Monday, February 6, 2023

More Than Real Estate


“If you lived here…”

I’ve become a fan of the WETA show, “If You Lived Here” which highlights homes and neighborhoods in (and adjacent to) the DC area. It’s beautifully filmed and produced but still maintains a rather goofy quality of what would happen if you and your best friend got to tour houses and make your own tv show.* 

It’s not just about homes. It’s about neighborhoods. Each episode features interviews with residents that give the history of each place as well as interesting features and amenities. The show helps you understand where the neighborhood is in relationship to other places in the DC area and never fails to mention nearby thoroughfares and highways as well as established transit lines.

Here’s the premise: 

Hosts, best friends and longtime Washingtonians Christine Louise and John Begeny tour homes and communities with local realtors, exploring the D.C. Metro region one neighborhood at a time.

In each episode they tour three homes: a starter home, a mid-priced home, and a top of the line home for the area. Using what they know, the hosts try to guess the asking price without going over. Who ever is closest “wins”. Honestly, it doesn’t matter who wins and there is no actual prize. It’s a device which provides a framework for the investigation of each neighborhood. 

It’s lighthearted and fun and nobody gets hurt.

The real point of the show is neighborhoods.

I keep hoping they’ll come to Columbia/HoCo but I don’t know if we’re close enough. They did visit Olney/Sandy Spring recently and that’s why I’m writing this post.

Season 3 Episode 4

With realtor Karen Rollings, John and Christine check out the Sandy Spring/Olney neighborhoods. Join them as they visit three properties in the area and attempt to guess the listing prices. Also, learn about the area’s Quaker and African American history and explore the country’s largest outdoor climbing park, Sandy Spring Adventure Park.

The episode does spend a good amount of time investigating Black History in Olney/Sandy Spring. I knew about the Quakers, of course, having worked for several years at Sandy Spring Friends School, but I did not know much more than that. It had never occurred to me that original Quaker settlers would have relied on the the labor of enslaved peoples. They did. But in the 1820’s most Quakers freed their slaves. 

African American men and women lived, worked, prayed, and died here long before Montgomery County was formed in 1776. Between 1790 and 1860, enslaved and free blacks comprised about one-third of the total population. Roughly one-third of county landowners held slaves, most with fewer than ten. In 1860, the enslaved comprised 30 percent of the county’s population, free blacks eight percent. The largest settlement of free blacks was Sandy Spring, where most Quakers freed their slaves and in 1822 conveyed land to them for a church. (Early African American Communities)

This rich history is something I had not known. It’s rather odd that it took a home show on Public Television to clue me in. If you’re interested in learning more, here are some useful sites for further investigation:

Early African American Communities 

Historically Black Communities of Sandy Spring 

Sandy Spring Slave Museum and Art Gallery

Now, back to Columbia/HoCo. If  John and Christine came to film their show right here, what would you want them to know? Where do you think they’d find their three houses? What scenic locations would they visit?

“If you lived here you’d know that…”

Let me know.

Village Green/Town² comments

*If you and your best friend were producers at a public television station. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.