By: Steve Lathrop

Washington Grove

Area Highlights

A quick view of the most influential metrics in Washington Grove, Maryland.

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Learn more about Washington Grove

The Neighborhood:


Washington Grove is a town in Montgomery CountyMaryland. which is nicknamed “A Town Within a Forest”. It hosts very large family-size homes surrounded by spacious land and tree areas that edify simplistic living. The Washington Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The Grove’s most distinctive features are the oddly-shaped, tightly-spaced homes radiating out from the Sacred Circle. Uniquely, the houses were arranged to face each other across a network of pedestrian paths, with streets relegated to the rear to provide service. Intended to be used for two-week tent meetings in July and August, the tree-shaded camp became a refuge from the heat of Washington, D.C..

More than half of the town is publicly owned. The East Woods and West Woods, designated as wildlife sanctuaries, are the only municipality-owned forests in Maryland. The many walkways and parks are popular not only with residents but also with people from neighboring communities. On a fine evening, the walkways hum with people and cats strolling, walking dogs, and chatting. Grovers meet for musical picnics at the Gazebo, town meetings in McCathran Hall, and summer days swimming in Maple Lake, the Town’s swimming hole in the West Woods. Other town activities include the Summer in the Parks program for children, a book club, a movie club, and the Mousetrap series of concerts.

Washington Grove is governed by a Council of citizens consisting of 6 elected Councilors and a Mayor. It is one of the rare places that truly encourage “Public Appearances” for issues dealing directly with matters of the town. There is a Town Meeting yearly in which Town Residents examine and approve (or ask for changes to) the coming fiscal year’s budget.

Most of the work in keeping the Town running, however, is performed by volunteers in the many committees including the Woods Group, the Recreation Committee, the Lake Committee, the Historic Preservation Committee, and many others. Volunteerism is high, allowing an extraordinarily broad range of activities and events. Individual Councilors are also responsible for administration of contracts for road maintenance, trash and recycling pickup, tree maintenance, and other ongoing upkeep efforts.

Truly, this is a place that is built by and for the people.

Location:


Washington Grove is located North of Route 370, just east of Gaithersburg, South of Montgomery Village, and West of Olney.

A Little History:


The land of Washington Grove was initially a meeting grounds for families within Methodist Episcopal churches of the District of Columbia. In 1878, a person could build a cottage on the land by purchasing five shares of stock for twenty dollars per share. The first share had to be purchased with cash, while the other four could be financed at an annual interest rate of six percent. By 1879, seventeen cottages had been built, each with green and white exteriors and large porches, surrounding a large tabernacle. The round-trip trainfare between the District and Washington Grove was eighty cents in 1879. The Maryland legislature gave camp-meeting managers control of all land within a two-mile radius of a meeting site in order to prohibit businesses from opening nearby.

The original layout of small houses fronting grassy walkways was preserved in the center of town, with vehicular access via paved streets leading to the backs of the houses. Houses built more recently do not front the walkways, but preserve a Grove flavor by the variety of architectural styles resulting from their being constructed one at a time in various styles rather than in tracts.

Washington Grove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places both for its humanistic layout and for the way the town was founded. In the early 1870s, shortly after the B&O Railroad’s Metropolitan Branch (now the MARC Brunswick Line)) was extended from Washington, D.C. to Gaithersburg, Maryland, a group of Methodists purchased land nearby as a site for a camp meeting. In 1937, the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association was dissolved, and the community was incorporated as a town.

Transportation:



  • MARC Train Station (Brunswick Line)

  • Most transport is done by hiking, biking, car

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