National Park Seminary, Bounded by Capitol Beltway (I-495), Linden Lane, Woodstove Avenue, & Smith Drive, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD
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Significance: The National Park Seminary was an elite women's college preparatory school and junior college operating from 1894 to 1942. Like many other female secondary schools created in the late nineteenth century, National Park Seminary offered its students advanced academic training while indoctrinating them in contemporary definitions of womanhood. National Park Seminary's spectacular assemblage of buildings together with the surrounding landscape provide a dramatic example of how a school's environs helped meet these ends. The site offers a valuable record of turn-of-the-century campus designs and, more specifically, pedagogical architecture and landscapes created for women. Embedded in the National Park Seminary grounds are also traces of earlier historic values, meanings, and uses which help to illuminate how and why it was utilized as a women's school and evolved into its current form. The lavish man-made and natural elements that define its campus, from the fanciful sorority houses to the forested ravine, preserved historic perceptions of the therapeutic and instructional value of art, architecture, and the natural world. The mix of architectural styles, from Classical to Romantic, used at National Park Seminary exemplifies the eclecticism that defined the era. The site also records the historic connections between park landscapes and suburbanization since the development of the site and its adjoining neighborhoods were directly tied to the creation of a rural retreat along one of D.C.'s early transportation corridors.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N697
Survey number: HABS MD-1109
Building/structure dates: 1887-1927 Initial Construction