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.