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Woodlawn Visitor Center – Completed Project Page

Division: Park Planning and Stewardship

This project is now complete. The Woodlawn Visitor Center is now open to the public, please visit soon!


This project will rehabilitate the existing historic stone bank barn and adjacent carriage house for public use as a visitor center. The buildings are located at Woodlawn Cultural Special Park, a designated County historic site located at 16501 Norwood Road, at the intersection of Norwood and Ednor Roads in Sandy Spring. Visitor Center exhibits will focus on themes of the Underground Railroad, the Quaker Experience in Montgomery County, and the barn as a feature of the County’s agricultural landscape. The project has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland, the Maryland-State Highway Administration which provided funding for Intercounty Connector Stewardship Projects, and state bond bills from the Maryland General Assembly.


The three-story stone bank barn, circa 1832, is a significant feature in the 105-acre environmental setting. The Carriage House dates to the late 19th century. Both buildings share the park property with the 1815 Manor House, a Montgomery County police facility and the Park Police Kristin M. Pataki Special Operations Training Facility. The barn possesses high artistic value and was selected for the elite Historic American Building Survey by the Department of the Interior in the 1930’s. The barn is also eligible for listing on the national register of the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. The 1998 Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan identifies a Rural Legacy Area south of Route 108 as one of the most historic in Montgomery County and places special emphasis on protection and preservation of rural traditions. The property is within the Montgomery County Quaker and Underground Railroad Heritage Cluster, part of the State Certified Heritage Area.

The approved Montgomery County Heritage Area Management Plan of November 2002 states that the rehabilitation and conversion of the Woodlawn barn into an interpretive center devoted to the Underground Railroad could provide a strong and memorable introduction to this heritage area theme. The 2006 From Artifact to Attraction: A Strategic Plan for Cultural Resources in Parks identifies the adaptive reuse of the Woodlawn Stone Barn to an interpretive center as one of the top 20 priority projects for cultural resources in the park system. A feasibility study and development plan for the design of the visitor center was approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on June 5, 2003 and a short-term structural stabilization and installation of a fire suppression and alarm system was completed in 2006. This project was approved and funded for detailed design and construction by the Montgomery County Council.

The main attraction of the visitor center will be multi-media exhibit environments throughout the barn. Images, sounds, and stories are expected to be projected across interior walls and spaces to create a unique experience for visitors while also enhancing the structural, spatial, and historic integrity of the barn’s upper levels. The adjacent Carriage House will have visitor orientation information and restrooms, and will be the starting location for the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, an existing park feature.

Status/Project Update

Miche Booz Architect of Brookeville, Maryland is the lead design consultant for the project. Among several sub-consultants on the project team, Howard+Revis Design of Washington, D.C. has provided the interpretive program exhibit design.

The rehabilitation of the Stone Barn, Carriage House, and sitework started in March 2014. The work, by Garcete Construction Company, Inc., was substantially complete in November 2015. Punch List work is currently underway.

The companion project that fabricated and installed exhibits and produced the unique audio visual programs inside the barn started in September 2014 and was completed in December 2015. The work was provided by Capitol Museum Services, Inc. and Boston Productions, Inc.

The County Council toured the building in November. Click here to view a short video of their tour:

The facility is closed for the winter. A full public opening is scheduled to be held at the Visitor Center on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Times of activities during the day are TBD.

  • For more information about the 2003 approved project, click here, then refer to Item 7.
  • For more information about cultural resources in the Montgomery County Parks system, refer to the web site of the Cultural Resources Stewardship Section in the Park Planning and Stewardship Division:


Links to available project information will be posted on each applicable calendar event as it is completed.

February 2010 Initiate Design Phase
June 11 – August 15, 2010 Woodlawn Visitor Center Online Survey (CLOSED)
June 26 & 27, 2010
Noon – 4:00pm
Montgomery County Heritage Days – Project Update
An open house display of design and interpretive program project materials
Click here to view Project Update Presentation Materials
Learn more information about Heritage Days 2010
Woodlawn Manor Special Park
16501 Norwood Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860
June 2011 35% development
December 7, 2011 Historic Preservation Commission Hearing
Preliminary consultation on 65% design documents
View the public notification
Read the transcript
Montgomery Regional Office
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
February 2012 65% Interpretive Program development
August 15, 2012 Historic Preservation Commission Hearing
Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) Application
– Read the agenda
– Read the staff report
Montgomery Regional Office
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
October 2012 Read the Interpretive Program overview
Fall 2012 Obtain building permits
Spring/Fall 2013 Prepare bid documents and advertise construction
Spring 2014 – Fall 2015 Construction Phase
– Rehabilitation of buildings and site
– Production and installation of exhibits
June 11, 2016
Noon to 4:00pm
Public Opening – Dedication ceremony from Noon to 2:00pm
– Project data sheet
– Acknowledgements
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
Historic Barn
16501 Norwood Rd.
Sandy Spring, MD 20860


M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Eileen Emmet, Project Manager
(301) 495-2550

Last Updated: April 3, 2019