Celebrate Women’s History Month in Montgomery County

American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) works at a desk in her office, Maryland, August 1962. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor women’s contributions to our nation’s history. Montgomery County, Maryland was home to multiple internationally, nationally, and locally significant women, making this a great destination for women’s history buffs and visitors alike. Take the opportunity to celebrate by visiting historic sites, attending in-person and virtual events, and by supporting local women-owned businesses all month long.

Sites To Visit

Clara Barton National Historic Site
Tour the Clara Barton National Historic Site
5801 Oxford Road, Glen Echo, MD 20812

A nurse who founded the American Red Cross and provided medical care to soldiers during the Civil War, the heroic Clara Barton is remembered for dedicating her life to helping those in need. The Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo is notably the first national historic site in the country dedicated to the accomplishments of a woman. It sits on nine acres of land and includes the 38-room residence where Barton lived for the last 15 years of her life. The residence also served as an early headquarters and warehouse of the American Red Cross.

Free guided tours of the first floor of the home are available on the hour from 1-4 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Please note that the second and third floors are currently closed to the public. 

Rachel Carson Conservation Park | Montgomery Parks
Explore the Rachel Carson Conservation Park
22201 Zion Road, Olney, MD 20833

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, conservationist, and author of the pivotal book Silent Spring, which ultimately contributed to the advancement of the global environmental movement. Carson called Silver Spring home during the last few years of her life, and she spent her time in Montgomery County studying various environmental threats, such as pesticides and other spraying programs involving harmful chemicals. 

Her passion for nature and the environment lives on through the Rachel Carson Conservation Park. Named in her honor, the park is one of the county’s premier conservation areas and includes six vibrant miles of natural surface trails that are perfect for hiking, walking, running, and exploring.

Shirley Butler | Courtesy of Butler’s Orchard
Pick Your Own Bounty at Butler’s Orchard
22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, MD 20876

Shirley “Mrs. B” Butler, a Silver Spring native, and her husband George purchased the original 37 acres of what is now Butler’s Orchard. They opened their Germantown farm to the public in the 1950s and were known as the originators and pioneers of “pick your own” produce businesses that are now wildly popular across the country. Today, Butler’s Orchard offers more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, and herbs to pick, and hosts many family-friendly events throughout the year.

Butler was the proud matriarch of her family. She oversaw every phase of development and growth on the farm, teaching and nurturing second and third-generation Butler children into the family business. She never really retired and was often spotted out on the farm on her golf cart with her beloved dog Dakota by her side.

Fun fact: There are 492 women farmers in Montgomery County. They make up 48% of the total agricultural producers in the county.

Anna Maria Weems | Courtesy of Peerless Rockville
Get a Taste of Anna Maria Weems’ Journey at the Underground Railroad Experience Trail
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860

Anna Maria Weems was born into slavery in Montgomery County in 1840. She is known for gaining her freedom by dressing like a man and risking her life to escape. On September 23, 1855, she ran away to Washington, DC, and crafted an escape plan with relatives she reconnected with, after being separated from them early in her life. She then traveled to Philadelphia by carriage and met William Still, a principal conductor on the Underground Railroad who helped her get to Brooklyn. On the final stretch of her long and exhausting journey, she traveled by train to Canada to meet her aunt and uncle, who settled there years earlier. Weems was a free woman and called Canada home for the remainder of her life.

There are many others with stories similar to Anna Maria Weems’ dangerous journey to freedom. Visit the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park to experience the freedom seekers’ journeys firsthand during a guided hike that allows you to follow the path they took to the North.

Women-Owned Businesses To Support

The Family Room

Here are a few of the many women-owned businesses in Montgomery County to support during Women’s History Month and all year long.

St. Veg
14929 Shady Grove Road, Unit M, Rockville, MD 20850

St. Veg specializes in homestyle vegan cooking in a fast-casual environment. They are committed to the benefits of plant-based eating and environmental sustainability. In 2021, the City of Rockville honored them with the Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Practices Award for their low-environmental-impact menu.

The Family Room
6820 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Laytonsville, MD 20882

The Family Room is not your average retail shop; it is a place to come together and call home. In addition to offering scrumptious local ice cream, coffee, and small bites, they also sell family and lifestyle goods produced by more than 30 Maryland makers.

Maryland Women’s Business Centers’ Shop Local Retail Incubator
36D Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850

The Maryland Women’s Business Center’s Shop Local Retail Incubator helps support local women-owned small businesses succeed by providing free mentorship, access to a brick-and-mortar retail space at their storefront in Rockville Town Square, and more. The entrepreneurs featured in the store specialize in home goods and handcrafted products.

Support Montgomery County’s many woman-owned restaurants during Women’s History Month, and learn more about local history by exploring these historic sites.
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