Friday, June 10, 2016

Rockville neighborhood could be listed on National Register of Historic Places

A process that began in 2012 has culminated in the nomination of New Mark Commons to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, pending review by the Rockville Historic District Commission. That review will take place at the commission's next meeting, on Thursday, June 16.

Listing on the register gives an honorary recognition of the historic significance and character of a place, but does not prevent architectural changes to homes, or require the review of the HDC to make such changes. It does require any project involving federal funds, licenses or permits to be reviewed by the federal agency involved to determine if the project will have an adverse impact on the historic character of the listed property.

Inclusion on the register also makes communities and homeowners eligible for historic preservation grants.

The nomination acknowledges New Mark Commons' place in history as an example of "Situated Modernism."  Builder Edmund J. Bennett and architects Keyes, Lethbridge, & Congdon emphasized open space, amenities and mature trees. The community was promoted as "a Twentieth Century village that's one foot in the future and a step back to a better time." Like its contemporaries Reston and Columbia, it also features a lake, even though it reduced Bennett's profits to build it.

Included in the staff report and attachments are many other interesting details on the development and features of New Mark Commons. It's very much worth a read for those interested in Rockville history, planning, architecture, and the times in which this neighborhood was constructed.

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