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Frieda's Cottage

Frieda’s Cottage named National Historic Landmark

In January 2021, the National Park Service designated Frieda’s Cottage in Rockville as a National Historic Landmark, recognizing the national significance of Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (1889-1957), a psychiatrist who pioneered the psychoanalytic treatment of schizophrenia. In a field whose theoretical constructs had been developed by men, she was a transformative influence and a major figure in the emergence of a new approach to severe mental illness.

Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann’s studies and practice in her native Germany brought her international recognition by 1935. That year, she emigrated to America, where she joined the staff of Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium in Rockville. Frieda’s background and ideology meshed well with the approaches at Chestnut Lodge, and she became director of psychotherapy in 1936. The Lodge built the cottage as her residence and office, where Frieda developed and refined her technique for treating people suffering severe mental disorder. Her seminal work, Principles of Intensive Psychotherapy (1950), became essential reading for psychiatrists in training and remained in print for 60 years.
The Colonial Revival cottage’s high degree of integrity is a credit to Peerless Rockville, which restored it in 2009.

To learn more about this one of a few NHLs in Montgomery County, visit

Image courtesy of Peerless Rockville

Haiti Cemetery

Haiti Cemetery Association Earns Maryland Historical Trust award for Project Excellence: Preservation Partnerships

Congratulations to Hannelore Quigley, James Demma, and Haiti Cemetery Association for earning a Maryland Historical Trust award for Project Excellence: Preservation Partnerships. Haiti Cemetery opened in the 1880s to serve a kinship community descended from free and enslaved families near Rockville. The efforts of Ms. Quigley and Mr. Demma, together with members of the Crutchfield family, overcame legal and financial burdens and led to formation of the association, which will maintain and protect the future of this important historic place. On March 12, a small socially-distanced group gathered at the cemetery to present the award certificate.

Montgomery County mourns the passing of Mike Dwyer, former Montgomery Parks Historian

Mike Dwyer, retired Montgomery County Parks historianMontgomery County mourns the passing of Mike Dwyer, former Montgomery Parks Historian, on Sunday, May 5. Mike was M-NCPPC’s first historian, with the enviable task of driving a Jeep around to survey sites 1975-76 that became the Locational Atlas and Index of Historic Sites in Montgomery County, Maryland. In 1979, he championed creation of the Ordinance, Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, and the HPC, which are the foundations of our program to preserve local historic resources. Mike cared about Park properties, archaeology, mills, non-profit and public preservation projects, always insisting on high standards of documentation and conservation as well as practical uses for historic structures. MPI honored him with The Montgomery Prize in 2000 for his lifetime of work, and he continued to serve as a storehouse of knowledge that he willingly shared. Mike’s observations, dry wit, deadpan humor, tireless energy, and willingness to mentor all of us will be sorely missed.

Montgomery County Awards for Historic Preservation Presented on March 22

Ten Montgomery County individuals and groups received 2018 Historic Preservation Awards recently at Seneca Lodge in Boyds. Extraordinary citizens from all corners of the County were honored by their peers and public officials for educational programs, restoration projects, creative stewardship, and partnerships that led to preservation success. An overflow audience cheered each recipient who restored a building or initiated a program to further local history and historic places. The annual event, sponsored by MPI, showcases outstanding achievements in the private, non-profit, and public sectors in Montgomery County. This year, Germantown Historical Society and Boyds Historical Society co-hosted the event.

2018 Awardees are:

Miche Booz Architect was honored for exterior restoration and adaptive reuse of Hammer Hill, a visible and previously endangered Queen Anne-style house in Clarksburg. Now used as a medical office, the former residence retains beautiful architectural features. County Councilmember At Large Evan Glass presented the award.

Accepting the County Executive’s Award was historian Jamie F. Kuhns. While most nominations come from the public, this award is selected by the County Executive after recommendation by the Historic Preservation Commission and its staff. This year, County Executive Marc Elrich selected Jamie Kuhn’s scholarly biography of Josiah Henson, which details Henson’s resilience in overcoming slavery in Maryland to hold a place in international history.

KC Associates and John Stone were applauded for restoration of an Art Deco commercial storefront in Takoma Park.  Exterior restoration of 7000 Carroll Avenue included refinishing signature chevron spandrel panels and meticulously repairing 44 original windows. Steve Knight, president of the Art Deco Society of Washington, DC, bestowed the award.

Pleasant Plains of Damascus chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was honored for documentation and rehabilitation of historic Purdum Cemetery in Cedar Grove. With Purdum family members, the group brought new life to the resting place of an early Damascus family for the benefit of the community.  The award was given by Glenn Wallace, director of the Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory-Revisited project.

