Searching for Lost Cemeteries
Montgomery Planning maintains the Montgomery County Burial Sites Inventory, a listing of over 300 cemeteries and burial sites around the county dating from before the arrival of Europeans in Maryland to burial grounds still in use today. However, there are 80 burial sites in the inventory that are no longer visible, and historical records only tell us approximately where they were. This may be because the graves were never marked, or the markers have been moved or have deteriorated. We are looking for these lost burial grounds, and we hope to get some help from modern technology – ground penetrating radar (GPR) – to recover this part of the county’s hidden past.
What is GPR? … Continue reading
By James Hedrick, Commissioner, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Montgomery Parks Summer Adventure Challenge with Kids
I don’t know anything about parks.
I’m a Commissioner on the Montgomery County side of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and I really don’t know anything about parks.
My background is in affordable housing and development – the planning side of the Commission. Most of what I know about parks is limited to about a decade of taking my kids to parks hoping that they will wear themselves out before bedtime.
Given my need to expand my knowledge of Montgomery County’s parks system, the Commission’s August recess offered a good opportunity to become more familiar with at least … Continue reading
You don’t need to be a novelist to tell a great story; you don’t even have to be a great writer. Storytelling through architectural rendering is a centuries-old way of expressing the relationship between design and the construction of buildings in the world around us. Architectural renderings can also give context to our cultural understanding of places and can inspire visions of those places and our society into the future.
Several groups of graduate students at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation set out to tell an architectural design story to reimagine downtown Silver Spring. Professors Matt Bell and Georgianne Matthews guided students in the Graduate Urban Design Studio this past fall as they studied … Continue reading
Lessons learned from Portugal
This past May, I had the pleasure of traveling through Portugal on a greatly anticipated summer, post-COVID trip. What a beautiful country and what a perfect example of concentrated, walkable mixed-use communities, which are found in all its small, medium and larger cities and towns. Portugal, as well as a large portion of Europe shows us impressive examples of how to save energy and resources through the concentration of buildings and then connects those communities with simple, easy to use transit systems consisting of trains, trams, buses, cars, bikes, carts and scooters. It is walkable concentrated development linked by multimodal transportation at its best! I strongly suggest you visit Portugal if you can. The urbanism, … Continue reading
Montgomery County’s first AAPI Heritage Project is examining the history of AAPI county residents as early as the 1900s
By Karen Yee
Of the 86,000 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s repository of historic structures, sites, buildings, districts and objects that are deemed significant to American history, less than 8% relate to Asian Americans and other underrepresented communities. In Montgomery County, where 15% of residents are Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), there is only one locally designated resource associated with AAPI heritage, the Pao-Chi and Yu Ming Pien House. Even this house was only recently recognized—it is located within the Potomac Overlook Historic District, designated in April 2022. In order to address this … Continue reading
A conversation with Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright on the newly renamed Josiah Henson Parkway
By Gwen Wright and Karen Blyton
On March 4, 2022, community members and government leaders witnessed history as street signs were installed one week after the Montgomery Planning Board approved a resolution to rename Montrose Parkway in honor of the Rev. Josiah Henson. The new Josiah Henson Parkway in North Bethesda runs through the former plantation property of Isaac Riley, where Henson was enslaved for many years before escaping to freedom in Canada. Just a few blocks south of Josiah Henson Parkway is the Josiah Henson Museum and Park, which is also part of the Riley property and is operated by Montgomery Parks.
Henson, … Continue reading
Community input sheds light on Montgomery County history
By Kacy Rohn, in collaboration with Montgomery History
Over the summer, we published a blog post seeking input on an unanswered question about an abbreviation used on Martenet & Bond’s 1865 Map of Montgomery County. The map frequently used the letter “P” following individual’s names but didn’t indicate what that meant. Without a key to the map, we considered several meanings: could it be “place,” “principal,” “plantation,” or “pump?” This was a mystery even to the original mapmaking company, S.J. Martenet & Co., whose records of the map’s production were lost in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.
In partnership with Montgomery History, we put out a call for suggestions and received nearly 100 … Continue reading
Seeking the community’s help to find answers
Written by Kacy Rohn, in collaboration with Montgomery History
Update: After receiving nearly 100 community submissions, see our best guess for the meaning of the letter “P” in this blog post.
Historic maps are key to understanding Montgomery County’s evolution. They reveal past social and economic systems, patterns of development and decline, and evolving transportation networks. Many of these maps have been closely studied for years, but they still hold mysteries about the county’s past. We are seeking input from county residents and historians to unravel a question about Martenet & Bond’s 1865 map of Montgomery County.
The map was published by Simon J. Martenet, a surveyor and civil engineer based … Continue reading
Over the last 20 years, Silver Spring has evolved from a DC suburb with blocks of stately single-family homes on lush green lawns to a lively and energetic city in its own right. Today it is a diverse downtown with a multi-modal transit center, office buildings, high-rise residential towers, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and a burgeoning night-time economy. With this transformation, the downtown residential population has nearly doubled from just under 7,000 people in 2000 to over 12,000 people who live in the downtown Silver Spring today.
This growth, which is largely attributed to the success of public and private investment and the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, has created several opportunities, but also some challenges. … Continue reading
Written by Kacy Rohn with Dan Stouffer, M.A.T, M.S.Ed and the Seneca Valley High School Leadership Class
Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office staff have recently engaged with a Seneca Valley High School class seeking further historic recognition for Wims Meadow, also known as Wims Field of Dreams, in Montgomery Parks’ Little Bennett Regional Park. The site was a ballfield for the county’s African American baseball teams at a time when racial segregation restricted social and recreational outlets for Black residents. The field, which is accessible from Western Piedmont Trail in Clarksburg, is often mowed in the general outline of the regulation baseball field that once existed, and a wooden, rectangular backstop stands nearby.