MPI 2016 Montgomery County Historic Preservation Awards


More information about this 29th annual event:
Handicap parking is available around the train station.
Plenty of parking is available in the public garage and lot across Georgia Avenue near the corner of Sligo Avenue.
We look forward to seeing you on March 24 !!
MPI accepts nominations for 2017 Awards starting on March 25 and throughout the year.

Join MPI in congratulating 2016 Awardees:
Laura Anderson Wright (County Executives Award)
World War II P.O.W. Wall at Emory Grove (Special Achievement: Stabilization and Maintenance Effort)
Gaithersburg Community Museum (Education and Outreach)
Nancy Schwartz and Garrett Park Historic Preservation Committee (Wayne Goldstein Advocacy Award)
Monocacy Cemetery (Stewardship of Historic Resources and Outreach to the Community)
Sandy Spring Lyceum (Restoration of a Historic Building Exterior)
Odd Fellows Hall (Rehabilitation of Structure and Continuum of Original Use)
Montgomery History Speakers Bureau (The Montgomery Prize)

MPI open houses: first Saturdays of the month 10 am to 3 pm
At the historic Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station, 8100 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD. Always FREE

April 1 - No fooling! Join us for train-watching, fun, and appreciation!
May 6 - programs and fun for families with and without children
June 3 - trains, music, and refreshments
No Open House in July

Montgomery Preservation and the Metropolitan Branch Hiker-Biker Trail

MPI has always welcomed the planned Metropolitan Branch Trail as a public amenity near its property, the historic Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station at 8100 Georgia Avenue. For nearly 15 years, MPI has met with County agencies and citizens to accommodate the Hiker-Biker Trail as it passes through Silver Spring, parallel to and across Georgia Avenue and through our property. However, as this plan moved into design stage and Progress Place was introduced into the small space that currently supports neighboring uses, it became apparent that the close-by trail alignment might so negatively impact MPI as to put us out of business. This summary is written to clarify the facts and provide accurate information regarding MPI and the proposed Trail.

MPI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Montgomery County�s historic places. In 1997, when a car jumped the curb and smashed in the front door of the Silver Spring Railroad Station, the building�s owner was ready to demolish it. The community rose up in arms, and CSX thereafter offered the Station to Montgomery County. When County government declined to take the Station, MPI stepped up to accept the building with a tiny piece of land and to raise funds to restore it. MPI and the Silver Spring Historical Society successfully nominated it to the National Register of Historic Places and to the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation, which gave the Station the historic recognition that it deserved and made it eligible for restoration funding.

MPI independently devised restoration plans and cost estimates, then raised almost $600,000 to bring this beloved landmark back to life. This was accomplished by a creative matching of State and Federal funds, private donations, enthusiastic support from County Executive Doug Duncan, and assistance from County revitalization funds earmarked for Silver Spring. Restoration was complete in November 2002, when the Station returned to its opening day appearance of December 1945.

Since 2002, the Silver Spring B&O Station has been open to the public for tours and open houses, rented for meetings and parties, and available for special community events. Once condemned, it has been meticulously restored, with original waiting room, ticket counter, chrome furniture, terrazzo floor, telephone booth, lockers, and bulletin boards. Exhibits on the history of Silver Spring and the station are maintained by the Silver Spring Historical Society and MPI. A canopy and bench near the tracks offer a safe place for all ages to train watch.

MPI has long cooperated with MCDOT to facilitate a route across the Station property. In 2005, MPI learned that the County�s proposal would take the entire rear platform and most of the parking. The effect of this alignment was to separate the Station from the railroad tracks, add more safety and coordination issues, and severely limit MPI�s use of its property. As would any property owner fearful of losing its business, MPI stood up for its right to continue its stewardship in Silver Spring and to welcome the public to this historic site. Some in the private and public sector have criticized MPI for protecting its interests, casting us as obstructionists. It has never been MPI�s goal to prevent the Trail, only to ensure that the Trail would not leave MPI unable to use its property.

After detailed discussions, the County, MPI, and the Maryland Historical Trust jointly agreed upon a conceptual alignment for the MBT around the Station property. There is much design and layout work to be done before construction begins in 2018. And with the Trail will come a need to identify new parking options, to attract additional volunteers at the station, and to carry the burden of increased maintenance costs.

Eileen McGuckian, president, Montgomery Preservation Inc.
June 2016

See brochure here

Recent Events

Saturday, August 6, at the Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station
Public Open House 10 am to 3 pm

Exhibit, Talk, & Tour:
�Early Women of Architecture in Maryland�

Moorenko's Ice Cream
Talk at Noon, followed by short walk to Ficken's American Instrument Co. building, with stop for Moorenko's Ice Cream (3-Story Building at Left of Photo!)