Carrie and Tom Witkop received an award in recognition of their rescue and rehabilitation of an 1889 Victorian in the Capitol View Park historic district.  Formerly in ruinous condition, today the house is a charming residence. Presenting was Rebeccah Ballo, supervisor of the Historic Preservation program.

The Wayne Goldstein Preservation Advocacy Award was earned by Boyds Historical Society and Boyds Civic Association for decades of working together to improve multiple aspects of their historic rural community.  Richard Madaleno, Director, Office of Management and Budget, presented awards to Miriam Schoenbaum and Hammet Hough.

Special Achievement Awards were given by Reemberto Rodriguez, Director, Silver Spring Regional Center, to Jerry A. McCoy for educational programs, publications, and advocacy to preserve the history of Silver Spring, and to Gary Mosteller for design of a Peerless Rockville homes tour booklet, by Nancy Pickard, Executive Director of Peerless Rockville.

The Menare Foundation was honored for painstaking restoration of the 1882 farmhouse, home of the Button Farm Living History Center on Black Rock Road in Boyds. Honoring Tony Cohen and Steve Gillick was County Councilmember Craig Rice, District 2.

The Montgomery Prize went to the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee for more than 30 years of preserving our landscape heritage.  This award honors continuous outstanding achievement in furthering history and preservation in Montgomery County.  Accepting the award from County Councilmember Andrew Friedson, District 1, were RRAC committee members and staff.

Photographs of each of these awardees may be seen here

Capitol Limited “Drumhead” Comes to Silver Spring Station

Drumheads are a type of removable sign that were often used by North American railroads during the first half of the twentieth century, These signs were mounted on the rear of passenger trains and consisted of a circular metal canister with a tinted panel of glass (later Plexiglas) that bore a logo of the railroad or of a specific named train. The drumheads were electrically wired to illuminate the sign at night. Because of their shape, they resembled small drums and came to be known as drumheads. Some drumheads were also made in rectangular or other shapes. They were normally only made for a railroad’s most important passenger trains and never used on local service or commuter trains. They would always be on the last car, which was often a lounge or observation car. The signs were made to be movable so they could be used on whatever was the last car of a particular train on different days. Although drumheads were mostly prevalent in the era of steam trains, they survived on some railroads into the streamlined diesel era.

The Capitol Limited drumhead on display in the Silver Spring B&O station was originally on steam powered trains and was manufactured at the railroad’s Mt Clare shops in Baltimore, MD. These drumheads were replaced with blue metal plaques with gold script lettering when the railroad transitioned to new streamlined equipment in the late ’30’s. This piece was originally acquired by the father of one-time Silver Spring resident Ed McHugh. Mr. McHugh’s father worked in the mechanical department at Mt. Clare.

This drumhead made many stops at the Silver Spring B&O Station during the Capitol Limited’s daily runs between Baltimore, Washington and Chicago.

Photo by Jerry A. McCoy, SSHS; description by John Sery, MPI

A Historic Reunion:  Visit the New Deal Mural at Silver Spring Library, 3rd Floor

L to R: Mary Reardon, MPI; George French, Silver Spring Historical Society (SSHS); Diana Kohn, Historic Takoma; Robin Ross, Silver Spring resident; Jerry A. McCoy, Silver Spring Historical Society; Allen C. Browne, photographer and resident; Lysette House, FOLSS; Marcie Stickle, SSHS; Wendy Woodland, MPI.

After decades of separation, the Silver Spring Post Office and the historic mural “The Old Tavern” again share the same address. The mural was painted in 1937 by emigre Nicolai Cikovsky for the Silver Spring Post Office. The 6’x16’ oil on canvas depicts black and white Civil War Union soldiers, 1864-65, reading mail and relaxing in front of the Eagle Inn, which stood on the SW corner of present day Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, in the village then called Sligo.

In 1994 Silver Spring resident Jerry McCoy searched for and unearthed the mural,  partnering with Friends of the Library Silver Spring to raise funds for its 1997 conservation and dedication. McCoy founded the Silver Spring Historical Society in 1998.

In 2015, “The Old Tavern” was cleaned and reinstalled in the new Silver Spring Library, with funds raised by Friends of the Library Silver Spring Chapter (FOLSS). On August 31, 2018, the U.S. Postal Service held a ribbon-cutting event for the opening of the SS Post Office at 900 Wayne Avenue.  John Sery of Montgomery Preservation (MPI) captured the moment for the December 2018 FOLSS newsletter.


