Thanks to calls and emails from concerned citizens like you, the important federal historic tax credit was retained in the recent tax bill. It had been dropped from the House tax bill but preserved in the Senate version. Although this tax credit only applies to restoration/rehabilitation of commercial properties, it has been crucial to Montgomery County projects, including the National Park Seminary, and is important to historic preservation throughout Maryland. In fact, this credit returns $1.20 to federal coffers for each $1 it gives out.
Recent National Register listings are New Mark Commons development in Rockville and the Mihran Mesrobian House in the Town of Chevy Chase. Recent Modernist historic district is the Americana Centre in City of Rockville.
After 28 years as Architectural Historian at M-NCPPC, Clare Lise Kelly is retiring. Property owners, researchers, planners, Modernists, and others will use her thorough, insightful, and award-winning work products for decades to come. Thank you, Clare, for leading so many of us into the Montgomery Modern era !
RFPs submitted months ago for the 2.35 acre parcel on Colesville Road, home since 1957 to the Silver Spring Public Library, have been narrowed by County government to two. Local civic associations teamed up with the Silver Spring Historical Society to convince County government to preserve the library site for parkland and an adaptive reuse of the handsome building that will continue to benefit the community. This serviceable building is well situated on the total parcel for green space as well as newer uses.
Local civic associations, Silver Spring Historical Society, and individuals submitted comments on the final two proposals. MPI’s comments in favor of one of these proposals can be viewed here.
Designed by Rhees Burket, a noted architect with a lifetime of civic and professional leadership, the library is an icon of Montgomery Modern architecture. The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired flagship structure came early in the new County library system, when other towns operated facilities out of smaller makeshift buildings. The Silver Spring Library was a harbinger of mid-century design and of local public services yet to come. Its open floor plan fills with light, highlighting natural materials of brick and native quarried stone and surrounding hilly landscape, and is considered one of Burket’s best works.
For the time being, you can visit Friends of the Wheaton Library’s Used Book Store at this library.
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.