Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content
menu

Woodlawn Visitor Center at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

The Woodlawn Visitor Center
16501 Norwood Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860
General Information & Education Programs: 301-650-4373
Hours of Operation: The trail and grounds are open year-round, sunrise to sunset. Ongoing programs April through the first Saturday in November.
EVENTS & PROGRAMS | HISTORY

This Federal-era Manor House in Sandy Spring, MD contains richly restored furnishings along with a quiet bucolic setting. The Woodlawn Manor has five uniquely designed rooms that are perfect for small meetings or intimate social affairs. The manor sits on several acres of land that include a unique stone barn, five original outbuildings and several champion trees. The manor house is one of four park-owned special event centers that are available for hosting your next business or social gathering. To make a reservation, contact Melissa.Bonds@MontgomeryParks.org or call 301-774-1900.

Events & Programs

SPECIAL EVENTS | ONGOING PROGRAMS

Special Events

Woodlawn Visitor Center Grand Opening
Saturday, June 11 - Noon to 4:00 pm | FREE | Dedication Ceremony - Noon to 1:00 pm

Washington Revels Jubilee Voices photoWoodlawn Visitor Center grand opening imageSomething old, something new . . .
Montgomery Parks is excited to open this historic gem to the public. Explore the Stone Barn exhibits where echoes of the past will tell the story of a bustling farm, its community, and those who made a bold bid for freedom on the Underground Railroad. Learn about Woodlawn’s earliest residents and their neighbors.

The celebration will include, living history demonstrations, tours, activities for children, food, live music and a special performance featuring the extraordinary music of the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices (pictured at right). The Washington Revels Jubilee Voices ensemble is committed to the preservation of African American history and traditions – presenting songs and stories of struggle and perseverance, trials and triumphs, as expressed through a cappella music, drama and dance. - Woodlawn Visitor Center event poster (PDF, 101KB)

County Council Tour of Woodlawn Stone Barn Visitor Center. Opening June 2016The Sandy Spring area has strong historical ties to Underground Railroad activity. The exhibits inside the buildings, including a unique audiovisual program projected on the interior stone walls of the stone barn, will pay tribute to the Quakers and Underground Railroad experience in Montgomery County.

R work was completed on the stone barn and carriage house in November 2015. For more information about park development projects, visit ParkProjects.org or call 301-495-2595. Right: Video link - County Council pre-tour of the new visitor center

Ongoing Programs

New! School Fieldtrips & Group Tours

School Fieldtrips & Group Tours
Parks is now offering a new fieldtrip experience, "World of Young Benjamin Palmer" for students grades 3rd - 5th with hands-on activities that explore the world of Woodlawn's early residents during the mid-1800s. Parks also offers guided hikes along the Underground Railroad Experience Trail for students grades 4th and up, as well as adult groups. Register online or call 301-650-4373.

Underground Railroad Experience Trail Guided & Self-Guided Hikes

Guided Hikes
NEW! After May 14, 2016 registration is required at ActiveMontgomery.org| Saturdays through the first Saturday in November | 10:00 am | 9:00 am during July and August

The Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park commemorates the involvement of Montgomery County residents in the Underground Railroad and celebrates the Quaker heritage and traditions of Sandy Spring. Part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, this fascinating outdoor hike will lead your group on a simulated Underground Railroad Experience that will showcase the techniques enslaved freedom seekers used and the hardships they faced on the road to freedom. Guided hikes, provided by trained "conductors" last about 2.5 hours. Please check the Parks events calendar for special programs and current hike updates.

Self-guided Hikes
Free self-guided hikes are also available along the Underground Railroad Experience Trail year-round from dawn to dusk. Download a trail map and enjoy a lovely hike through history. Groups of 25 or more, need to make arrangements with the Park Permits office - email at mcp-parkpermits@mncppc-mc.org or call 301-495-2525

History

One of Montgomery County’s most admired historic properties, the Woodlawn Manor was constructed in the 1800s by either Richard Thomas or his son, Samuel Thomas, Jr. According to tradition, Samuel and his wife, Anna operated a Quaker boarding school at Woodlawn. Dr. William Palmer, the founder of the Montgomery Mutual Fire Insurance Company, purchased the estate in 1825.

The symmetrical front façade of the five-bay federal style house features Flemish bond brick and a fanlight transom over the central entrance. Palmer expanded the house with a kitchen wing. His son, Benjamin Palmer, added the northwest wing in 1881.

In 1832, master stonemason Isaac Holland built an exceptional three-story stone bank barn with four large round-arched openings on the basement level. The property also includes a combination dairy and smokehouse of stone, a log house, and a board and batten tenant house.

Grounds feature significant mature trees, including an Osage Orange with an 11-foot trunk circumference, 100-foot high American Linden tree and a 1999 County Champion Norway Spruce.

Last update: May 16, 2016