MPI is pleased to report that on October 31, 2017, the Montgomery County Council adopted the first legislation ever to protect local burial sites. Following a public hearing on September 12, receipt of many emails and letters from caring citizens, and two PHED committee meetings in October, the amended bills went to the full Council. With two unanimous votes, the Council took bold first steps to identify and preserve our historic cemeteries. Soon after, the County Executive signed both pieces of legislation into law.
Both of these laws will aid property owners, descendants, and advocates to identify all cemeteries in Montgomery County as well to enable their survival for the appreciation of current and future generations. MPI thanks the lead sponsors of these bills—Council members Berliner, Leventhal, and Rice—and all Council members who voted to protect local burial sites.
Advocates for Montgomery County cemeteries can soon rest a bit easier because local sites will be listed in an official inventory that covers the entire County, including municipalities with their own planning and zoning authority, and that all cemeteries will be protected during the subdivision and development process. This is a solid victory for all of our cemeteries — of whatever size and age, in neglected or good condition, of religious or family background, whether African American or White in origin, or whether currently in the news or quietly waiting in the background to be documented.
To read more about the final versions of cemetery legislation passed by the Montgomery County Council, see New Laws Will Help to Protect Montgomery County Cemeteries.
A local pastry chef hopes to restore the Cider Barrel on MD Route 355 to a new use as a bakery. Vacant since 2003, this red, white, and blue local icon needs everyone’s help to return to nourish and enliven residents and travelers again. Brandi Edinger wants to raise $80,000 by October 7 to begin repairs and solid plans to reopen business here.
This summer saw the relocation of two local historic landmarks. Both are designated historic sites that have been moved once before. Each proposed relocation became an object of considerable public controversy, and both landmarks will suffer reduction in interpretation and appreciation with the change of their traditional environments.
Montgomery County’s Confederate Soldier Monument, a prominent feature of Courthouse Square in Rockville since 1913, came to greater public attention in the summer of 2015 after the Charleston, SC murders. Despite protestations and offers for additional on-site interpretation, the County Executive embarked on a two-year path to move the statue off County land, meanwhile protecting it from further vandalism. Over the weekend of July 22-23, the bronze statue and its stone base were moved to private property at White’s Ferry near the Potomac River in Dickerson. Plans are underway for it to be part of broader interpretation. For recent comments by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on this general topic, see savingplaces.org
Wilson’s Store, better known as Community Paint and Hardware, is a reminder of Bethesda’s pre-WWII status and appearance as a small town on a major roadway. Overnight on August 19-20, soon after a ruling by a Circuit Court judge, the 1890s store was cut in half to prepare for its move to a parking lot on Middleton Lane. The move makes way for Carr Properties to redevelop the former Apex building site on Wisconsin Avenue into a three-tower structure with 480 residential units and for the future Purple Line to be built underneath.