Garden Club trophy 1931In honor of the upcoming Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, this week’s artifact is a silver trophy cup awarded to the Community Garden Club of Rockville at the 1931 Rockville Fair.  The prize was awarded by the Washington Evening Star newspaper for the best display at the Flower Show.  Here’s the full text, as inscribed in a nice early-1930s font: “Rockville Fair Flower Show / The Evening Star Gardens Club Cup / Aug 18-21 1931 / Winning Club / Community Garden Club of  Rockville Md.”  The Rockville Garden Club had a good year; we also have their trophy awarded by the Fair Association, again for “winning club” at the flower show in 1931, as well as their winning Evening Star Cup for the previous year, 1930.  The Rockville Garden Club donated these three trophies to us in 1973. 

The Rockville Fair – essentially the County Fair – was held at the fairgrounds in Rockville, where Richard Montgomery High School is today. The Montgomery County Agricultural Society began the annual fair in 1846; it moved to the permanent fairgrounds in 1856, and continued there every year (with a few breaks during the Civil War) until 1932. At that point the Agricultural Society, like much of the country, was having financial difficulties, and the fairgrounds were sold to the Montgomery County School Board; that was the end of the first incarnation of the County Fair. In 1949, after several years of planning, local 4-H leaders held the first revived County Fair in Gaithersburg; today it is the largest County Fair in Maryland.

I do realize that this is the second fair-related item on this blog (and it’s only, what, the seventh post?) but what can I say, I’m in a summer mood and am ready for the Fair.  Bring on the pig races, Bunny Barn, funnel cake, Home Arts show, and random vendors!  (You can have the rides.)


prize ribbon 1914Our weekly artifact is one of a collection of five prize ribbons donated by Mildred Getty in the 1950s.  This particular ribbon is printed, “Colesville Horse and Colt Show, Colesville, Md.  Third Prize, August 12, 1914.”  (The other ribbons in the collection are Fourth Prize at the 1914 show; Second and Third Prize at the 1913 Colesville show; and First Prize at the 1911 Rockville Fair Horse Show.) 

Happily for me, the Colesville Horse and Colt Show was a widely attended affair, and the results were published in the Montgomery County Sentinel. (I do like an artifact with a date printed on it!)   1914 was the third annual show, held “all day” at the farm of Benton G. Ray outside Colesville.   Attendance for 1914 was not specified, but in 1913 the paper reported that over 3,000 people visited the fair, coming from all over the state as well as Washington, D.C.   The winner of the Third Premium in Class No. 16: Champion Ponies was Cocoanut, owned by George G. Getty of Silver Spring (the donor’s father).   Cocoanut also won the Fourth Premium in Class No. 14: Ponies in Harness. 

The 1911 and 1913 ribbons in this collection were won by horses owned by Louise Stratton Burr Getty, the donor’s mother.  Mrs. Getty was a noted horsewoman and activist who grew up in Colesville and lived in Silver Spring after her marriage.  The Historical Society owns a cape worn by Mrs. Getty while riding a horse (naturally) in the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade in Washington, D.C. on March 3rd, 1913.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Getty was killed in October of 1913 in what her obituary described as a “runaway horse accident.”  Perhaps Mr. Getty entered his pony in the 1914 show in his wife’s honor.