Stroll through this small, beautiful park in downtown Silver Spring and enjoy the iconic Acorn Gazebo, grotto, and beautiful shade trees. The rustic gazebo, typical of whimsical lawn structures dating from early- to mid-19th century, once adorned the grounds of Francis Preston Blair’s plantation. The grotto area which was also part of the former plantation was redesigned in the mid-1950s after the triangular plot was acquired in 1942 by the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission for parkland.
According to local history, in 1840, newspaper publisher and friend of President Andrew Jackson, Francis Preston Blair, discovered the spring for which the town was later eponymously named, bubbling up through shiny mica sand. Smitten by the site, he and his wife Eliza established a 300-acre plantation at the spring in 1842, and shortly thereafter built the Acorn Gazebo. The sentimental meaning of the acorn is that Blair proposed to his wife underneath an oak tree. In 1955, the Blair residence, located on Eastern Avenue, was demolished and the gazebo was moved to its current location in the recently established park. The Blairs’ city home, Blair House, is located across the street from the White House in Washington, D.C. and serves as the President’s official guest house.