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Montgomery County

Saturday, May 18, 2024

10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.


Tickets can be purchased on the tour day at all locations EXCEPT #6 & #7. 

Cash or check is accepted. Only Stop# 5 and #stop #10 will offer

the opportunity to purchase tickets with a credit card. 


You are always welcome to start the tour at any location. 

Please note that the private homes on this tour are not ADA accessible and we recommend care when walking on walks and lawns and along public roads–we thank the owners for opening their homes to tour goers. Pilgrims assume responsibility for their own safety

when driving, parking and walking on the tour.


Scotland and Montgomery County Prior to European colonization, the land now known as Montgomery County was approximately 500 square miles of virgin forests crossed by the creeks and small streams that feed the Potomac and Patuxent rivers. A few small villages of native Americans known as the Piscataway tribe, from the Algonquian people, were scattered across the southern portions of the county. In 1634, two ships, the Ark and the Dove, brought the first English settlers to Maryland, including the son of “Lord Baltimore,” who had been granted rights to the land by the King of England. Three enslaved Africans were also aboard. By 1664, Black enslavement was written into Maryland law and would persist in the county until 1864 when voters approved a new state constitution abolishing slavery. The constitution took effect on November 1, which is now celebrated in Maryland as Emancipation Day. In 1867, former enslaved person Henry Dove was one of twenty signers of the Black declaration of educational independence for the county. Though he could neither read nor write, he left his mark on the document that pledged all financial support necessary for a school for Black children. This led to the construction of a school at the community Dove co-founded, now known as Scotland in Potomac, circa 1880. Scotland, however, was one of the last communities to be connected to modern amenities such as running water, public sewer, and trash collection. After a nationally prominent community effort called “Save Our Scotland” launched in 1965, the local government was forced to end many discriminatory policies at Scotland and the more than forty other Black communities that formed in the county after the Civil War. Today, Montgomery County is one of the most diverse regions in America. Properties on this tour represent the evolution of the river-front region, from its agrarian past to becoming one of the most affluent communities in the nation.


What’s In A Name

The name of Scotland often brings confusion. The Black settlement along Seven Locks Road, a dirt-covered thoroughfare, was originally named Snakes Den in deference to the creek that once supplied drinking water for the community. In approximately 1920, an abandoned sign from a nearby housing development for “New Scots Land”—in reference to early white Scottish settlers in the county—was moved to Snakes Den and erected

in a prominent location. The name Scotland stuck.



Chairs: Bernard Scott, 443-324-6153; Paul Tukey, 207-252-0869.

Committee: Publicity and Advertising:

Kenneth Cummins. Luncheon: Mary Crawford. Volunteers and Hospitality: April Scott. Wayfinding: Alan Heard. Parking and Traffic: Kip Wilson.

Treasurer: Michelle Dove.

For information on the day of the tour, call Bernard Scott at 443-324-6153 or Paul Tukey at 207-252-0869.


Special Project: Proceeds from this tour will benefit the 2nd Century Project for the Scotland African Methodist

Episcopal Zion Church, which was catastrophically flooded in 2019. The project will restore and expand the original structure, which is listed on the Maryland Registry of Historic Sites and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024.

The Scotland Community Reception /Luncheon: Congregants of the Scotland AME Zion Church will prepare and serve an authentic southern fried chicken luncheon as a fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Bette Thompson Scotland Neighborhood Recreation Center at 7700 Scotland Drive, which is just off Seven Locks Road. Descendants of the founders of the Scotland community, the first location that people of color owned land in Potomac, MD, will share their history. Luncheon fee: $20 per person. Lunch purchases do not require a reservation. 

While You’re Here: In addition to the ten locations on our tour, we urge you to visit the historic C&O Canal, with numerous lockhouses and other points of interest that date back more than

a century.

