Lincoln Park History Project

Finding, documenting, preserving, and presenting the rich cultural heritage of one of Rockville's oldest communities. We are creating a digital image archive of materials from individuals and families as well as churches, political and civic associations, businesses, schools, and community centers.

< bessie hill
This image is of Bessie Johnson Hill, circa 1895.
Source: Photo reprint by Judith Christensen, Maryland Historical Trust, Peerless Rockville Collection.

Short History of Lincoln Park

Adapted from a 1993 exhibit of Lincoln Park History, prepared by the City of Rockville
with help from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission.

Lincoln Park, one of the first real estate ventures for African-American homeowners in Montgomery County, is a suburban community begun in the 1890's that retains the feeling of a small town within the borders of Rockville. Lincoln Park residents have maintained strong ties to kin and community for generations, and descendants of many original homeowners still live in Lincoln Park.

About 40 communities in Montgomery County were settled by freed slaves in the 19th century. Many of these settlements still survive, including the Rockville communities of Lincoln Park, Haiti/Martin's Lane, and Janetta. [1]

Blacks generally had the opportunity to buy only marshy or rocky land, bad for farming and therefore not wanted by whites. Land ownership provided an important step towards greater prosperity. [2]

In spite of numerous obstacles, black communities of Montgomery County thrived in the early years of this century. In Rockville, black citizens owned farms and other businesses, drove the first cabs, and began the city's first volunteer fire department. [3]

In 1891, Union veteran William Wallace Welsh bought 8.06 acres of "Valentine Gardens Enlarged" at $100 an acre from Chandler Keys. This property was adjacent to properties already owned by blacks. He subdivided the land into quarter-acre lots, 50' wide by 200' deep, and sold them for $80 each.

Welsh ran a general store for over 40 years in the structure now known as the Wire Hardware Building. Early residents of Lincoln Park were regular customers and employees of Welsh's store. Welsh's was later known as Ward Brothers, and then as Wire and Lanier.

Lincoln Park now comprises several areas: the original 1891 Lincoln Park Subdivision, now the eastern portion of Lincoln Avenue; Welsh's 1892 First Addition to Lincoln Park now the east side of Douglass Avenue and the western portion of Lincoln Avenue; England's Second Addition, which more than doubled the size of Lincoln Park in 1926; the Griffith tract of 1906; and two apartment complexes, Rocklin Apartments and Lincoln Terrace.

Pre-Lincoln Park residents included Sidney and Solomon Williams, Priscilla Powers, Reuben and Rachel Hill, Susan Hebron, Wallace Martin and Charles Warren. The Hills, Palmers, Prathers, Howards, Shelton, Davises, and Johnsons were some of the original Lincoln Park families. [4]

Through World War II, the men of Lincoln Park worked as skilled craftsmen and as laborers on surrounding farms, on the B&O Railroad, at Hickerson's Mill, and at other Rockville businesses. Women generally worked as domestics in Rockville's West End or as midwives. Women also worked in the city's three hotels, including the Woodlawn Hotel, which later became Chestnut Lodge, a renowned psychiatric hospital. [5]

Lincoln Park was annexed to the city in 1949-50. Residents interviewed were unanimous in saying the biggest change in the history of Lincoln Park was the installation of utilities and the paving of roads. These services improved daily life immeasurably. Though most families had cars, dirt roads became impassible in bad weather.

That Lincoln Park maintains so much of its historic character in the midst of Rockville's expansion is a testament to the strength and values of its families. Lincoln Park celebrated its centennial in June of 1991.

"… I hope I live very much in the present and recall the past with joy… I remain a combination of eternal girl and strong, realistic woman, a compelling blend and as pure as unalloyed steel."

The above quote found in a letter from Wilma Bell's mother sums up the feeling of unity and strength in Lincoln Park.

[1] Pamela Porter, "Preserving a Fading Past/Fading Away: Blacks Try to Preserve Their Land, Heritage," Montgomery Journal, Nov. 15, 1988, p. 1.

[2] Carol Kruzoff, "Montgomery's Black Families: Researcher Compiles History" (Washington Post, Feb. 22, 1979) Maryland Weekly, p. 1 and George McDaniel, "Black Historical Resources in Upper Western Montgomery County: (Dickerson, MD, Sugarloaf Regional Trails, 1979) p. 8.

