Certain properties in the City of Rockville are designated as local historic districts in order to preserve their historic character and relevance to Rockville’s heritage. Historic designation is a recognition of the importance of a property’s structure or landscape to the Rockville community and can provide financial benefits to the owner. Designation also places a higher standard on the maintenance, alteration, or removal of structures than other properties in the city not deemed of historical significance.
In recommending the establishment of a Historic District, the Historic District Commission (HDC) considers the historic significance of either multi-site historic districts or single-site historic districts. Multi-site districts have more than one property that contributes to the overall character or history that is to be preserved, such as the West Montgomery Avenue Historic District. Single-site districts contain one building and its accessories, if present. The Allnutt House at 541 Beall Avenue is a good example of a single-site historic district.
Any person may nominate a property for historic district review by the HDC. A structure that is the subject of a demolition application is also automatically reviewed by Historic Preservation staff and the Historic District Commission (HDC) for significance to the City under Section 25.14.d.1 (c) of the Zoning Ordinance.
Historic District Criteria
Any building in the City that meets adopted criteria of architectural, cultural, historical, landscape or archaeological significance is potentially eligible. Intangible resource such as folklore and oral histories are important, but for this purpose are to be considered supportive resources.
Historic Districts can be described as single resources or a contiguous group of buildings, structures, appurtenances, environmental settings, sites, objects and spaces, which reflect the following qualifications:
- Events: Structures and sites associated with events, or pattern of events or historic trends, that are considered important, or significant, in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, or national history and social development.
- Persons: Structures and sites associated with the lives of persons making significant contributions in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, or national history, and which illustrate the person’s important achievements.
- Cultural: Structures and sites significant to the cultural traditions of a community, such as associated with the development of the culture of a particular local ethnic group.
- Architecture: Properties significant for their physical design or construction, including architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and artwork.
Properties that are determined to be of historical or cultural significance must also have sufficient integrity to convey the sense and time of its significance. Elements of integrity for historical significance are:
- Location: Areas which consist of a contiguous grouping of buildings, sites, objects and spaces, a majority of which continue to exist within the area where they were first created in a mutual relationship of traditional acceptability.
- Design: Areas that have a sense of cohesiveness expressed through a similarity and/or variety of detail relatedness, architectural or otherwise, based upon the abstracts of aesthetic quality. These include scale, height, proportion, materials, colors, textures, rhythm, silhouette, siting, etc.
- Setting: Areas those are readily definable by man-made and/or natural boundaries and/or which have a major focal point or points within the given area.
- Materials: Areas that have a sense of cohesiveness expressed through a similarity and/or variety of material relatedness based upon traditional material use which contributes to a sense of locality.
- Workmanship: Areas that have a sense of homogeneity reflective of quality aesthetic effort of those periods that represent the majority percentage of the units within the District.
- Feeling: Areas that impact human consciousness with a sense of time and place.
- Association: Areas that relate nationally, state-wise or locally, to the lives of individuals, to events created by these individuals and/or to those visual aesthetic qualities that reflect the feeling of time and place.