1963 was a big year for Perry Hall. Not only did the fast-growing community celebrate the opening of its new high school, but civic leaders dedicated a new library—and all within one week's time.
Neither, of course, remain at an original location. The high school opened on September 3, 1963, at what is now Perry Hall Middle School. Five years later, a new campus opened a mile down Ebenezer Road, and the original building became Perry Hall Junior High School. For many years, Perry Hall was somewhat unique in that students simply walked further down Ebenezer Road as they became older: from Perry Hall Elementary to Middle School, and from Middle to High School.
The library opened five days later, on September 8, 1963. Prominent elected officials attended the opening, including then-Congressman Clarence Long and former County Executive Spiro Agnew. Many residents have fond memories of this branch, especially those of my age who attended children's programs in the basement. Over the years, however, it became obvious that the building needed to be expanded or replaced. It was not accessible to the disabled, and it was simply too small for the growing community.
When I became President of the Perry Hall Improvement Association in 1999, we made it a priority to get a new branch built. The PHIA strongly supported keeping the branch at its Belair Road location, but that would have required buying the property (it was leased from a nearby family) and acquiring an adjacent parcel. When that did not work out, the county relocated the library to its current site on Honeygo Boulevard in 2009. Because the Perry Hall Improvement Association negotiated a covenant agreement with the owner of the "old" site, that location has retained its residential characteristics.
I am proud of both Perry Hall High School and the Perry Hall library. Both are essential parts of our community. I hope you will lend a hand to the Perry Hall High School 50th anniversary efforts and also support our library's ongoing good work.