About This Blog
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!
A note about our format
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.
Growing up all around the world, Agatha confidently claims D.C. to be the favorite of her many hometowns. After attending high schools in Nairobi and Istanbul, she completed a degree in Growth and Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College, just outside Philadelphia. Agatha never quite intended to take an interest in history, local or otherwise, until a summer tour-guiding job awakened an enthusiasm for story-telling, resulting in a senior thesis on the Washington Monument. When she isn't ruminating on ways in which urban objects inform the nuances of human experience, you may find her performing in the local music scene.
Anne Hollmuller is a BA/MA Candidate in History at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She also studies French and Museum Studies.
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 pursuing 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.
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.
Washington is one of the many places Callum has called home. Born in the U.K., Callum moved to the Netherlands and then to Portland, Oregon. He came to D.C. in 2013 to study International Relations and Philosophy at American Unversity. His love for history was born out of his family's frequent trips to European castles (dungeon-related nightmares anyone?). When Callum isn't writing for Boundary Stones, you can find him watching soccer, going to concerts, or giving Segway tours.
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.
David Constine is a Linguistics major and history minor at Haverford College. He grew up in Arlington and will forever hold the Virginia county dear to his heart. His fascination with the past has creeped into many of his interests, including a love for historically informed musical performance and a burning passion for a 16th century renaissance wind instrument called the crumhorn. At WETA, he hopes to uncover the obscure and forgotten though rich stories of the D.C area's past.
Ellen Wexler was born in D.C. on Inauguration Day, and she has been exploring the city ever since. She is a recent gradate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where sections of campus are routinely roped off for archeological excavation. At William and Mary, Ellen worked on her college newspaper, attended class in the country’s oldest academic building, and ran into colonial interpreters whenever she steps off campus. When asked to pick a favorite historical figure, she is never able to decide.
Emily Robinson, a Massachusetts native, comes to Boundary Stones by way of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She studies Media & Communication and Political Science, and while she is not a history or music major, her ownership of a Ben Franklin action figure and way too many instruments would suggest otherwise. An elementary school project on Jim Henson, a DC native himself, sparked her interest in finding creative ways to learn and teach about music and history through forms of digital media. When she's not blogging at WETA, Emily can be found taking photos of DC architecture, and searching for trombones and pianos to play throughout the DMV.
Hannah Schuster is a recent graduate of Brandeis University and has spent the last several years enjoying the milder temperatures and low humidity of New England. But as a lifelong Arlingtonian, she could not be happier to be back in the land of free museums and the Washington Nationals. Hannah loves digging up good stories and learning more about the world around her. She’s thrilled that she gets to build on her love of history and storytelling with Boundary Stones and WETA.
While most 5 year olds might spend their time playing soccer or baseball, Jacob decided to meticulously study the presidents, memorize their names, and rate them on a scale from 1-5. Candidly, he did this because he was terrible at both soccer and baseball, but he would like to believe that this more academic hobby instilled in him a love of History that remains to this day. As a D.C. native, Jacob has always tried to share local History with his community in a way that is both informative and entertaining. In high school, he made a video for the school called “Tenleytown is Funleytown,” a short film highlighting various hotspots in the vibrant neighborhood of Tenleytown. He is still waiting to hear back from Sundance.
Jamila Jordan grew up in D.C., which means that she was at the Smithsonian every other weekend and for every class field trip. This early exposure to history and culture inspired a lifelong interest in the subject, particularly in the history of indigenous peoples of different areas. She’s been able to expand upon this somewhat through her travels to various countries. Jamila is excited to do more travelling to learn about the history of different cultures, especially ones that are not well known about. In her free time Jamila enjoys exploring different types of food; the strangest thing she has eaten so far is guinea pig, which was a little chewy and stringy, but not at all bad.
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. A graduate of 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.
Kirsten Hankins had grown up watching history films and documentaries with her dad. In school her teachers would set fun projects like putting Martin Luther on trial, or recreating French salons where students had to act the part of various philosophes. By the time she entered university, she was set on studying history. Kirsten recently graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with a Masters degree in Public History and previously from Salisbury University with a Bachelors in History with minors in Anthropology, English, and Art. Aside from interning with WETA, Kirsten is currently working as a docent at the Port Tobacco Historic Site in Southern Maryland. Regardless of where she is, Kirsten is hoping to bring enthusiasm and interest to the discussion of historical topics!
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.
Laura Castro Lindarte is a senior in the George Washington University double majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication, and Political Science. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, but came to the United States when she was seven. After graduating college, Laura plans to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, and move back to Colombia, where she hopes to pursue a career in journalism. Laura loves to tell stories. She is a girl with big dreams and is not afraid to work hard to reach them (even if it means losing sleep time). The things she loves most in life are her family, her dog, and the National Colombian Soccer team.
