Montgomery County Planning Department Will Hold Public Bike Tour on November 10 to Highlight Victorian Architecture of Four Historic Districts

October 25, 2018

Tour will feature Victorian-era houses and historic structures in Kensington, Forest Glen, Capitol View Park and National Park Seminary Historic Districts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is sponsoring a 6-mile bike tour of the Kensington, Forest Glen, Capitol View Park and National Park Seminary Historic Districts on Saturday, November 10, 2018. The tour will start at 10 a.m. at Warner Circle Park (10231 Carroll Place, Kensington, MD) and return to that location around 12 noon. Staff from Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office will discuss the history of the districts and buildings encountered along the bike route.

The majority of the loop is a low-stress route, but some sections consist of hilly terrain.

All attendees must RSVP online to reserve a spot and sign a waiver to participate in the bike ride.

The bike tour includes several stops that will highlight the architectural character of these four historic districts:

Kensington Historic District

This turn-of-the-last-century garden suburb began as a railroad stop and grew to encompass Victorian residences, curving streets and a vital commercial center. Tour highlights will include:

  • Warner Circle Park, originally the site of developer Brainard Warner’s summer residence, and now featuring a Queen Anne house from the 1890s and a carriage house from 1914.
  • Noyes Library for children, the oldest library in Montgomery County.
  • Queen Anne, Shingle and Colonial Revival houses from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Forest Glen Historic District

Established in 1887, the Forest Glen subdivision was conceived as a “healthy, well located and easily accessible suburban village,” according to a promotional brochure, with a summer hotel and a streetcar line. Tour highlights will include:

  • Our Lady, Queen of Poland Church, a Gothic Revival sandstone structure that began as St. John’s Church on a site where the first secular church was built in the American colonies. The adjacent cemetery has gravestones dating to the 1790s.
  • Queen Anne and Stick Style homes dating from the 1890s.

Capitol View Park Historic District

This railroad community began with a subdivision in 1887. Its name came from the view of the United States Capitol dome from the upper stories of some of the houses. Tour highlights will include:

  • The Castle, which began as a general store and post office in 1883 and was expanded to serve as an early shopping center.

National Park Seminary Historic District

Development in this area began with the Forest Inn hotel, which opened in 1887 and later converted into a boarding school. During World War II, the US Army acquired the site for a convalescent center and, in the 1970s, relocated its facility to the Walter Reed campus in Washington, DC. The seminary site was sold by the federal government to a private developer who converted the property into its current residential uses. Tour highlights will include:

  • Sorority houses and school buildings resembling a Japanese pagoda, a Swiss chalet, a Dutch windmill and other structures inspired by the international architecture of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.