In and Around Morningside-Skyline
By Mary McHale 301-735-3451
Remembering a 1951 Morningside tragedy that won’t go away
On April 8, 1951, a B-25 bomber took off from Andrews, had landing gear malfunction and crashed into the home of MSgt. Samuel and Dorothea Snyder on Lombardy Street in Morningside. Their two little girls, 6-year-old Kay and 8-week-old Rene, and their uncle Irvin Guyer, visiting from New Jersey, died in the fire.
Longtime Morningsiders know the story and I’ve often retold it in this column. It’s a story that won’t go away.
About 20 years ago, I was at the Surratt-Clinton Library when the librarian told me they’d gotten a call from a man in Kansas who wanted to talk to someone about the crash. I took his number and called him. He said he had been stationed at Bolling AFB at the time and was sent to the accident scene to help with cleanup. He said he had never been able to get it out of his head.
About 10 years ago, I received a call from a woman in New Jersey who told me she was the daughter of Irvin and Violet Guyer and she wanted to talk about the death of her dad who died in the crash. We talked a long time.
And now, Washington Post’s John Kelly has related the whole story in his October 3 column. I was surprised that he’d turned up the court records I’d never been able to find.
The bomber pilot, Capt. Paul V. Chapman—on orders from Andrews—had the two crewmembers bail out. Then Capt. Chapman set the plane to crash in the Chesapeake Bay—also ordered by Andrews—and he bailed out. But the B-25 coasted over Andrews and Suitland Road and into the Snyder’s house. He was indicted on three counts of murder but found not guilty.
The survivors were awarded $234,507.87, at that time the largest ever by that court.
The street where it all occurred, Lombardy Road, was renamed Poplar Road. The house was rebuilt. The Snyders moved away. They never had any more children. The sad story—which happened 70 years ago—keeps resurfacing. It won’t go away.
Town of Morningside: Chief Stevenson
Morningside’s new Chief of Police, Wesley Stevenson, will be sworn in Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building.
The regular Town Meeting will be held following the ceremony. For information call 301-736-2300.
Morningside Halloween Happenings
Halloween in Morningside begins Saturday, Oct. 30, at 6 p.m.
The Town is sponsoring a Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot, beginning at 6. If you want to participate, call the Town at 301-736-2300 to register your vehicle. A costume contest for all ages will follow. And there’ll be an outdoor showing—on the big screen—of the classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.
The event is free; refreshments will be for sale.
By the way, Morningside does not encourage door-to-door visits by the local ghosts and goblins.
Daughter Therese, her son Michael and I drove to the National Mall on Sunday, October 3, to visit artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg’s “In America: Remember,” an art installation made up of white flags, each commemorating an American who has died of Covid.
The sea of those flags was overwhelming. Visitors—many of them mourners—walked among the flags, some writing notes on the flags. We saw the artist come through the flags to change the number on the wall. When we left, it was 700,327.
The extraordinary display was dismantled on Monday.
The next day Washington National Cathedral tolled its bells, one ring for each 1,000 Covid deaths. The mournful tolling lasted more than an hour.
Neighbors & other good people
Peg Richardson emailed that Suitland HS had its 30th Class Reunion at Colony South in 1991. She, like so many of us, is saddened over the closing and the demolition of Colony South.
Father G. Paul Herbert, pastor at St. Ignatius Church, Oxon Hill, from 2004 until he retired in 2009, died at Adventist Healthcare White Oak Medical Center in September.
There was a ribbon-cutting for the bigger and better Tucker Road Ice Rink on Aug. 28. The Arctic-themed 48,860-square-foot structure pays homage to Marylander Matthew Henson, who explored the Arctic seven times. He was the great-great uncle of actress/philanthropist Taraji P. Henson, Oxon Hill HS graduate, class of 1966.
The 7-Eleven on Auth Road—which was firebombed early the morning of May 29—looks like it’s ready to reopen. At the time, the owner told a reporter that the culprits walked in like regular customers before pulling Molotov cocktails from a plastic bag and setting the building afire. Fortunately, no one was injured. I don’t know if the bombers have been identified and arrested. But the refurbished store will soon reopen.
Crab DuJour is coming soon to Woodyard Crossing in Clinton. It’s described as a Cajun Boil & Bar and offers dining-in or grab-and-go.
Does area code 202 mean anything to you? It’s meant Washington D.C. for years. Well, there’s a problem: Washington is running out of phone numbers. So, the area code for new applicants will be 771, sandwiched between 770 (in the Atlanta suburbs) and 772 (in east central Florida).
A home at 4410 Allies Road, in Morningside, just sold for $248,000.
Mary’s Covid report: Zoo cancels Halloween, Christmas
Last week I mentioned some of the big cats at the Zoo had tested “presumptive” positive for Covid. Now the Zoo reports all tigers and lions “are improving and eating.” Treatment is continuing.