Lila Spitz received her undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of Mary Washington. As an Arlingtonian, she has enjoyed visiting local historic sites and Smithsonian museums on school and family outings. This summer she was privileged to intern for the Education Department of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She conducted visitor interviews at the 2016 Folklife Festival and compiled and interpreted their responses. Lila particularly enjoys learning about social and public history.
Lori Wysong hails from Damascus, Maryland, a town that falls in that outer realm of the DC metro area where you could drive 10 minutes down the road and meet a diehard Ravens fan. She graduated from Montgomery College with a degree in General Studies, and from Washington College with a degree in History. Prior to WETA, she worked at the National Portrait Gallery, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and a historic Customs House in Chestertown, MD. If you take her to a museum, she is that person who reads every single label. She loves walking through DC and staring up at the tops of buildings and asking "What is that statue of?"—so as you can imagine, she is pretty excited to work at Boundary Stones.
Marissa Dever is a journalism and mass communications major at the George Washington University—and George Washington even has a tie to some of her earliest experiences with history. Her family would stop at historic spots (especially presidents' homes) on the way to their family vacations, and one of her favorite stops was Mount Vernon. She loved visiting the small local museum in Beaver, PA, her hometown, or the bigger museums in Pittsburgh. (It was a seminal moment for her to learn about her favorite condiment, Heinz Ketchup.) She can and will drag you along for a free walking tour—or better yet, a ghost tour. She loves finding the strange, specific, and often untold stories—no matter where she is currently calling home.
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.)
Max Lee is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he majored in English and minored in history. After writing a research paper about the four times Martin Luther King, Jr. visited his school, he's been fascinated by local history. He loves medical history and can't wait to see what procedures and medicines appall future historians.
Mike Williams discovered his love of American history after viewing Roland Emmerich’s The Patriot in the early 2000s. Since then, he has taken an interest in the backcountry life of South Carolina and hopes to prove how a vigilante group in the 1760s may have contributed to the violence seen in the Carolinas during the American Revolution. Mike attempted a degree in computer science, but learned the hard way that 2 + 2 did not equal 5, so instead he received his Bachelor’s degree in History from George Mason University in 2012. He is currently at GMU pursuing his Master’s in History and New Media, with a focus on American history and the American Revolution. Mike is also an aspiring writer and hopes to one day turn some of his research into compelling historical fiction.
Nick Scalera is the Senior Director of Digital Media at WETA. He 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).
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.
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.
Reagan Graney is an English major and Art minor at Georgetown University. She is from the historic town of Auburn, New York, the home of William H. Seward, Harriet Tubman, talking movies, and more. In exploring the magic of Auburn, Reagan has developed a deep passion for local history, and she loves uncovering stories about her favorite historical figures, nearby movie theaters, her college campus, and the sites she passes every day. Apart from history, Reagan's favorite things include baseball, the Harry Potter series, writing, and her friends and family.
Richard Brownell is the author of numerous books for young audiences on historical and cultural topics. He also writes political commentary and has had his stage plays produced in several cities around the country. He currently resides in New York City, but his home is wherever history has been made. Richard has been an avid reader, researcher, and writer of American history much of his life, and he is always sure to soak up historical sites and stories wherever his travels take him.
Ruthie Cooney is a native Virginian who recently made her way back to the D.C. area after a thirteen-year stint in Texas and Colorado, during which she accidentally graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a B.S. in Geological Engineering. Armed with a passion for storytelling, Ruthie was delighted to find Boundary Stones and learn of WETA’s commitment to reviving the history of Washington, Virginia, and Maryland. She cites her deep affection for Remember the Titans as the source of her interest in local history!
Shaune comes from a long line of librarians, teachers, and writers, which she likes to joke doomed her from the start to be the kid who got excited for class field trips to historic sites and family trips to the library. In fact, she still gets teased about the many times she toddled behind her mother, carrying a stack of books nearly as big as her. Shaune started her college career at NVCC; after earning her Associate's, she joined their Historic Preservation certificate program. This included a lot of road trips and a summer-long archaeology dig at Historic St. Mary’s, giving her more than a few “no, really, there I was…” stories (especially the one about meeting archaeologist William Kelso at Jamestown). She then transferred to Longwood University, graduating in 2017 with a double major in History (Public History) and Anthropology (Archaeology). She also has a background in student journalism and in campus radio – ask her about having to carry her personal turntable all the way to the station, on foot, in the rain. Shaune comes to WETA after finishing two post-grad museum internships and a season working at a family-owned winery, all on Virginia’s Northern Neck. Her current plans include traipsing around the area in search of new trivia and tidbits she can turn into articles, discovering new-to-her local eateries, and learning how to kayak without falling out.
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 graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English at George Mason University and boasts a healthy obsession for reading and writing stories, both real and fictional.
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 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.