“Meet Olive Wetzel Dennis, The Lady Engineer”

Olive W. Dennis was the first woman civil engineer on the B&O Railroad and in American railroading. Her contributions to the improvement of passenger service won her the unofficial title of “the woman who took the pain out of the train.” At a time and in an industry that could barely conceive of a woman doing a man’s work, this remarkable woman prevailed and left an indelible mark. In our presentation, we will meet Olive Dennis and remember her railroad legacy through the inventions, creative designs, work ethic, and the talent that made her ‘The Lady Engineer’ of the B&O Railroad.

Sharon Beischer Harwood is a graduate of Goucher College and a retired principal/administrator from the Montgomery County Public School System. The daughter and grand-daughter of railroaders, Mrs. Harwood lectures locally on topics related to the B&ORR – with special consideration of the lesser-known contributions of women to railroading. She is the wife of Herbert H. Harwood, noted rail historian and author.

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