#1. Milton / Loughborough House

5312 Allandale Road Bethesda 20816.


This expansive stone structure surrounded by lovely gardens is considered Montgomery County’s

oldest house—dating to a time when nearby River Road evolved from a native American trail along the Potomac River. The left (easternmost) wing, built around 1700, is said to have served as a Dutch trading post and tavern. It lends part of its modern name to Nathan Loughborough, the U.S. Controller of the Treasury under our second president, John Adams. Loughborough expanded the home in 1847 and the current owners honor all the grandeur associated with a 1975 listing on the National Register of Historic Places. “You don’t own a home like this, rather you become stewards,” says the owner of the past 40 years.

#2. Three Fox Pond

9916 Logan Drive, Potomac 20854.


Set on 14 acres at the site of rich Potomac history, this property features one of the town’s most beautiful private gardens. Carderock rubblestone, from historic Stoneyhurst Quarry on River Road, is a main feature of the modern house that is furnished in a French country aesthetic. It’s the plants, however, both flowing and neatly ordered, that may be the lasting memory of your visit. A quatrefoil fountain, draped in lotus and water lilies, sparkles next to a remodeled horse stable turned garden cottage. A Victorian style greenhouse from England, by Hartley Botanic, is filled with exotic tropicals. Behind the stone arch next to the greenhouse, you’ll also find a Japanese garden, with waterfalls and large koi. All six species of Maryland woodpeckers, as well as barred owls, eastern bluebirds, blue herons, and several red-tailed hawks all nest on the property that contains an abandoned gold mine. 

#3. John McDonald House

10600 River Road, Potomac 20854.


Constructed circa 1820 by Thomas L. Offutt, one of several family members who acquired land in the area, the house was located near a small mercantile hub known as Offutt’s Crossroads. After the Civil War, John McDonald, a cavalry captain in the Union army, purchased the property and moved there to become a farmer. McDonald was elected to serve in the Maryland House of Delegates as state comptroller and later became the first Republican Congressman of the Sixth District of Maryland. He is credited with changing the name of the community from Offutt’s Crossroads to Potomac to satisfy postal service requirements. The original McDonald House burned in 1873 and was rebuilt on the original foundation shortly thereafter. The three-bay front porch and the center cross gable are modern restorations of features that were part of the 1870s reconstruction. 

#4.  Dr. Cephas Willett House

10029 Gable Manor Court, Potomac 20854.


Built circa 1870 for the town’s physician, this home is named in some local literature as the oldest remaining dwelling in Potomac Village proper, though the core of the neighboring Pleasant View House (on this tour) is likely much older. Dr. Willett, interestingly, sold 26.5 acres of land to formerly enslaved person Henry Dove, one of the Black founders of our tour hosts, the Scotland community, at the site of what is now Cabin John Village. The Willett House was originally abutted by a meat house, hen house, and stable on four acres, but is now part of an upscale housing development. The most notable historic feature is the gingerbread (aka bargeboard) lattice work and porch. The interior is private, but the current owners welcome an exploration of their modest yard, which has been tastefully restored.

#5. Pleasant View House

10301 Falls Road, Potomac 20854.


This house was once slated for demolition to make way for road straightening. Having discovered the core building’s age—likely dating to the 1700s—the current owners fought to keep the home intact. The main structural elements of the house were built with an adze and hand auger, using mortise and tenon and wood pegs. All original framing materials were simply trees skinned of their bark. The original pine floor joists and roof rafters are still visible and most of the original framing remains inside the walls. A hand dug stone well shaft is still visible in the garden. This visit to the sprawling six-acre site, unusual in a village setting, will include an Open Garden Day for the just-planted Harvest Share community garden, as well as an Antique Car Show with several vintage vehicles.

