Washington Grove, Maryland

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Washington Grove, Maryland
Town
Town of Washington Grove
The Washington Grove Historic District in September 2012.
The Washington Grove Historic District in September 2012.
Motto: "A Town Within a Forest"
Location of Washington Grove, Maryland
Location of Washington Grove, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°8′22″N 77°10′33″W / 39.13944°N 77.17583°W / 39.13944; -77.17583Coordinates: 39°8′22″N 77°10′33″W / 39.13944°N 77.17583°W / 39.13944; -77.17583
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Montgomery
Area[1]
 • Total 0.35 sq mi (0.91 km2)
 • Land 0.35 sq mi (0.91 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 509 ft (155 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 555
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 574
 • Density 1,585.7/sq mi (612.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 20880
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-81675
GNIS feature ID 0591497
Website http://www.washingtongrovemd.org/
Washington Grove Historic District
Washington Grove Historic District 06.JPG
The Washington Grove Historic District, in September 2012.
Washington Grove, Maryland is located in Maryland
Washington Grove, Maryland
Location Washington Grove, Maryland
Coordinates 39°8′24″N 77°10′28″W / 39.14000°N 77.17444°W / 39.14000; -77.17444
Built 1873
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival, Other
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 80001829
Added to NRHP April 09, 1980[4]

Washington Grove is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland. The population was 555 at the 2010 United States Census. The Washington Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[4]

History[edit]

John T. Mitchell, Richard Willett, F. Howard, W.R. Woodward, E.F. Simpson, Mr. Worthington, Thomas P. Morgan, B. Peyton Brown, and a few others purchased 225 acres of land for Washington Grove Camp in order to have a permanent location to hold its annual meetings,[5] which began in 1875.[6] Families would stay over to attend a two-week-long meeting of the Methodist Episcopal churches of the District of Columbia.[7]

In 1878, a person could build a cottage on the land by purchasing five shares of stock for twenty dollars per share.[8] The first share had to be purchased with cash, while the other four could be financed at an annual interest rate of six percent.[8]

By 1879, seventeen cottages had been built, each with green and white exteriors and large porches, surrounding a large tabernacle.[9] The round-trip trainfare between the District and Washington Grove was eighty cents in 1879.[10]

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.[11] The camp-meeting managers used this power to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages anywhere on the grounds.[12][13] In 1879, they voted to prohibit the selling of anything at all on Sundays.[14] The Barrett Brothers, who operated the camp store, asked for an exception to sell ice cream and sandwiches on Sundays, but their request was denied.[14]

In 1879, the trustees voted to borrow $4,000 in order to build a hotel on the grounds.[15] Completed in 1881, the hotel was three stories in the center and two stories in the wings. It had 23 sleeping rooms, a parlor, a dining room, and a kitchen.[16] The cost to build the hotel came in under the $4,000 budget.[16] Building of a chapel to hold 800 people began in 1889.[17]

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 1873 the first meeting was held in a rainstorm at the “Sacred Circle” in what is now the center of town. Tents were pitched to protect the camp meeting attendees. As more meetings ensued and their occupants began to stay for longer and longer periods, the tents were converted to cottages constructed to echo the traditional tent shape. Herein lies the origin of one of the Grove’s most distinctive features, 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.. While the smorgasbord of later additions on these houses gives the older part of town an eccentric and fanciful personality, each of these older houses has a small, tent-shaped core dating from the first cottage construction. They often had steeply peaked roofs with high windows and the rooms only had walls, no ceilings. Cooling breezes flowed through the houses and vacated any summer heat. This nature has been lost in many cottages that have been remodeled inside for year-round occupation and for an additional floor of rooms occupying the once lofty interior structures.

In 1937, the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association was dissolved, and the community was incorporated as a town.[18] 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.

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.

Because most of the land was owned by the Town of Washington Grove, it had complete control over who purchased and leased the plots. In the early 20th century, the Washington Grove Camp Association and later the Town of Washington Grove placed restrictive covenants in deeds and leases in order to prevent African Americans from buying, renting, or leasing land in Washington Grove.[19] This is exemplified in one of many deeds (particular one dating from 1925) that reads, "That whereas the death rate of persons of African descent is much greater than the death rate of persons of the white race and affects injuriously the health of the town and village communities, and as the permanent location of persons of African descent in such places as owners or tenants constitutes and irreparable injury to the value and usefulness of real estate in the interest of public health and to prevent irreparable injury to the grantor or its successors and assigns, and the owners of adjacent real estate, the grantees, their heirs and assigns, hereby covenant, and agree with the grantor, its successors and assigns, that they will not sell, conveyor rent the premises hereby conveyed, the whole or any part thereof, or any structure thereon, to any person of African descent."[20][21]

