Michael O. Bourne
Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House
11715, Meeting House Road, Sandy Spring, Montgomery County
The Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House is a large, Flemish bond brick, Federal-style Quaker Meeting House built in 1817. It is six bays long and three deep, and 2 1/2 stories in height with a broad steeply pitched gable roof and flush chimneys at either end. The west facade holds two entrances, in the second and fifth bays, and a door in the central bay of each other facade of the building. Each has a multi-paned transom and a flat brick arch over a three-paneled double door. Windows are 12/12 on the first floor and 12/8 on the second, also with flat brick arches. A hip-roofed porch on turned columns with square bases covers the first story of the west facade. Two small windows pierce the gable end in the attic level. The interior is entirely open, with a flat ceiling under which is a paneled and plastered gallery supported by simple square posts.
In 1751, James Brooke received a 392-acre tract of land from his father-in-law, Richard Snowden, owner of Snowden's Manor Enlarged. Brooke deeded 2 acres for the use of the Quaker Meeting and 1 acre for a cemetery where he and many of his descendants were buried. The Friends established their Meeting, and gave to their church the name of the nearest body of water, the Sandy Spring. For 64 years they used a log house already on the site, and built the present Meeting House in 1817. The church tract forms the heart of the Quaker community, founded by Brooke. In the succeeding years, his remaining land passed to his grand-daughter, Deborah, and her husband, William Stabler, strong believers and staunch participants of the Quaker faith. Several figures of national importance--the first President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the inventor of an early refrigerator and an innovational deep plow; the designer of the first iron hull steamboat; a surveyor of the Louisiana Purchase; the authoress of a well-used mid-19th century cookbook; and the designer of seals used by the United States House of Representatives and the Senate--were associated with the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House. They shared a common Quaker heritage as well as family ties with three "founding" families of the Meeting and the Sandy Spring area of Montgomery County, the Brookes, the Thomases, and the Snowdens.