|

Culture & Heritage

Our staff of historians and archaeologists are dedicated to preserving and interpreting historical resources for current and future generations. Among these resources are buildings, archaeological sites (like cemeteries and ruins), and other culturally significant objects.

Our preservation efforts include:

  • inventory, documentation and prioritization of cultural resources
  • in-depth analysis of cultural resources using current best practices
  • determining future use
  • preparation of historic structures reports, coordinating implementation of treatment plans
  • preparation of Operational Use Plans for Cultural Resource sites
  • education and outreach efforts – including interpretive programming and archaeology camps

Projects

In Progress

  • Jesup Blair House – This house, originally known as “The Moorings,” was constructed in 1850 by John and Mary Blair and remained in the family until the mid-1930s when it was bequeathed to the State in memory of Jesup Blair. At that time, it was converted to a public library, and later served other functions. Several years ago, Montgomery Parks, in conjunction with the Silver Spring Historical Society, began advocating to rehabilitate the building. County funding currently supports a stabilization project.
  • Josiah Henson Park – The Josiah Henson Park, located in North Bethesda along Old Georgetown Road, is a historic resource of local, state, national and international significance because of its association with Reverend Josiah Henson, whose 1849 autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Information about guided tours is available here.Montgomery Parks intends to convert the site and historic building to a historic/cultural park. The house museum will contain an interpretive program to honor Henson. Planning and fundraising for this effort began in 2010 when the Josiah Henson Park Master Plan for the site was approved and adopted by the Planning Board on December 2, 2010. In 2013, the Montgomery County Planning Board approved the Facility Plan for museum and park. For more information, visit the project web page.
  • Kensington Brainard Warner House – Montgomery Parks has been working closely for several years with the Town of Kensington to develop plans for the Brainard Warner House. The Planning Board approved the 35% Schematic Design for the house and 15% Design Concept for the grounds in September 2011. That design calls for the rehabilitation of the house for office use. However, other possible uses are also being considered. State Bond Bills provided funding to demolish the non-contributing 1960s wings (2013) and construct walls where the wings were removed (2014). In 2016, the collapsing front porch will be repaired and reopened. For more information, visit the project web page.
  • Kensington Cabin – Kensington Cabin is the oldest remaining log structure built by M-NCPPC in Montgomery County and is unique in its “log cabin revival” style of construction. Built in 1934, it is a surviving example of “parkitecture” design championed by the National Park Service during the Great Depression and found at parks nationwide. The cabin, which has been closed for many years, is scheduled for rehabilitation beginning in 2016. Upon completion, it will be available for rentals through the Parks Permitting system as a Park Activity Building.
  • Seneca Store (formerly Poole’s Store) – Since 1901, proprietors have operated Seneca Store as a general store from this building. For more than 40 years, the Poole family provided a convenient supply of feed and specialized goods and services to local equestrian, hunting and farming communities in the Poolesville area until the family closed the store at the end of 2010.Montgomery Parks will be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new tenant once the rehabilitation of the building and site is completed. For more information, visit the project web page.

On the Horizon

  • Acorn Park – The Silver Spring, for which the town is named, is located in Acorn Park in the South Silver Spring neighborhood. This historic site has experienced erosion that has obscured elements of the historic site, making enjoyment of the park difficult. Montgomery Parks is designing repairs that will prevent future run-off from affecting this important resource and will make the park more attractive to potential users. For more information, visit the Acorn Park web page.
  • Zeigler Log House Rehabilitation & Interpretation – The Zeigler House is a log and frame structure that was the home of David A. Zeigler, a miller and farmer of 300 acres. The house was built in two campaigns. The rear section, constructed of logs in 1823, is the earliest part of the house. The Greek Revival/Italianate front section dates from the mid-19th century. The family’s saw and bone mill once stood at the bottom of the nearby hill on Prescott Road. Zeigler and his wife Eleanor Hyatt married in 1835 and raised ten children in the house. In an 1850 census, Zeigler was also listed as an ‘innkeeper.’ The property also contains a frame bank barn and a concrete-block dairy barn.

