Edward U. Taylor School
About the project
The Edward U. Taylor Elementary School is under evaluation for designation to the County’s Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
Visit the Edward U. Taylor Elementary School and Weller’s Dry Cleaning: An Amendment to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation webpage to learn more about the evaluation process.
The recommendation to study the school was brought forward in the MARC Rail Communities Plan, which was approved by the County Council in April 2019. The plan recommended strategies to protect and enhance the historic rural character and resources in Boyds and Germantown.
Historic Preservation staff evaluated the historic and architectural significance of the Taylor School and found that it met three designation criteria outlined in §24A-3 of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Historic Preservation Supervisor briefed the Montgomery County Board of Education on the historic significance of the school on April 21, 2021. The Board and former Superintendent Jack R. Smith supported the designation and recommended that the Historic Preservation staff proceed with the designation.
On October 12, 2022, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) recommended that the Planning Board request that the County Council approve an amendment to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation to designate the school as a Master Plan Historic Site.
On February 23, 2023. the Planning Board found that the Edward U. Taylor Elementary School meets three designation criteria as listed in Chapter 24A-3 of the Montgomery County Code and recommended that the County Council designate the former Taylor school as historic. The Planning Board transmitted their recommendation to the County Council and public hearings will be scheduled at a later date.
Historic and architectural significance
The former Edward U. Taylor School is located at 19501 White Ground Road, approximately one mile to the southwest of Boyds. The building currently serves as the Taylor Science Center for the processing and storage of science kits for Montgomery County Public Schools. The Modern Movement-influenced building was completed in 1952, and features several additions built between 1954 and 1969.
The Taylor School was built as an elementary school for Black students at a time when Montgomery County used legally sanctioned racial segregation to prohibit Black children from attending white schools. The facility was built to modern school design standards and represents the cumulative efforts of the county’s Black community to obtain better facilities and opportunities after decades of public underinvestment in educational facilities for Black children.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine, forcing Montgomery County Public Schools to end its system of racial segregation. The Taylor School was one of the last county schools to desegregate, in 1961, and was the only segregated Black elementary school to retain its original function.
As a hallmark of the era of de jure racial segregation, the Taylor School captures the struggle and perseverance of the County’s Black communities as they fought for equal rights during the segregation and integration of the public school system.