Steward Manor Power

From what I’ve heard, Steward Manor residents (along with millions of others in the DMV area) suffered a lengthy power outage as a result of severe storms this past Friday. Fortunately, power was restored late Sunday. And not a moment too soon, as the area is still coping with record high temps.

While sending best wishes for a speedy service restoration, I couldn’t help thinking back to the times when my family endured blackouts at our apartment on Bryan Court back in the 1980s. I don’t recall any lasting more than a couple of days, (or occurring frequently) but they were always massively frustrating—especially during these hot summer days.

Oddly enough, what I associate most with those outages is actually one of the smallest of architectural details—a functional tool that most of us who’ve moved on from Steward Manor have probably long forgotten about: the push-button light switches.

(Photo: Rodney Pressley)

It’s a device I’ve yet to see in any other apartment, house, or place of business since Steward Manor—in any part of the country. They were in place when James Smart was living on Sharon Court as a kid in the early 1960s, and many of them are still in use throughout the complex today.

I can recall pressing those buttons often during blackouts, hoping that—as if by magic—the lights would come back on. At least once, they actually did.


About Richard Friend

I'm a graphic designer and creator of "Lost Laurel"—a collection of photos and print ephemera chronicling the countless stores, restaurants, and other long-lost merchants of Laurel, Maryland. I'm interesting in hearing from any former/current residents, especially those with vintage photos, literature, and recollections of the community.
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