Preserve America Community:
Rockville, Maryland, (population 65,000) is one of the state’s oldest towns, dating back to the Colonial period, when it was a crossroads hamlet along the “great road” between Georgetown and Frederick. It was also well known for Hungerford’s Tavern. In 1774 Rockville patriots at the tavern issued the “Hungerford Resolves,” calling for a boycott of British goods in response to the Boston Harbor Blockade.
Montgomery County was created out of Frederick County in 1776, and the crossroads became site of the Montgomery County Courthouse. The Maryland General Assembly surveyed the town in 1801 and named it Rockville because of its proximity to Rock Creek.
Rockville incorporated in 1860, and in 1873 the metropolitan branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad arrived, with frequent service to Washington D.C. Rockville became a summer resort known for its elevated, healthy environment and several hotels.
The 1883 Civil Service Act, which opened up hiring for federal jobs on the basis of merit, led to the development of Rockville’s Victorian railroad suburbs West End Park and Rockville Park. Population growth slowed in the early 20th century but boomed following World War II, and the city became a burgeoning suburb of Washington, D.C. Rockville is now home to several international science and technology corporations.
Visitors can tour the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine, which highlights the changes in medical science that occurred during the career of Dr. Edward E. Stonestreet. Built in 1852, this one-room Gothic Revival doctor’s office features medical artifacts and implements.
The Montgomery County Historical Society is housed in Rockville’s 1815 Federal-style Beall-Dawson house. The 1926 Glenview Mansion/Civic Center Park, listed on the National Register, offers docent-led tours, concerts, and art shows. Dawson Farm Park, also listed on the National Register, includes interpretive signs and exhibits. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their daughter, Frances, are buried at the historic St. Mary’s Church cemetery in Rockville.
“Explore Rockville” features sites, extant and non-extant, that existed in the city between 1801 and 1850. The African American Heritage Walking tour documents people and places in downtown Rockville from the 18th through the 20th centuries.
The Peerless Rockville organization offers a dozen guided walking tours, several self-guided tours, including four cycling routes, and a historic scavenger hunt. Peerless Rockville is housed in the historic Red Brick Courthouse in the town center. The organization also works to adapt buildings such as the B & O Railroad Station, the Red Brick Courthouse, the Montrose School, and the Wire Hardware Store for current uses and to help property owners with preservation.
The annual Montgomery County Heritage Days celebration includes sites and events in Rockville.
For more information
City of Rockville: www.rockvillemd.gov
Montgomery County Historical Society: www.montgomeryhistory.org
Posted March 9, 2009