Women have been practicing architecture professionally in Maryland for over 80 years, yet little is known about their lives or their contributions to the profession. The Women in Architecture Committee (WIA)��� of AIABaltimore, in collaboration with the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Morgan State University, has embarked on a project to assemble the stories of these early women who contributed to architecture in Maryland.

Katherine Cutler Ficken
Katherine Cutler Ficken, circa 1950 (Sidney Bayne Photography)

Featured in this exhibit are 12 female architects, including Katherine Cutler Ficken (Silver Spring resident and first female architect registered in Maryland, 1936), Rose Isabel Greely (first licensed female architect in Washington, DC, 1926), Chloethiel Woodard Smith (well-known 1950s-1990s with buildings in Rockville and Bethesda), and Shirley Kerr Kennard (Chevy Chase resident, designed projects in Bethesda and Chevy Chase).

Exhibit Curator Jillian Storms, AIA, presented an exhibit talk at the B&O Station at Noon, then led a tour of nearby Ficken-designed buildings.

Historic rails removed to make way for Progress Place

MPI's tracks on County property just north of the Silver Spring Railroad Station were carefully pulled up June 28-30 by construction crews. The rails, laid by the B&O c.1910s for a freight spur line to run across Georgia Avenue ending at Griffith & Perry grain storage facility, were discovered in 2006 during construction of the new Fire Station and saved for interpretation. They will be relocated closer to the Station as melding of old and new Silver Spring continues.

Bikers followed SSHS president Jerry McCoy to some of Silver Spring's most historic places.... Acorn Park, 1945 Canada Dry bottling plant, 1945 B&O Station & underpass, and the1927 National Institute of Cleaning and Dyeing, and ended at the 1850 Moorings mansion in Jesup Blair Park for a picnic under ancient oak trees. In the afternoon, lots of kids brought their parents to enjoy working train displays by Riverdale & Rockville Model Railroaders Clubs.

Notice to MPI members, supporters, and interested parties:

You are invited to join MPI, renew your membership, and/or to make a donation to support preservation in Montgomery County. Click here for details:

Watch this space for MPI's sensational new website, coming soon!!


News and Events around Montgomery County this spring

--"Emancipation to Integration: 150 years of Advancement in Educational Quality" lecture and panel series. April 1 Thurgood Marshall & William Gibbs, April 21 Remembering the Carver Years, May 2 Stories of School Desegregation. Free.

--April 1 "Palimpsest: Layers of Time" exhibit opening and history program. Free.

--June 24 and 25 20th annual Heritage Days weekend highlights local history places, many of which are not open frequently. Family and history buff friendly, and free !!

Save and re-use the former Silver Spring Library

RFPs have been submitted to the Montgomery County government for the 2.35 acre parcel on Colesville Road, home since 1957 to the Silver Spring Public Library. 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. While the RFP stated that "Proposals may include the adaptive reuse of the existing library building or new construction or a combination of the two," some may not envision the historic library as a serviceable, handsome structure that is in good condition and well situated on the total parcel.

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.

Local stakeholders and preservationists hope the County proposal reviewers will honor their wishes to retain this unique public building along with the newer uses. For the time being, you can visit Friends of the Wheaton Library's Used Book Store here.

Silver Spring Public LibraryRendering of Silver Spring library by architect Rhees Burket, 1954

Restoration in Progress: MPI is restoring 10 windows at the Silver Spring Station. Work by Oak Grove Restoration Co. includes removal, stripping, replacement of damaged wood, painting, and reinstallation. The Maryland Historical Trust holds exterior and interior easements on the station property.

Station Window Restoration

Station Window Restoration

Report from Historic Takoma:
In July the State Highway Administration began rehabilitation of Takoma Park's 84-year-old Carroll Avenue Bridge over Sligo Creek. What makes this $12 million project a victory for historic preservation was the State's agreement to replace only the roadbed while restoring the sweeping concrete arches upper railings. Beyond saving this local landmark, it avoids the road closures that would have come with full demolition.

Carroll Avenue BridgeCarroll Avenue Bridge, 1932

Preservation Maryland "Six to Fix" Reveal:
At its "Six to Fix" program and annual meeting in Baltimore on October 13, Preservation Maryland revealed its 2016-17 preservation concerns. One selected issue is the plight of historic cemeteries throughout Maryland. Preservation Maryland will work closely with the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites to bring much needed attention to the thousands of cemeteries that are in disrepair, while also providing the general public with information on how to care for neglected and abandoned cemeteries. Volunteer cleanup days will be organized at cemeteries around the state. In addition, Preservation Maryland will again lead advocacy for full funding of the preservation incentives, grants, and programs that benefit us all. For further information:

Support MPI

There are many ways you can support MPI's preservation efforts. Become a member of MPI or donate to the Wayne Goldstein Memorial Fund or the Robert P. Davis Memorial Fund.