[3] James B. Moone, "Black Community Traces Its County Roots: Achievements of 110 Years to be Studied," Montgomery Journal, Oct. 23, 1984.

[4] Sharyn Duffin, "A Study of Historic Sites in the Metropolitan Regions of Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland Importantly Related to the History of Afro-Americans: Lincoln Park" (Washington, D.C.: Afro-American Institute for Historic Preservation and Community Development, August 1978) p. 37-38.

[5] Ibid. p. 39.

History of the Lincoln Park Community, by Sharyn Duffin

Written for inclusion in "A Study of Historic Sites in the Metropolitan Washington Regions of Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland Importantly Related to the History of Afro-Americans" (Washington, D.C.: Afro-American Institute for Historic Preservation and Community Development, August 1978) and posted with permission from Ms. Duffin, Professor Robert DeForrest representing the Institute, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Montgomery County experienced a building boom and the beginnings of suburban development between 1880 and 1900. New communities were built from Chevy Chase to Glen Echo and along the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad from Takoma Park to Washington Grove. One of these, near Rockville, was called Lincoln Park. The significance of Lincoln Park lies in the fact that it was one of the first real estate ventures in the county intended for sale to blacks. The origins of Lincoln Park, therefore, differ from those earlier black settlements. Some of these predated the Civil War; others traced their origins to a gift or purchase of land by freed slaves.

As early as 1793, blacks had owned property in Montgomery County. Sometimes a manumitted slave was able to accumulate sufficient funds to purchase lands. Others received gifts of property along with their freedom. According to James Wright in The Free Negro in Maryland , one Montgomery County master turned over 200 acres to a freed slave. By 1861, there were 51 black landowners with holdings totaling 17,142 acres in Montgomery County. Many had very small holdings, but one had land valued at more than $2,000. [1]Most were located in the Quaker community of Sandy Spring. The others were in the Cracklin, Clarksburg, Medley, and Rockville districts.

However, the majority of black communities were established after the Civil War. By 1866, all citizens were permitted to inherit, purchase, lease, sell and hold real and personal property. Members of the white community deeded or sold land to blacks. Newly freed slaves often continued to work for their former owners as tenants, later buying parcels of land from them, which eventually became black communities. These somewhat isolated black enclaves included Scotland, Tobytown, Emory Grove, Prathertown, Stewartown, and Martinsburg.

When Lincoln Park was established in 1891, the Rockville District's black population was living principally in five areas. There were small groups in Janetta (near Baltimore Road) and on Falls Road. Several families were located in the vicinity of Dover Road and in Avery near Rock Creek. The largest concentration was in the city itself, on Washington Street, Middle Lane, and Cairo Street, which are now Rockville's Central Business District. Another area became available when Nathan Bickford subdivided "Samuel Martin's real estate" along what is now Martin's Lane. This was shortly after the first lots in Lincoln Park was sold.

Creating a Subdivision

William Wallace Welsh purchased 8.06 acres of land at $100 per acre from Chandler Keys on February 3, 1891. [2] This land was part of a tract known as "Valentine's Garden Enlarged," a low, swampy area with poor soil east of the B&O tracks near Rockville. Nearby was another parcel of 7.1 acres belonging to the estate of Mary Dodd, which Welsh purchased the following year. [3] Welsh divided these parcels into 53 lots of approximately 50 by 200 feet and sold them initially for $80 a piece. The plat of the Keys property bears no date. However, it was apparently surveyed and platted as Lincoln Park prior to May 1891, since the first deed of sale was recorded in that month. The Dodd property was platted on June 27, 1892, and designation "The First Addition to Lincoln Park."[4]

Welsh, who had been a Union soldier, came to Rockville in 1865. He clerked in John H. Higgins' general store, and within a few years, had saved enough money to start his own business. He built a store near the B&O tracks and employed a number of blacks. Some of Welsh's employees and regular customers were to become early residents in Lincoln Park.

