the history of an old church in rural Georgia, she can't remember a time when they weren't a part of her life. An English and French major at Davidson College, she has previous experience in journalism, having worked for The Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, NC and The Reporter Newspapers in Atlanta, GA. She is thrilled to continue with her love of writing at WETA, and is enjoying delving into the rich history of the nation's capital.
Will Hughes can't remember a time when he didn't love a good story. Whether it was an elementary school teacher talking about what it was like being a part of the the Civil Rights movement, or a genteel South Carolina grandfather regaling him with the tales from battlefields of eras past, Will couldn't stop listening to and thinking about history's connections to the present. After leaving his hometown of Atlanta for the tundra of Minnesota, he graduated with a Bachelor's in History from Macalester College in May, 2012. Previous to working at WETA, he created exhibits for a local history museum in Shakopee, MN, and also interpreted & cataloged early 20th century political cartoons for the Minneapolis Library.
Phillip Jackson first took an interest in history when he began to study the Civil Rights Movement. This led to an appetite for reading and research and he credits The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass with inspiring him to learn more about other historical events. Phillip is a current student at Hampton University majoring in journalism with a minor in leadership studies.
Mark Jones has called the D.C. area home since he was three years old. As a child he enjoyed taking family trips to Colonial Williamsburg and impersonating historical figures for elementary school book reports. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Davidson College and a Master's in History and New Media from George Mason University. Prior to coming to WETA, Mark worked as an interpreter for the National Park Service at Arlington House: The Robert E. Lee Memorial, where (much to the amusement of his friends) he wore the "Smokey the Bear" hat as part of his uniform and occasionally donned period clothes. (Photos are classified.)
Patrick J. Kiger is a journalist, blogger and author based in the Washington, DC area. He has written for print publications ranging from GQ and Mother Jones to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and wrote the "Is This a Good Idea?" blog for the Science Channel from 2007-2012. His books include Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America, co-authored with Martin J. Smith, which recently was reissued on in a Kindle edition. For more of his work, go to www.patrickjkiger.com or follow him on Twitter @patrickjkiger
Krystle Kline grew up in the DC area and drove her parents crazy by begging them to take her to Manassas Battlefield on weekends. She briefly strayed into the realm of science and got a bachelor's degree in biology from Wake Forest University in 2009, but she saw the light after graduation and went on to earn a Master's in history from the College of Charleston in 2011. To support herself in grad school, Krystle worked as a research assistant for CofC and as an interpreter at two historic houses in beautiful Charleston, SC. She greatly enjoys eating, playing with her dog, and researching historical prostitutes.
Nick Scalera dates his fascination with history to the day the Bicentennial "Freedom Train" rolled into his hometown of Rochester, NY. Since then, he’s followed a multitude of professional and personal tracks that have ultimately led back to telling stories about the past. Before coming to WETA, Nick produced Web sites, interactive elements, online games and video projects for Discovery Channel, TLC, Science Channel, Military Channel and The Henry Ford, the nation's second largest history museum. He has also worked as a museum archivist and an exhibit developer, producing immersive historical experiences such as an early-20th Century silent movie theater and a 1980s teen bedroom. Scalera has Masters Degrees in History (University of Connecticut) and Information and Library Studies (University of Michigan).
Benjamin Shaw is a history and English major at the University of Maryland. Growing up just outside DC, in Prince George’s County, he was the kid who gave tours of the Smithsonian museums to visiting relatives, and trained to dress up as a docent at the site of the Battle of Bladensburg. He has discovered a passion for research through a variety of recent avenues: first as part of Glen Echo Park’s oral history program, then in a stint at the National Archives sorting oversized materials (Archives II has everything from 70-year-old barley samples to portraits of Hitler from New Jersey), and now at WETA. Ben enjoys hiking, Ursula K. LeGuin, and the DC music scene, and is continually astonished by how little newspaper editorials have changed in the past 200 years.
Claudia Swain's entanglement with local history began in her hometown of Norfolk, VA. Asked to write the history of her high school, Claudia discovered the dusty but always fascinating allure of regional history. She continued her newfound interest as an intern with the National Park Service, working on the Glen Echo Oral History Project. With each successive topic, Claudia gets drawn in deeper- and her friends get even more tired of listening to her go on and on about it.
Ariel Veroske hails from the great Pacific Northwest state of Oregon. She’s a native of Portland who chose to replace the lush, green, old-growth forests with corn fields and Amish farms while pursing a Bachelor’s degree in History at the College of Wooster in North central Ohio. After spending the last two summers working on an organic U-pick blueberry farm, Ariel decided that a stronger emphasis on historical research and writing would help her develop career goals and gain experience in the field. Ariel enjoys many outdoor activities and loves cooking, reading historical fiction, and spending time with her family.
Ellen Wexler was born in D.C. on Inauguration Day, and she has been exploring the city ever since. She is currently studying English at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where sections of campus are routinely roped off for archeological excavation. At William and Mary, Ellen works on her college newspaper, attends class in the country’s oldest academic building, and runs into colonial interpreters whenever she steps off campus. When she isn’t writing for WETA, she writes for Education Week, a K-12 education newspaper. An aspiring journalist, she plans to tell stories for a living. When asked to pick a favorite historical figure, she is never able to decide.