Take a Ride Through History on a Bike Tour Highlighting Victorian Architecture of Historic Districts

October 2, 2019

close up bike riders

The public is invited on Saturday, October 26 to cycle six miles from Warner Circle Park in Kensington through neighborhoods of Victorian-era houses and historic structures

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is sponsoring a six-mile bike ride on Saturday, October 26, 2019 that starts at 9 a.m. at Warner Circle Park (10231 Carroll Place, Kensington, MD) and ends at that location around 10:30 a.m. The bike tour aims to highlight the architectural character of the Kensington, Forest Glen, Capitol View Park and National Park Seminary Historic Districts. Most of the loop is a low-stress route, but some sections consist of hilly terrain.

Please RSVP online to reserve your spot.

All participants will need to sign a waiver as part of the bike ride.

The group ride includes stops within the following 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 stops will include:

  • Warner Circle Park, originally the site of developer Brainard Warner’s summer residence, and now featuring a Queen Anne house and carriage house from the 1890s.
  • 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 “healthy, well located and easily accessible suburban village,” according to a promotional brochure, with a summer hotel and a streetcar line. Tour stops 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 to 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 stops 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 an 1887 hotel called the Forest Inn that was 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. After being abandoned, the seminary was sold by the federal government to a private developer who converted the property into its current residential uses. Tour stops 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.

Staff from the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office will be present to discuss the history of the districts and buildings encountered along the bike route.