The Making of a Pearl

pearl in oyster shell

pearl in shell

The pearl. One of nature’s most beautiful wonders. These sought-after “gems” are made when—not a grain of sand as has been poetically stated—a parasite enters an oyster. In its defense, the oyster coats it with a fluid. Layer upon layer of this “nacre” are deposited—forming a lustrous pearl.

An oyster take three years to mature. Once an irritant is introduced, it is probably another three until that pearl is fully formed to size and thickness.

The Herald-Mail this week reported on the perception of Hagerstown: how the image of the place as “unsafe” persists when the facts say otherwise. Other recent articles have examined business development, the community approach, and the Main Street initiative as all contributors to Hagerstown’s renewal.

“Hub City”—Hagerstown, Maryland—home to the most important commercial, industrial, and transportation companies in the entire Tri-State region—is also home to, along with close-by Smithsburg, Williamsport, and Boonsboro, close to 300,000 people and is the fastest growing metropolitan area in Maryland, and among the fastest growing in the United States. This growth factor means that there are abundant older, modest neighborhoods near the city center, as well as new construction single-family homes and townhouse communities emerging in expanding areas in every compass direction. It’s also a “hub” for travel to tourist and vacation home areas of the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle, as well as the recreational meccas of the Maryland Highlands. Today, “X” marks the “hub” at the intersection of interstate Routes I-70, east-west, and I-81, north-south, making Hagerstown convenient to just about anywhere.

Hagerstown and the surrounding area are rich with history and historical sites. Some of the most important battles of the American Civil War and French and Indian War were fought within what is now a half-hour car ride from the city. Historical and recreational parks, as well as the arts and education are important to residents and tourists alike. Among the most popular are Hagerstown City Park, home to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, and Maryland Theater. There are also more than two-dozen public and private schools, colleges and universities.

Just as a pearl takes years to develop with layer upon layer of protective coating being applied, Hagerstown is rising from a mostly unfounded reputation. The 2015 Niche survey shows it to be the 4th most appealing city in Maryland for Milllenials (those born 1982-2000)(Frederick took top spot in that survey). Having lived here all my life, I would say we’ve had our ups and downs, but Hagerstown offers the best of many worlds and I’m happy to be able to work with individuals and families who are making this dynamic city of Hagerstown their home.