However, Zoo officials have announced, due to the pandemic, they will not be holding Boo at the Zoo this October or ZooLights outdoor-light decoration event in December.
Maryland reports there’ve been 1,077 more Covid cases, bringing the total caseload to 539,053. And 21 more Maryland families are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Happy birthday to former Morningside Council Member Carol (Kline) DeGraba, Andrew Nicholas Smith and VFW’s Nola Cook, Oct. 18; Clyde Miller, Catherine Alvis, Jody Nyers and Christina Ramsey Eckloff and Mary Flood Dawes, Oct. 23.
Happy 41st anniversary to Michael and Anita (Fulton) Freeman on Oct. 18.
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By Audrey Johnson 301-922-5384
Happy Birthday to John Tyree, Camden Knight, Kaylee Davis, Madison Rae Stroman, Khia Knight, David Samuel, Ulric Thomas, Erica Barron, Denise Bouyer-Carter, Barbara Washington, Iheanyi (Junior) Mbakwe and George Taylor who are Clinton United Methodist Church members celebrating birthdays in October.
OCTOBER WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES
Congratulations to Sally and James Lucas, Jerre and Anne Kauffman who are Clinton United Methodist Church Members celebrating anniversaries in October.
OFFICE OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT
Bowie State University Office of Alumni Engagement Live at 5 Chat was with BSU Student Government President Jatiya Stewart (’23) Junior, Science Education Major. “Welcome Back to School Edition,” Jatiya shared her hopes for the BSU student body, as well as her perspective on how things are going now that students are back on campus.
WASHINGTON GAS COMPANY
Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP): federally funded through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), assists eligible customers in paying their winter heating bills. Eligibility factors include household size, total household income, heating source and type of dwelling.
To apply for MEAP, contact the following agencies and/or offices in your county; Calvert, Charles County, St. Mary’s Counties-Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc.: 800-255-5313. Frederick County-Department of Social Services: 301-600-2410. Montgomery County-Department of Health and Human Services 240-777-4450. Prince George’s County-Department of Social Services: 301-909-7000. Maryland Department of Human Services-Office of Home Energy Programs: 800-352-1446 or visit www.dhr.maryland.gov/ohep.
As an act of kindness, you can also help fellow customers who need assistance paying their gas bill through Washington Gas’ Gift of warmth Program and the Washington Area Fuel Fund. Visit www.washingtongascares.com for more information. Information from letter received to Clinton United Methodist Church members from Washington Gas DeShaundra Jones Director of Customer
BGE AN EXELON COMPANY
BGE announced partnerships with Bowie State University, Coppin State University, and Morgan State University to award scholarships to full-time STEM majors from its communities. Each school will receive grant funding of 200,000 to provide funding for $10,000 scholarships to fifteen “BGE” scholars.
THE SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (1960–61)
The Special Education Program is concerned with those children who differ physically, mentally, or emotionally to a degree that they need some kind of special service in their school program so that they may develop to their maximum educational level.
Since 1950, when 53 pupils were enrolled in Special Education, our program has been expanded to include, in 1960-61, approximately 2,580 pupils.
The various phases of the program are children who are blind, who are partial vision, who have impaired hearing, defective speech, mentally retarded and trainable, mentally retarded, and educable, who learns differently, orthopedically handicapped, confined to home or hospital, who require private special schools. Information from Public Schools of Prince George’s County 1950–1980 (Prince George’s County Retired Teachers Association Booklet).
VENTURE CAPITAL FELLOW
Marissa Curry, a Bowie State University sophomore computer science major is preparing to enter the work of venture capital as one of sixty-two students and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities selected for a fellowship from HBCUvc, an innovation firm formed to develop the next generation of venture capital leaders in communities where entrepreneurs face barriers accessing capital.
The 2021 HBCU Venture Capital Fellows will be introduced to investors and fund managers across the venture capital space as part of an intensive training program to prepare them for careers in the industry. The program provides the framework for fellows to develop knowledge of how capital is formed and distributed to increase opportunities for Black and Latinx innovators.
“I am very excited to join the HBCUvc Fellows to learn more about ‘launching and growing startup business,” says Curry who is an ELLC Fellow in the BSU Entrepreneurship Academy. “I am very interested in FINTECH, and this is an amazing opportunity to explore the related connections through venture capital.”
Curry sees this as a valuable step in her journey as an entrepreneur that started with a dog-walking business when she was in the fourth grade. She now owns a candle business called @solsticex and is continuing to sharpen her entrepreneurial skills.
The HBCUvc Fellowship program provides a culturally affirming investor curriculum that teaches investment fundamentals and creates networking opportunities to open pathways into venture capital for African American, Latinx and indigenous populations.
Curry is the second BSU student to become an HBCUvc Fellow, joining Richard Clay who was a fellow in 2019. Clay is currently an investment partner with Dorm Room Fund, a student-run venture that provides start-up capital for student businesses. MEDIA CONTACT: Cassandra Robinson, email@example.com
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