Thursday, July 9, 2020
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Mountain Ridge students document the rails

Students in Matthew Ravenscroft’s historical research methods class at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, Md., collaborated to make a documentary video about the history of rail transportation in Western Maryland, the Cumberland Times-News reports.

The story is about how rail transportation, especially of coal but sometimes of passengers, changed life for residents of Western Maryland.

Cover art (from the school)

The class will present their research, in the form of a 45-minute documentary entitled Railways: Connecting Western Maryland, at the Frostburg Palace Theatre on Thursday, April 30.

Mountain Ridge High School has also made DVDs of the documentary for sale through the main office.

The Palace Theatre, where the documentary will get its premiere, has some history of its own. Its creation, intended primarily to simply save a historic building, has contributed to foot traffic on Main Street in Frostburg’s downtown. Unlike many big screens in the area, the Palace Theatre shows a variety of classic, independent, and foreign films, as well as documentaries—films not typically available to moviegoers within Allegany County.

To research the subject, students used public records, newspaper archives, library materials, and a large special collection of regional historical documents at Frostburg State University.

“It was great to see the kids all working together and problem solving,” the Times-News quoted Mr Ravenscroft as saying.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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