St. Mary’s Community Development Corporation has completed its Lexington Park history in three panels, told through the stories of the building and the razing of two communities: Lexington Manor and Carver Heights.
With the support of a Southern Maryland Heritage Area grant and interns from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the CDC built on oral histories collected from former residents of Lexington Manor — colloquially known as the Flattops — and Carver Heights.
“We offered visitors to the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival a chance to show us where they had lived and the response was so huge we wanted to more permanently tell the story of these neighborhoods,” said Roz Racanello, arts manager for St. Mary’s CDC.
Carver Heights remains a vibrant neighborhood in Lexington Park, but the Flattops were razed in 2007. Still, an informal collection of past neighbors’ memories of the communities was sufficient to launch a CDC-backed project to commemorate the neighborhood histories and the memories and town they created. The CDC had the additional resource of an oral history collected from the last residents of the neighborhood at the time St. Mary’s County was preparing to tear down the deteriorating neighborhood, by noted anthropologist Julia King, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Professor of Anthropology.
In collaboration with the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, the panels became the centerpiece of a new art exhibit in Building B. The full exhibit includes aerial photographs of different decades of development along Route 235, stretching from Gate 3 of the Naval Air Station Patuxent River northward to St. Mary’s County Regional Airport — a segment of St. Mary’s County containing about 40 percent of its population and the region’s major employer, NAS Pax River.
Exhibit visitors will have the opportunity to help identify the buildings shown in the aerial photographs, to help date the maps and present a more complete timeline of Lexington Park’s growth.
For more about Lexington Park, visit the St. Mary’s County Community Development Corporation’s Leader member page.
46940 South Shangri-La Drive, Suite 7, Lexington Park, MD 20653; 301-863-7700