Woodlawn Visitor Center

Visit the Woodlawn Visitor Center’s stone barn exhibits where echoes of the past 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 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, pay tribute to the Quakers and Underground Railroad experience in Montgomery County.

Events & Programs

Ongoing Programs

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 301-929-5989.

Guided Hikes

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.

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, please contact the Park Permits office for reservations – 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 Updated: September 23, 2016