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Cover of the Josiah Henson Special Park Master PlanJosiah Henson Special Park Master Plan

Project Update
Background
The Final Plan
The Plan Process
Media Center

Project Update

After extensive public outreach the Josiah Henson Special Park Master Plan (3MB, pdf) was approved by the Planning Board in December 2010. This project now moves to our Park Development Division which has begun the facility planning for this park . Visit the facility plan project web page for information on the progress of this project.

Background

Josiah Henson Special Park (formerly called the Riley Farm/Uncle Tom's Cabin Special Park) is a 1.43 acre Montgomery County historical cultural park located at 11420 Old Georgetown Road in N. Bethesda near the intersection of Tilden and Nicholson Lanes. The park contains a historic house and a small portion of a former large, slave-holding plantation owned by Isaac Riley. This project will prepare a Master Plan to convert the property and house into a public museum dedicated to the topic of slavery and the life of Reverend Josiah Henson, whose 1849 autobiography of slave life on the Riley plantation inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Josiah Henson Site is comprised of two adjacent properties. The first, at 11420 Old Georgetown Road, is the historically significant property purchased in 2006. It includes an 1800-1815 wood frame, two-story house and an 1850 one-story log cabin wing, both remodeled in 1936 by architect Lorenzo Winslow. It also includes a detached one-car garage that is not historically significant, several mature trees, and landscaping that primarily dates to the second half of the 20th century.

The property is designated as an individual resource on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation and is protected under local preservation law as a Historic Site where exterior and site changes require review by the Historic Preservation Commission. The property is in the process of being determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The second property, at 11410 Old Georgetown Road, was purchased in July 2009. Its house and garage were constructed in 1961 and are not historically significant. Alternatives to improve and develop the property as a historic cultural park will encompass work on both properties. For more information on this park visit the Josiah Henson Special Park web page where you will find information regarding opportunities to tour the property, additional historic background information and the Historic Structure Report (2008) for the farmhouse and cabin.

The Final Plan

Josiah Henson Special Park Master Plan (3MB, pdf)

 
Table of Contents
page#
Purpose of the Master Plan
3
The Park Today
5
  Site Description
Opportunities
Potential Constraints
Transportation and Access Issues
Regulatory Impacts
Historic Context
9
Guiding Documents
10
  Planning Board Approved Actions
Staff Documents
Plan Recommendations
11
  Plan Vision
  Interpretive Themes & Strategies
Goals and Objectives
17
 

Approved Development Option
Implementation Strategy and Preliminary Program of Requirements - 20
Offsite Transportation Infrastructure Improvements- 24

Appendices
29
 

Appendix 1 - Development Options Chart
Appendix 2 - Alternative Options
Appendix 3 - Traffic Meeting Minutes and Letter of Support

List of Figures
  Figure 1 - Process for developing the Preliminary Program of Requirements
3
  Figure 2 -Park Locator Maps
4
  Figure 3 - The Park Today
6
  Figure 4 – Reverend Josiah Henson's Journeys through Maryland, 1789-1830
8
  Figure 5 – 1863 Property Boundary of Riley Farm
9
  Figure 6 –Reverend Josiah Henson’s North American Travels, 1795-1830
10
  Figure 7 - Interpretive Themes Diagram
12
  Figure 8 - Plan Drawing for the Approved Development Option
18
  Figure 9 - Pedestrian Connections Map
25
  Figure 10 - Bike Connections Map
26
  Figure 11 - Directional and Interpretive Signage, and Parking Map
27

The Plan Process

The calendar will be updated as more community meetings and events are planned for this project. Digital copies of the Plan Concept, Meeting Notes and Planning Board Memo will be attached to its calendar event when completed.

Date | Time
Discussion Topic & Meeting Notes Location
2010
May-June
Staff development of park concept to be presented to the public. Public meeting noticing. Introductory PowerPoint (PDF, 100kb)

June 15
7– 9 pm

Public Meeting #1 - Community Kick-off meeting to identify visions and issues for the project.
PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 1.5MB)
Group Notes
(PDF, 352KB) / Meeting Summary (PDF, 1.5MB) / Vision & Issues Chart (PDF., 440KB)

Tilden Middle School
11211 Old Georgetown Road, Rockville, MD 20852-3201

Summer
Staff Draft Concept Plan development based on research and community input.

July 26
7-9pm

CANCELLED Community Meeting #2 Cancelled due to school closings related to the recent storms. This meeting was rescheduled.

Please check the Parks Calendar   for the new date and time.
RESCHEDULED Aug. 24
7-9pm
Community Meeting #2 The public will be able to review the staff response to the public input on issues and visions voiced at the first public meeting. PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 1.9MB) Meeting Notes & Handouts (PDF, 400KB) M-NCPPC Main Regional Office (MRO) 8787 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910
September 16
7:30pm
Planning Board Staff Draft Plan Review. The Staff Draft of the Master Plan for this park is available for public review and will be presented to Planning Board on this date. A copy of the memo, draft plan and appendices will be posted on the Planning Board Agenda under - item #18. PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 128KB). Watch the meeting video. M-NCPPC - Montgomery Regional Office Auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
October 28 Planning Board Public Hearing - Montgomery County Planning Board review. Item #9 to review the Public Hearing Draft(PDF, 352KB). Watch the public hearing video. M-NCPPC - Montgomery Regional Office Auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
December 2

Planning Board Work Session for the Final Park Master Plan. - A copy of the memo and attachments are posted on the Planning Board Calendar Agenda item #13, Attachment D (PDF, 306KB).. PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 2.08MB)

M-NCPPC - Montgomery Regional Office Auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

December 2, 2010 - During a final worksession the Planning Board approved and adopted the Josiah Henson Special Park Master Plan (3MB, pdf)

SPRING 2011 - This project now moves to our Park Development Division which has begun the facility planning for this park . Visit the facility planning project web page for information on the progress of this project. Contact the project manager, Eileen.Emmet@MontgomeryParks.org at 301-495-2550 with questions and comments

Media Center

Master Plan Coordinator

Rachel Newhouse, Project Coordinator
Montgomery County Department of Parks
E-mail: Rachel.Newhouser@MontgomeryParks.org
Phone: 301-650-4368

back to top - Last update: September 8, 2014