It was Welsh's interest in former slaves that prompted him to develop the Lincoln Park area and subdivide it for Negro homes. [5] The choice of location for the new subdivision was neither arbitrary nor random. It was well beyond the Rockville town limits and several black families already owned property in the vicinity. These included Solomon and Sidney Williams, Priscilla Powers, Reuben and Rachel Hill, Susan Hebron, and Horace and Emma Sedgewick. All but the Sedgewicks had been landowners there since the 1870's. [6]

Land sale was brisk from the beginning, and by 1904 over two-thirds of the Welsh property was sold. Some of the deeds were executed in the names of couples; most were in a man's name; but eight carried a woman's name. In fact, one of the earliest sales was made to Hulda Martin for Lot 3 Block 2.[7]) (It is said that she baked "beaten biscuits" daily and sold them door-to-door in Rockville.) Some individuals bought first one lot and later the adjacent one. For example, Wallace Martin bought Lot 5 Block 2 on Lincoln Avenue on May 21, 1891, and Lot 6 Block 2 five months later. [8] Charles Warren bought three contiguous lots on Douglass Avenue over a 12-year period. ([9]

The Community and its People

The lots had narrow frontage but were very deep, which allowed space behind the house for the well and privy to be situated a safe distance apart. Most landowners planted fruit trees and gardens and tended farm animals on their property.

Fewer than 30 houses had been constructed in Lincoln Park by 1920. About seven of these were rental units belonging to Welsh. Among the houses were at least two log cabins, one of which was the home of Tom Sedgewick, a Spanish American War veteran. Other houses were simple, two-story frame structures or bungalows, usually having a front porch. These buildings were designed to allow for later expansion. Larger, more ornate homes followed. These were similar to but less decorative than the newly built Victorian homes in the West End section of Rockville. A townhouse, built by George and Fanny Cook, is unique to all of Rockville. It is a copy of the architectural style they had admired while living in Pittsburgh. Fourteen pre-1920 structures remain.

Long-time residents of Lincoln Park remember that many of the men worked on surrounding farms, on the railroad, and at Hickerson's mill. At Welsh's they loaded and delivered coal, lumber, and grain. A few of the men were skilled carpenters, painters, and barbers. The women were employed as domestics in the large homes in the west end and in the three hotels which accommodated weekend and summer guests from Washington. One of these, the Woodlawn, has been used as a private sanitarium (Chestnut Lodge) since 1908.

Although Lincoln Park's origins differed from those of earlier black communities, it nonetheless shared one major characteristic with them: Many of the initial purchasers were related to one another either by blood or by marriage. Some were friends of long standing. For example, "Joseph and Martin Broadneck had escaped together from Virginia by swimming the Potomac to elude pursuing soldiers," Lorenzo Broadneck remembers his father telling him. As in most small towns, available mates were limited and the branches of the family trees inevitably continued to intertwine. This close-knit atmosphere resulted in the sharing of food and other necessities, and in the cooperative performance of major tasks such as butchering. Joyful or tragic events were shared by all.

Lincoln Park continued to grow through the 1890's. Although the community was physically isolated form the town, Rockville remained the hub of daily life. Rockville was the county seat, but it was also a small, rural town with Southern attitudes. Residents of Lincoln Park went there to work and to shop and to send their children to a segregated, two-room school there. The Eureka Tabernacle Number 29 of the Order of the Galilean Fishermen, the Odd Fellows, the Elks, the Lincoln Emancipation Club, and other black social and fraternal organizations held their activities there. Since the 1860's, two churches, both also located in Rockville, had served the black population in this area. They were the Jerusalem M.E. and the Clinton A.M.E. Zion. The church had been the only institution the black community had been able to develop during its enslavement, and it continued to play a central part in community life.

At the turn of the century, a group held regular worship services "under a big oak tree" on what was then called Beantown Road (east of Lincoln Park). This group, calling itself the First Montgomery Colored Baptist Church, was able to purchase property in 1902. [10]On this land, adjacent to Lincoln Park, they erected their house of worship, at last bringing an important institution to the community. They called their church Mount Calvary. The present edifice, completed in 1961, is the second to occupy this site.

The Griffith Tract

The Griffith property extended for some distance north and east of Lincoln Park. Although the deeds conveying this property mention a plat filed November 17, 1906, the plat is yet to be found. The lots were described in terms of "courses and distances, metes and bounds," with corners designated by iron stakes. However, the deeds also refer to the public road running from Horners Lane to Westmore Station. Apparently this missing plat recorded the subdivision of land along this road, which was intended to be an addition to Lincoln Park.

