At its second annual awards brunch this spring, the Governor William Paca Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented the DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award to the Harford County Historical Society.
The Historical Society has occupied the former post office on Main Street in Bel Air since 1994. The building houses a research center: an extensive collection of artifacts, photos, books, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, court records, diaries, textiles, family histories, archival material, and other items of Harford County and Maryland history. These have been collected and carefully preserved over the years by dedicated volunteers.
The problem has increasingly been the condition of the building itself, according to Emily Andrews, president of publicity for the DAR chapter.
“Many of the original architectural features were hidden or destroyed during previous post office renovations, and the building was in need of extensive restoration, particularly in the building’s lobby, postmaster’s office, and boxes. mailings,” Andrews said.
Fundraising for the hall’s restoration and a major grant from the Harford County Government enabled the restoration project to begin in early 2020.
Although the building has been closed for two years, the Historical Society has maintained a schedule of programs, presentations, newsletters and online newsletters. The restoration is nearing completion, and plans are moving forward to create a museum of permanent and rotating exhibits in the lobby, Andrews said.
The prize was awarded during Historic Preservation Month, which was in May. “Historic preservation is one of the cornerstones of DAR’s mission,” Andrews said. “The Historical Society has provided invaluable service to the Harford County community in its historic preservation, outreach programs and careful restoration of buildings, and it deserves recognition for its efforts to preserve and share the history of Harford County.”
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonprofit, nonpolitical women’s service organization. Governor William Paca’s Chapter, based in Bel Air, has over 90 members who carry out DAR’s mission to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Membership is open to any woman who can trace her lineage to someone who helped secure American independence during the Revolutionary War.