The Bridges of Washington County Wins Best Marketing on a Shoe-String Budget Award

Photos attached: John Fieseler (on the left) of the Tourism Council of Frederick County helped present the award to the staff of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Jolene Thomas and Betsy De Vore are holding the award, Tom Riford of the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB is on the far right.

Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Takes Marketing Award at the 2008 Maryland Governor's Tourism Industry Conference
"The Bridges of Washington County" Wins Best Marketing on a Shoe-String Budget Award

(Hagerstown, MD)- At the 28th Annual Maryland Governor's Tourism Industry Conference on November 11, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau won one of the eight state-wide awards in the Maryland Tourism Council's marketing awards: the Best Shoe-String Budget Award. The annual awards program recognizes the most creative, innovative, and thoughtful marketing projects and programs that bring visitors to Maryland.
This year's winners were announced during the Annual Awards Banquet at the conference, which was held at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Prince George's County.
"The award is most welcome, because the bridge brochure project was a labor of love for the CVB," said president and CEO Tom Riford. "The Bridges of Washington County brochure showcases the nearly two dozen historic stone arch structures that span the Conococheague Creek and the Antietam Creek and its tributaries. Washington County is unique in the State of Maryland, because nowhere else are there so many early to mid 19th-century limestone arch bridges, along with several stone arch aqueducts along the C&O Canal."
The brochure was recently updated for the CVB's web site: www.marylandmemories.com, or go directly to the new historic bridges online brochure: bridges.marylandmemories.org.
The colorful, eye-catching, fold-out brochure was created on a shoestring budget, and includes photos and a history of each bridge, maps of Washington County and each bridge's location, and available amenities. The brochure is frequently used in lectures and historic talks. Immediately after the first printing was distributed, the Visitor Welcome Center began receiving requests for the brochure from across the United States.
The information on the website and in the brochure was reviewed for accuracy by the Washington County Historical Society, local historian Patricia Schooley, Washington County Special Projects Director Gary Rohrer, historians from the Western Maryland Room at the Washington County Free Library including John Frey, CVB Historian Roger Keller, Washington County Historical Society Executive Director, Jim Neville and others.
"This award is shared by a lot of people," said Riford. "The original concept for the brochure came from Katherine Campbell Francomano of DoubleDog Productions. The design for the brochure and the website was done by Icon Graphics. Both the website and brochure feature current photographs of each bridge done by Francomano, an accurate background of each bridge, as well as a few historical photographs, and two maps showing the location of each bridge."
Because the brochure was so popular, Riford said a new printing of the historic bridges brochure is underway, and the new brochure includes additional information and photos. Also, Washington County's "Legacies in Stone" have been featured in news articles, including an October 16th article in the Alexandria Times written by Jeanne Theismann.
"The new brochure is so successful that it spawned a new influx of visitors. People are now touring Washington County, following the brochure's maps, and seeing the unique historic stone arch bridges. Burnside Bridge, Prices Ford Bridge, the venerable Wilson Bridge, Antietam Creek's Aqueduct, and almost two dozen other legacies in stone are being discovered by travelers. Visitors are relishing the unique attractions - all made possible by this brochure and its companion web site," said Riford.
"From arguably the most famous of all of the stone arch bridges in North America, the Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek, to several lesser-known structures including the picturesque Leitersburg Bridge Number 2, these stone structures are an important part of Washington County's history, and important in the history of Maryland," said Riford. The famous Burnside Bridge was a focal point and site of horrific fighting, during the Civil War's Battle of Antietam (Sep. 17, 1862).
For more information about the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit www.marylandmemories.com. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is a member of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Washington County has 5 national parks, 8 state parks, over 30 county or city parks, more than 30 museums, rated first in the State of Maryland in Retail Opportunities, and has more than 21 historic stone arch bridges.
2009 will include the 150th Anniversary of John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry. John Brown and his "provisional army" staged the raid from Washington County, Maryland. The multi-state and multi-county effort includes seminars, concerts, reenactments and tours. For more information, see: www.johnbrownraid.org.