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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
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Cultural Heritage

Our staff of architectural historians, archaeologists, cultural heritage specialists, and historians are dedicated to preserving and interpreting historical resources for current and future generations. Among these resources are buildings, archaeological sites (places with material remains of human behavior), cemeteries, and other culturally significant places. The Cultural Resources Stewardship section also includes the new Untold Stories program, dedicated to promoting marginalized histories and engaging with those communities.

Our stewardship efforts include:

  • inventory, documentation, and prioritization of cultural resources
  • in-depth analysis of cultural resources using current best practices
  • archaeological research and analysis, report writing, public interpretation
  • preparation of historic structures reports, coordinating implementation of treatment plans
  • management of cemeteries on Parkland
  • preparation of Operational Use Plans for Cultural Resource sites
  • development and installation of interpretive signage
  • education and outreach efforts – including interpretive programming, Untold Stories, and archaeology camps

Current Preservation Projects

  • Brainard Warner House – Montgomery Parks has entered into an agreement to transfer the historic Circle Manor and Carriage House at Warner Circle Park to Washington Landmark Construction (WLC) to develop residential condominiums. The company has extensive experience rehabilitating historic structures for residential use, including successful projects at the historic National Park Seminary. The Historic Preservation Commission on January 10, 2024 approved the proposed work as described in the Historic Area Work Permit. WLC is now working to complete the design documents and obtain all necessary permits. The developer, WLC, completed a detailed archaeological survey and geotechnical investigation on the grounds. Montgomery Parks, Montgomery County, and WLC will finalize the sale of the buildings after the design has been completed and the necessary approvals have been obtained.
  • 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. The Department of Parks has initiated a facility planning process to identify the best possible uses of Jesup Blair Park, with an end goal to plan an inspiring and engaging “park for all” – including spaces for relaxation, enjoyment of nature, social connection, and active recreation. As part of an ongoing facility plan effort, Parks is studying options for the historic house’s reuse that will activate the building to serve a diversity of populations, generations, interests, and abilities. Facility Plan webpage
  • Darby House – This Colonial Revival house located in the Beallsville Historic District was built in 1921 by H.C. Darby for his family. The Department of Parks is completing the house’s rehabilitation, after which it will be used as a rental property.
  • Zeigler Log House – 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 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 Department of Parks has recently completed a conditions assessment of the house to address structural problems with the log section and roof. Next phases of the project will implement structural repairs and address the deterioration of historic fabric to prepare the house for reuse.

Completed Projects

  • 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 provides classroom space for the Locust Grove Nature Center.
  • Brewer Farm – The Brewer Farm 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 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.
  • 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. An archaeological investigation conducted in 2009 and 2010 provided additional understanding of the site. The award-wining 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.
  • Josiah Henson Museum and Park – The Josiah Henson Museum and 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
  • 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 was closed for many years, was rehabilitated in 2017 – 18 as a Park activity building and received a historic preservation award for this effort.
  • 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. Hikers and equestrians are welcome to stop by anytime to learn more about the area’s agricultural and equestrian heritage.
  • 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. In 2019, Montgomery Parks inhouse professional staff completed the rehabilitation of the historic store and constructed a new kitchen wing.  This project has also been the recipient of the Montgomery County Executive’s Award for Historic Preservation (2020).
  • Woodlawn Stone Barn Visitor Center Project – The Woodlawn Stone 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 museum 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 museum and visitor center are now open to the public. For more information, visit the Woodlawn Museum web page.