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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jennifer Falkinburg, 08/23/2003
Kensington Historic District
Inventory No.: M: 31-6
Date Listed: 9/4/1980
Location: Kensington, Montgomery County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1894-early 20th century
Description: The Kensington Historic District is a primarily residential neighborhood with a small commercial section at the northern boundary along Howard Street at the railroad tracks. The setting is one of a turn-of-the-20th-century garden suburb with curved drives winding through landscaped blocks with the houses placed with a uniform setback among tall trees. The Kensington Historic District, the core of the original town that was incorporated in 1894, is dominated by large late-19th and early-20th century houses, many with wraparound porches, stained glass windows, and curving brick sidewalks. Large well-kept lawns, ample sized lots, flowering shrubbery, and tree-lined streets contribute to the historic environment which Kensington still retains despite its close proximity to Washington, D.C. The residential buildings within the district are constructed mainly of wood; a few are stuccoed, probably over wood, with generally only the mid-20th century houses using brick. The commercial buildings are nearly all of masonry construction. Stylistically, most of the houses are of the Queen Anne, Shingle, Colonial Revival, Functional, and a Victorian style which often contains a strong Eastlakian element. The town hall is a 1927 castellated brick structure originally erected as a National Guard armory. An early-20th century gas station with a hip roof extending over the pumps and other c. 1920 one-story brick structures comprise the historic district. These brick buildings usually have large windows and brick laid in decorative patterns. Significance: The Kensington Historic District is a turn-of-the-20th-century urban, primarily residential area which incorporates most of the original core of the town of Kensington. The district is significant primarily for its collection of late-19th and early-20th century houses which stand in a garden-like setting of curving streets, tall trees, and mature shrubbery. The houses, which exhibit the influence of Queen Anne, Shingle, Eastlake, and Colonial Revival styles, have a uniformity of scale, design, and construction materials that combine with their juxtaposition and placement upon the gently sloping terrain to create a significant urban neighborhood which still retains much of its early-20th century environment. Kensington also contains the first public library in the county, as well as Brainard H. Warner's press building, where he published the first Republican newspaper in the county. Warner, who platted Kensington as a Victorian summer colony in 1890, also gave the town its library, which is still extant. Kensington was for many years known as Knowles Station, as the strain stopped on the former Knowles family farm. Warner changed the name to Kensington after visiting London's Kensington.
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