A Black Methodist camp meeting that predates the existence of Washington Grove was founded in 1864 under the name Emory Grove. Less than a mile separated the two towns, and many of the residents of Emory Grove worked for the residents of Washington Grove. The superintendent of the Washington Grove grounds was a resident of Emory Grove named William A. Scott. However, following an incident in 1892 where an Emory Grove native, Jessie Lancaster, ransacked homes in Washington Grove, William A. Scott was forced out. Subsequently, in 1897 the gates to Washington Grove were closed, thus preventing anyone from walking through Washington Grove. This closing severely hindered the ability of Emory Grove residents to reach the train stop on the other side of Washington Grove.[19]

Geography[edit]

Washington Grove is located at 39°8′22″N 77°10′33″W / 39.13944°N 77.17583°W / 39.13944; -77.17583 (39.139535, -77.175926).[22]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2), all of it land.[1]

Demographics[edit]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 555 people, 230 households, and 157 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,585.7 inhabitants per square mile (612.2 /km2). There were 242 housing units at an average density of 691.4 per square mile (267.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 85.2% White, 4.0% African American, 7.4% Asian, 2.5% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.

There were 230 households of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.7% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the town was 49.7 years. 20.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15% were from 25 to 44; 46.3% were from 45 to 64; and 13.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 515 people, 208 households, and 143 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,563.8 people per square mile (602.6/km2). There were 209 housing units at an average density of 634.6 per square mile (244.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.76% White, 0.39% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 2.72% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.08% of the population.

There were 208 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.5% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91. There is an average of 1.8 cats per family in Washington Grove.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 3.5% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 37.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 85.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $92,398, and the median income for a family was $97,029. Males had a median income of $70,750 versus $48,125 for females. The per capita income for the town was $38,332. None of the families and 0.8% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.

Government[edit]

Washington Grove is governed by a Council of citizens consisting of 6 elected Councilors and a Mayor. Elections are held yearly in May, with two councilor positions rotating for election each year. Two Council meetings are held each month. Town residents are encouraged to attend, and in one of the two monthly meetings a period of time is set aside for "Public Appearances" in which issues are aired and discussed by Town residents urging some action by the Council. There is a Town Meeting yearly in which Town Residents examine and approve (or ask for changes to) the coming fiscal year's budget. When issues of significant importance are pending, a Special Town Meeting is often called to allow for an exchange of ideas.

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.

Each Councilor is liaison to (typically) two Town Committees, with responsibilities to attend meetings of those committees and report back on their activities. Individual Councilors are also responsible for administration of contracts for road maintenance, trash and recycling pickup, tree maintenance, and other ongoing upkeep efforts.

Education[edit]

The town is zoned to schools in the Montgomery County Public Schools district.

Zoned schools include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  5. ^ "God's First Temple: A Grand Gathering of the Methodists in the Woods". The Washington Post. August 3, 1878. p. 3. 
  6. ^ "Camp-Meeting Arrangements: The Washington Grove Association Preparing for Work". The Washington Post. May 14, 1978. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "Opening of the Methodist Camp-Meeting To-morrow". The Washington Post. August 6, 1879. 
  8. ^ a b >> "The United Christians: A Glimpse of the Work Going on in the Methodist Camp". The Washington Post. August 12, 1878. p. 2. 
  9. ^ "A Christian Camp: Opening of the Methodist Meeting at Washington Grove". The Washington Post. August 8, 1879. 
  10. ^ "The Coming Camp Meeting". The Washington Post. July 23, 1879. p. 1. 
  11. ^ "The Camp Grounds: Worshipping in the Woods at Gaithersburg". The Washington Post. August 6, 1878. p. 2. 
  12. ^ "The Feast of Tabernacles". The Washington Post. August 14, 1879. p. 4. 
  13. ^ "Rain and Religion". The Washington Post. August 18, 1879. p. 1. 
  14. ^ a b "The City of Tents". The Washington Post. August 9, 1879. p. 2. 
  15. ^ "Camp-Meeting Chronicles: What Was Done by the Washington Grove Association During the Year". The Washington Post. October 15, 1879. p. 4. 
  16. ^ a b "The Campmeeting Season: Improvements at Washington Grove -- Meeting of the Association". The Washington Post. May 7, 1881. p. 4. 
  17. ^ "A Chapel at Washington Grove". The Washington Post. August 5, 1889. p. 6. 
  18. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". National Register of Historic Places: Properties in Montgomery County. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-10-03. 
  19. ^ a b Edwards, Philip K. Washington Grove, 1873-1937: A history of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association. N.p.: Philip K. Edwards, 1988.
  20. ^ Edwards, Suzanne H. A History of Racism in Washington Grove. N.p.: n.p., 1974.
  21. ^ Carlson, Peter (February 21, 2006). "When Signs Said 'Get Out'". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  23. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]