Rockville’s New Deal-Era Post Office Mural will be Featured on a 2019 Forever Stamp

The City of Rockville and Peerless Rockville plan to commemorate this honor on a 2019 date TBD. The 1940 mural by Judson Smith was restored as part of the landmark building’s purchase by the City and re-purposed as the Rockville Police Station in 2012.

In a press release, the U.S. Postal Service stated that the stamp will be sold within a pane of 10 stamps that depict “five different murals designed to add a touch of beauty to Post Office walls and help boost the morale of Americans during the era of the Great Depression.”

Agreement signed for Metropolitan Branch Hiker-Biker Trail by Montgomery Preservation and Montgomery County

In November 2018, MPI and Montgomery County entered into an agreement that established a perpetual easement over MPI’s land for construction and operation of the Metropolitan Branch Trail across the frontage of MPI’s property at 8100 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.  The trail will run largely parallel to Georgia Avenue, then cross over Georgia Avenue via a new bridge span.

The County also will have a temporary easement over most of MPI’s surface parking lot for construction.  This includes construction of the trail on the MPI property, and tying the trail in with a new bridge structure that will allow trail users to cross over Georgia Avenue.  According to the latest construction schedule estimates from the County, we expect that there will be work on the MPI property between the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021.

The County and MPI will work with the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) to coordinate modification of an existing historic easement that MHT holds on the property to allow for the trail use within this historic easement.

Although the upcoming construction will be disruptive while underway, MPI welcomes the trail use and looks forward to introducing a new audience to its historic site.  In partnership with Silver Spring Historical Society, since rescuing and restoring the station to its 1945 appearance, MPI has opened the historic station to visitors and the greater Montgomery County community. In addition to popular public Open Houses on the first Saturday of every month and Montgomery County Heritage Weekend in June, the station is available for meetings, gatherings, and special events such as birthday parties, weddings, and other celebrations.

Restoration Work at the Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station

The Silver Spring B&O Station has been owned by Montgomery Preservation since 1998.  With the help of private donors and public partners, MPI was able to repair considerable damage, remove post-1945 changes and graffiti, catch up with deferred maintenance, update utility systems, restore original interior features in place, and replace original artifacts as they returned from other places. The station re-opened in November 2002, looking as sharp as it did in 1945.

Since then, rentals and donations have enabled MPI and its partner Silver Spring Historical Society to keep up with building maintenance and to set funds aside for larger restoration projects in future years.  Recent maintenance work on the station included repairs to fascia boards and gutters.

In late 2016, MPI received approval from the Maryland Historical Trust (which holds an easement on the building’s exterior, interior, and grounds) to restore 10 windows and to reconstruct one exterior door.  The work accomplished by the Oak Grove Restoration Company over a six-month period can be described as both spectacular and understated.  Each window was carefully removed, then taken to Oak Grove’s Laytonsville shop to be individually evaluated and recommended for treatment.  Specifics were approved by MPI and MHT, and the incredibly detailed restoration process began.  Perhaps the best testimony to this tedious process of identifying best practices, following long-established rules, and contracting with an experienced contractor is that the station’s windows and doors fit, work, and look as they did when the station opened in December 1945.

Enjoy these photographs of Oak Grove craftsmen painstakingly replacing rotted components and preparing these handsome wooden architectural features for another 70 years of service.

B&O Station window restoration

Pictures show repairs to one of the window rails on the train station window. We distinguish between the inside & outside of the sash when designing the particular repairs. The outside work is more precise and everything has to be able to survive outdoors. You see in the pics how we sawed the exterior face of the rotted rail completely off and epoxyed a new mahogany board in its place. Window is returned to mortise and tenon. The part that was cut away is on the workbench and you can see how rotted it is. This method conserves the sound historic fabric while restoring the sash. Epoxy was used as an adhesive, not for repairs.

The lock rail weatherstripping interlocks with other pieces mounted on the other sash lock rail, making a metal tongue & groove connection.  Metal weatherstripping (as used for 100+ years) will go onto the sash sides and the bottom rails.

Bottom sash will be operable and lockable.     TRANSLATION:  rails go horizontally, sash is vertical.

B&O Station window restoration 1

The new station master’s door is also spectacular.  It is identical to the original one that had wood too rotted to rescue. And what a difference polishing the original brass hardware has made!   

If you haven’t yet seen our 10 restored windows and new door, stop by to admire them!

All photos are by Hank Handler, Oak Grove Restoration Co.

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