A photographic history of LaVale, Maryland and the Cumberland Narrows by Dan Whetzel

A photographic history of LaVale, Maryland and the Cumberland Narrows by Dan Whetzel. 2011

When I move to a place I like to learn about the history and geography that surround me.  I have lived in Arlington and Prince William Counties in Virginia, and Montgomery and Allegany Counties in Maryland, and I have enjoyed reading books and learing about all these different places.  I saw this book about LaVale, and I decided it would be interesting to find out about the history of that area.  There are great pictures and maps, and I liked the way the author started at the Narrows end of LaVale and moved west as he described the area’s history.  Many of the buildings, parks and railroads are no longer around, but Whetzel brings them back to life with vivid descriptions and detailed photos.  It was fun to look at the pictures and visualize what LaVale has looked like during the past decades.  I learned about places that I had heard about, like Narrows park and The Crystal Park and imagine how much fun those places would have been.  Things do change, but thanks to Dan Whetzel, we can go back in time and remember!

Dan Whetzel, who is avid photograph collector, estimates that he has around 250,000 negatives, some of which were obtained from Times-News archives. Part of his collection is located at the Frostburg State University library. Whetzel retained about 2,000 negatives for his collection.  He has written many books about the area and as a teacher at Allegany High School, has encouraged students to produce several volumes of oral history covering topics or periods of Cumberland’s past.

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