On a ride last weekend, I decided to do a little exploring around the areas adjacent to Rock Creek Park, and I wandered toward the ruins of the National Park Seminary. While technically not in DC (it’s part of Forest Glen, a part of silver spgin, Maryland), it’s so close to the DC border it’s a “guilt by association” place.
Originally a finishing school for DC women, it was eventually turned into a rehabilitation and retraining facility for wounded soldiers, part of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The architecture was all over the map: Asian, Mission style, Tudor, and mixes of many others. It was an international-style oasis close to DC, where veterans could escape reality and recuperate: bowling, swimming, ballroom dancing and other activities ruled the roost.
In the early 1970s, the Army abandoned the facility, and while it was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1972, it fell into decay very quickly. There were calls to demolish the place until recently.
But now, there’s hope: a new condo development (something I typically frown upon) is incorporating all of the still-extant buildings, integrating as many original features as possible. New houses have been built in sympathetic styles, as well.