Two Darnestown Area Locations Make 'Endangered Maryland 2013' List

The Preservation Maryland 2013 endangered list was released by MarylandLife.com. See which Darnestown area locations made the list.

Of the 10 landmark locations selected by Preservation Maryland for its "Endangered Maryland 2013" list, two fall in the Darnestown area of upper Montgomery County.

Posted by MarylandLife.com, the list includes Belward Farm and Montanverde.

The following excerpts were included in the "Endangered Maryland 2013" list:

Belward Farm:

The Civil War-era Belward Farm, owned by the Banks family for over 100 years, is one of the last remaining farms in the Gaithersburg region. To preserve it, Elizabeth Banks sold the land to Johns Hopkins at a greatly reduced price with the understanding that the university would build a small-scale facility there. Upon her death, Hopkins reneged. It now plans to erect a high-rise commercial complex on the site, which will destroy most of the pristine farm.   


An early 19th-century country house, Montanverde was once owned by Major George Peter, the last military officer commissioned by George Washington. During the War of 1812, Peter commanded the Georgetown Artillery and went on to become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Congress from Maryland’s Sixth District. Guests to the home included Zachary Taylor and Abraham Lincoln. Without intervention, the structure is at risk of being razed and its surrounding 13-acre property subdivided.

The full "Endangered Maryland 2013" list can be viewed here.

Donna Baron (Scale-it-back.com) April 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Did Johns Hopkins renege on its promise to build an academic campus on Belward Farm or did the University and the Montgomery County officials use the "academic campus" promise as a way to convince Elizabeth Banks to sell her farm for their own purposes? I suspect it was never Hopkins' intention to build an academic campus on Belward Farm. According to an internal Johns Hopkins letter, which can be read on www.scale-it-back.com , the county was frustrated with Ms. Banks' refusal to sell her property because she did not want residential or commercial development on her pristine historic farm. The county then brought in Johns Hopkins to convince her that an academic campus would be built on her land. She sold her property to Hopkins for a gift price based on the University's promises. The University wrote the deed with enough language to convince Ms. Banks they would honor her intentions, but they also built in loopholes to give the University "flexibility". Then the officials at Johns Hopkins simply waited for Ms. Banks to die. Soon after her passing, the county, at the request of Johns Hopkins, rezoned Belward Farm for a high-rise, high-density commercial office complex which will accommodate over 15,000 people. Ms. Banks' family has sued Johns Hopkins for breach of donor intent. For details, please see www.scale-it-back.com and http://northpotomac.patch.com/blog_posts/belward-farm-and-our-truth-and-transparency-challenged-county
Carol Van Dam Falk April 10, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Let's hope the Banks family prevails. -C. Falk
Thelma Husband Glowacki April 10, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Miss Banks was my 8th grade history teacher at Edwim W Broome Jr High School back in the '60s. I'm sure she taught a lot of Montgomery County residents. I had interaction with her in her later life as well. This is an outrage that the county and John Hopkins has taken advantage of her. She fought the county when they built Key West Highway and tried to raise her property tax rate. Seems like the county was after her land for a long time. I hope her family prevails as well to preserve her farm and honor her wishes.


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