Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Pinecrest Recreation Center is Historic

The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission has added plans to add the Pinecrest Recreation Building to the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation.  This report says that the Pinecrest building is representative of "Maturing Park Infrastructure".  The Hillandale  Recreation Center  is also an example of park buildings from the era, but it was not eligible for historic preservation due to significant renovations done to the building in the 1980s.  The Pinecrest building was constructed sometime between July 1944 (when the property for Pinecrest Park was acquired) and April of 1946.

Pinecrest Recreation Center today.  Image from M-NCPPC.
"With increased wartime restrictions, particularly on gasoline, M-NCPPC recognized that local citizens, by necessity, would seek recreation close to home and that existing recreation facilities would be used for a variety of pursuits – physical fitness programs for schools, adult excursions, and children’s programming geared at inspiring young boys and girls to become more active. Understanding that the population growth in Montgomery County was directly correlated to the war effort centered in Washington, D.C., it was proposed that the Lanham Act be utilized to construct new recreation facilities in already acquired, but undeveloped areas, such as Woodmoore [sic]. As such, these facilities were to accommodate the growing suburbs beyond the original stream valley parks."
Pinecrest Recreation Building in 1955.  Photo from M-NCPPC
The report goes on to say that Pinecrest and Hillandale served as examples for future recreation built across the county.  The first recorded event held at the new building was in April of 1946.  It was a presentation about education by E. Merritt Douglas, who was then principal of Montgomery Blair High School.  The building was proposed for replacement in the late 1970's, but neighbors in Woodmoor objected as it was still in good condition.  It was renovated in 1987, with the addition of vinyl siding and an upgrade of the kitchen facilities and insulation.  This building has served as the de facto community center of Woodmoor for the past 70 years.  It hosts camps in the summer and community events throughout the year, such as the Oktoberfest, 4th of July festivities, and WPCA meetings.  More elaborate details about the building can be found in this Maryland Inventory of  Historic Properties Form.

The Pinecrest building in M-NCPPC's 1962 "Guide to Recreation Centers"
I've always liked the Pinecrest Rec Center because it reminds me of summer.  My family would rent it out on July 4th for our extended family gatherings.  Good times.  If anyone has additional information, memories or stories about the Rec Center or the park in general, feel free to share.

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