#6. Scotland Community

7700 Scotland Drive, Potomac 20854.


Known as the historic site where the first formerly enslaved people of color owned land in Potomac, this ten-acre tract—along with the one-acre site for the Scotland African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church a quarter mile to the north—is all that remains of a vibrant Black settlement that once stretched for more than two miles along Seven Locks Road. In 1965, Scotland’s substandard living conditions inspired the formation of the federal office of Housing and Urban Development and, in 1968, a HUD loan—the first of its kind in the nation—paved the way for the 100 housing units that remain today. The residents of Scotland, as an added fundraiser for their church restoration, are preparing a home-cooked southern fried chicken lunch for Pilgrims. Community history and meals will be shared at the Bette Thompson Community Center, a modern recreation facility named for a long-time Scotland matriarch. Like many others who still reside in Scotland today, Ms. Thompson was a descendent of the original founders of the community.

To drive by the Scotland AME Zion Church during your tour, take a Right out of the Scotland Community onto Seven Locks Road. The historic church (under construction) is on the left.

#7. Glenstone

12100 Glen Road, Potomac 20854.


Founded with the mission to seamlessly integrate art, architecture, and nature, Glenstone is a contemporary art museum situated within nearly 300 acres. The landscape includes trails, streams, meadows, forests, and outdoor sculptures throughout. The core of the museum is a collection of post-World War II art, which traces historic shifts in the experience and understanding of art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These works are presented in a series of refined indoor and outdoor spaces designed to facilitate meaningful encounters for visitors. Glenstone will welcome MHG Pilgrims beginning at

10 a.m. For your next visit, tickets are always free, but require a reservation. Students ages 12 and up, educators, active-duty and veteran military members, and museum professionals are eligible to come as walk-ins with no reservation, including one guest. Additionally, anyone who arrives at Glenstone via Ride-On bus route 301, is eligible for walk-in entry.

#8.  The Old White House

12635 Glen Road, Potomac 20854.


The many phases of the Hatton A. Waters House, now known as The Old White House, have been a fixture at the historic intersection of Travilah Road and Glen Road for approximately 250 years. When the current owner salvaged the property in 2018, the building had fallen into ruin. Now at midpoint of a restoration project, the house has been stripped to bare framing and timbers—which

reveals three centuries of varying construction techniques. The current house was framed over a log cabin, which was partially burned during the Civil War, and the visible charring remains. Original hand-hewn logs can be seen in the basement. An early toilet, invented by J.A. Vogel of Wilmington, DE can be seen in the outhouse in the side yard.

#9. The Siegel House

11504 Dahlia Terrace, Potomac 20854.


Nestled into the sanguine river-front promontory known as Merry-Go-Round Farm, this house represents the singular talents of residential architect Jim Rill and the vision of community founders Tyler and Bess Abell, who called for all residences to be an “antidote to the oversized, overdone and overexposed trend in high-end area homes.” From the roadway, this is an unassuming “arts and crafts” style structure. Inside, room after room in the layered 7,200 square-foot space reveals comfort, taste, and exquisite craftsmanship. The basement game room is must-see. The common areas of the community—which takes its name from a book and syndicated

column by noted journalist Drew Pearson, who once owned the property—features an equestrian center with two well-maintained stables, miles of forest trails, three small lakes, several large rolling fields, and nearly a mile of frontage on the C&O Canal. 

#10. Signal Tree House

13320 Signal Tree Lane, Rockville 20854.


A breathtaking 27,000 square-foot home with a luxuriant formal landscape, this property brings old-world Italy to modern northwest Potomac. The original owners took three years beginning in 2004 to painstakingly ensure handcrafted, reclaimed, and imported antique European materials were carefully nestled into their new setting. The results were immense, with a cobblestone piazza, leading to an elegant entry salon and all the other treasures within. Signal Tree is an homage to the exquisite warmth and history of Italia—built to evoke a borgo, an Italian hilltop village that expanded over centuries, merging buildings with diverse uses and architectural styles into a single luxurious home. Even the doors are a special treat. Handcrafted by the renowned master woodworker Nick Bruford of Artisans du Bois, nearly 100 stunning interior and exterior entryways were crafted for the property.

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