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Places from the Past

Montgomery County Historic Sites

Places from the Past cover image

Art from an original by Joseph Craig English.

Northern County: Druid Theater (Kimberly Prothro, EHT Traceries for M-NCPPC, 1990)

Druid Theater (Kimberly Prothro, EHT Traceries for M-NCPPC, 1990)

The 10th-anniversary edition of Places from the Past: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County, a book that inventories historic sites and districts, is now available online.

Recognized with awards from the Maryland Historical Trust and Montgomery Preservation, Inc., Places from the Past documents the history of architecture and community planning in Montgomery County. The 358-page coffee table book features photographs, architectural drawings and maps.

Gardez Bien, adopted in 1976 as the county motto, means to guard well or take good care.

Along with a series of essays on building traditions, housing types and outbuildings, the book inventories Montgomery County historic districts and sites with descriptions and photographs.

Author Clare Lise Kelly, historic preservation planner in the Planning Department, has been researching historic sites in the county since 1989. Kelly has dedicated the work to property owners and residents who, through their hard work and commitment, have protected historic sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations.


Houses: Barnesley House (M-NCPPC, 1973)

Barnesley House (M-NCPPC, 1973)

A border county in a border state, Montgomery County has an architectural heritage with a dual nature. It is metropolitan and rural, northern and southern. Early European settlers were tobacco planters from the Chesapeake and wheat farmers from Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, residents were divided in their loyalties, with those in the western county with Virginia family ties sympathizing with the South, while Sandy Spring Quakers and northern-born residents aligned with the North.

After the Civil War, African Americans, comprising over a third of the county population, lived in more than 40 settlements throughout the county. The nation’s capital, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the B&O Railroad’s Metropolitan Branch have had tremendous influence on the county’s growth and development

Order or Download

Places from the Past book
The 10th anniversary edition of the Places from the Past: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County, Maryland, is now available in:

Print on demand

The book is available for purchase on in paperback, hardback or eBook.

paperback ($30) hardcover ($50) ebook ($10)
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Download the PDF version

Places from the Past – web version (pdf, 63MB).


Historic sites map

Download chapters by region by clicking on the map.

Inventory of historic sites map

Last Updated: November 7, 2022