Completed

  • Armstrong Cabin – This cabin, originally located in an isolated woods off Montrose Road, was moved next to the Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center (Cabin John) in 2011. It was designed and built in the early 1930s by Dr. Charles Armstrong, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Public Health Service, as a weekend retreat for his family. The preservation of the cabin, completed by Parks in house staff, provides much needed classroom space for the Locust Grove Nature Center.
  • Brewer Farm – The Brewer Farm, located on Route 28 east of Beallsville, originally consisted of 18 structures built between c. 1850 and 1942. Today, only a stone dwelling, a stone springhouse, a frame three-vehicle garage, and a frame agricultural building remain. They were rehabilitated to support park functions at Woodstock Equestrian Park. Interpretive signage provides onsite historical information.
  • Bussard Farmhouse Kitchen – Located at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, the Bussard Farmhouse dates to the mid-19th century. In 1878, the Bussard family acquired the property which had been farmed for more than 100 years, and later, in 1908, extensively remodeled the farmhouse. They continued to live there into the 1960s when they sold the property to serve as a park. In 2014 the farmhouse kitchen was rehabilitated to represent the 1940s era, recreating some of the elements found in Bussard family photographs.The kitchen is now available for public programs complete with a working stove and refrigerator from that period. For more information on special events, visit the Agricultural History Farm Park page.
  • Darby Store – One of the few remaining early 20th century country stores in Montgomery County, the Darby Store was built in 1910 and operated by the Darby family for over 50 years. The store served the surrounding community by selling a variety of dry goods, feed, and groceries. Ledgers and artifacts retrieved from the building reveal its history over time. An archaeological investigation conducted in 2009 and 2010 provided additional understanding of the site.The rehabilitation of the store took place between 2008 and 2015. It involved moving the store back from the intersection, rebuilding the missing front porch, installing plumbing and modern HVAC systems, and completely refurbishing the interior and exterior. The commercial space on the first floor features the restored original counters and shelf-lined walls, and a new tin ceiling. For more historic details and videos about this historical gem, visit the Darby Store web page.
  • Kingsley Schoolhouse – This one-room schoolhouse has been rehabilitated to its 1893-mid 1920s appearance. Rehabilitation included constructing new windows to match the originals, refinishing the interior walls and floor, reconstruction of interior closets, installation of the bell in the tower, painting, and adding shutters to secure the building (not an original feature). The project also included furnishing the school to aid in its interpretation. Since the summer of 2012, Kingsley Schoolhouse is host to free guided tours, thanks to dedicated Parks’ volunteers.
  • Meadowbrook Stables – Located within the Meadowbrook Local Park in Chevy Chase, MD, Meadowbrook Stables was hailed as one of the finest saddle clubs in the East when it opened in 1934. The facility hosted local, national, and international horse shows and festivities. The large Colonial Revival horse barn is notable for the quality of its design and construction.Work to rehabilitate the stable which has been in continuous use since its construction included installation of a sprinkler system; upgrades to the structural, electrical, and plumbing systems; repair of siding, roof, windows, and doors; and painting.
  • Seneca Stone Barn Stabilization – Montgomery Parks completed the stabilization of this historic structure located in Woodstock Equestrian Park in the summer of 2009. This project received the 2010 Montgomery County Executive’s Award for Historic Preservation.The barn features interpretive signs and is open to the public on special occasions only. Check the Parks Events Calendar for dates. Hikers and equestrians are welcome to stop by anytime to learn more about the area’s agricultural and equestrian heritage. For more information about the stabilization process, visit the project web page.
  • Woodlawn Stone Barn Visitor Center Project – The Woodlawn Barn was constructed in 1832 by master stonemason Isaac Holland for Dr. William Palmer who moved into the neighboring brick manor house ten years earlier when he purchased the farm. The stone construction of the barn is reminiscent of Sweitzer barns found in Chester County, Pennsylvania where Palmer was raised. In this multistoried structure, the lower level of the barn accommodated livestock, while grains and hay were processed and stored on the upper levels.The Woodlawn Stone Barn has been converted into a visitor center which focuses on slavery, Quakers, and the Underground Railroad as they pertain to Montgomery County history. The neighboring carriage house serves as the welcome area for visitors, with a gift shop and restrooms. This two-year construction project was made possible through Inter-County Connector mitigation funding. The visitor center will open to the public in Spring 2016. For more information, visit the project web page.

Friends & Alliances

  • Friends of Oakley Cabin and the Underground Railroad
  • Friends of Little Bennett Park
  • Friends of the Agricultural History Farm Park
  • Heritage Montgomery
  • Montgomery County Historical Society
  • Montgomery Preservation, Inc.
  • Montgomery Parks Foundation
Last Updated: September 7, 2016