History + Heritage

Spend Four Days Exploring Montgomery County’s Historical Sites

As one of Maryland’s oldest communities, Montgomery County, Maryland has put considerable effort into preserving and sharing the history of the area for future generations to enjoy. Numerous publicly accessible historical attractions make Montgomery County an ideal weekend destination for history buffs looking to see the past come to life.

Day One

Kick the weekend off with a trip to the Beall-Dawson House in Rockville, MD. The Beall-Dawson House was built in 1815 by Upton Beall, a wealthy man who served as Clerk of the Court for Montgomery County. The largest and most impressive house in Rockville at the time, the brick estate was designed to reflect Beall’s wealth and status and provide a home for him, his wife and three daughters. The house was then owned by the Dawson family and eventually the Davis family before being purchased again in the 1960’s by the City of Rockville. Today, the house still contains most of its original architecture, including the indoor slave quarters, and serves as a museum of life in 19th Century Rockville.

Day Two

Looking for more historical homes? Head to the Clara Barton House in Glen Echo, MD. The nine-acre historical site was converted to a museum in 1974 to honor the life and work of its previous owner Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross famed for her medical care and service to soldiers in the Civil War.

Next, head next door to Glen Echo Park. This former amusement park turned artist collective still features much of its original art deco architecture. The park is home to 13 resident artists and arts organizations, a thriving social dance program, a restored 1921 Dentzel Carousel, two award-winning children’s theaters, a weekend drop-in art program for children, numerous art studios and galleries, a nature program, and hundreds of classes in visual and performing arts, including ceramics, painting, photography, glass, music, dance, and more!

Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD
Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD

Day Three

Start your morning with a trek to experience the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Operating for nearly 100 years, the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market from the Allegheny Mountains. Stretching for 184.5 miles, the canal runs along the Potomac River from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD and serves as an excellent walking and bike path. Take a ride on a historic canal boat pulled by a mule and learn about the area from a National Park Ranger at Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center.

Day Four

Finally, head over to Montgomery County’s Agricultural History Farm. The farm offers a unique perspective on the county’s rich farming heritage. Visitors can get a breath of fresh air at this scenic 455-acre park by enjoying the rolling hills, open fields, and variety of farm animals. The farm provides visitors of all ages a taste of farm life from the 1850’s to the present through hands-on activities and experiences of a working farm.