One purchase of significance to the entire community occurred on June 12, 1917, when the Order of the Galilean Fisherman acquired land from the Griffith tract for a cemetery. [11]This statewide organization was founded by Hansley and Harriet Nichols in Baltimore in 1856, at a time when most insurance companies refused to sell policies to blacks. Members paid into the treasury and, when injury or illness prevented work, they received weekly benefits of $4. Funeral expenses up to $100 were paid (a considerable sum in those days). The local chapter, Eureka Tabernacle Number 29, was established February 1, 1912. Among the first officers were Fred Howard, Henry Shelton, William Powell, Asbury Johnson, Evelyn Prather, and Martha Hall, all of whom were early residents of Lincoln Park.

Prior to the founding of the Fisherman's Cemetery, "Blacks had often buried their dead on their own land because there were no organized cemeteries that accepted blacks," says John C. Neel, the Right Worthy Ruler of Eureka Tabernacle Number 29. There had been a cemetery which predated Lincoln Park. On May 12, 1879, Solomon Williams had deeded a portion of his land to Adeline and Mary Harris for use as a "burying ground." It was used for about 40 years and was finally abandoned for unknown causes. Crude grave markers from this cemetery could be found as late as the 1960's. Another small cemetery was located on Martin's Lane.

The Fisherman's Cemetery is still in use. There is no longer the overwhelming need that formerly existed for the services once provided by the organization, since most people now have insurance and/or social security, and cemeteries are no longer segregated. Most of the Lodge'[s members are now quite elderly and plans are being made to transfer the cemetery's operation to Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

The Griffith property was sold between 1910 and 1926. The land that was not platted was also sold, but in acreage rather than lots. The remainder of the Welsh property was also sold during this period. Welsh was a victim of the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. After that, records indicate that his widow disposed of the remaining lots by 1926, including the rental units, with the exception of one. Thus, virtually all of Lincoln Park was under black ownership.

England's Addition

To the west of Lincoln Park, extending to the railroad track, was a parcel of land known as "the Big Woods," owned by a white man, Harrison L. England. In October 1926, England had this land platted and subdivided into 186 lots [12], as "England's Second Addition to Lincoln Park." At first, England's real estate company, Suburban Properties, sold only vacant lots, but by the early 1930's and until his death some 40 years later, it was building and selling houses as well. South of Lincoln Park was an England development for whites called Croydon Park. The two communities are situated back to back, but there was no contact between them.

England's Addition more than doubled the area of Lincoln Park and established the present boundaries. The community is bordered by the Chessie System tracks to the west, an industrial zone and a gas field to the north, Southlawn Industrial Park on the east, a residential area on the southeast, and another industrial zone on the southwest. These boundaries make further expansion of the neighborhood impossible. In the 1920's, the only exit from Lincoln Park was by way of Horners Lane to Baltimore or Park Road (then just a path) to the south or to the Westmore Station to the north. What is now Stonestreet was two unconnected segments known as Biltmore and Stonestreet. Frederick Avenue dead-ended at the railroad tracks. Lincoln Park was, for all intents and purposes, physically isolated. This isolation was somewhat beneficial in that it reinforced the cohesiveness of the community.

The Board of Education acquired the southwest corner of "England's Second Addition" to construct Lincoln High School, which opened in September, 1935. [14] It was constructed from an abandoned building moved from Takoma Park. A brick veneer was added. [15]Thus, for the first time, black students in Montgomery County were able to attend school beyond the seventh grade without having to go into the District of Columbia. Black students from all parts of the county were bused to Lincoln High School.

For many years, students "used texts discarded by the white schools when new ones were adopted. They were the last to receive new classroom equipment and innovative programs." [16]Until 1938, black teachers were paid according to a separate salary schedule at rates substantially less than their white counterparts. In 1945, two classrooms were added; in 1949, a temporary gymnasium with two classrooms were erected; and in 1950, a temporary shop and home economics rooms were added. Before the gymnasium was available, the students practiced at Fisherman's Hall and later, at Jim Davis' garage. In 1950, George Washington Carver High School opened near Lincoln Park , and Lincoln was used as a junior high school until it was closed in 1958. Since then the buildings have housed offices of the Board of Education. Until recently the site also served as a depot for school buses and other equipment.

Incorporation and Improvements

By the late 1940's, there were 50 black settlements of about 100 persons each in Montgomery County. According to Hiebert and MacMaster, the better black homes were in Lincoln Park, but even there there was no sewerage system. A number of homes in England's Addition had indoor plumbing, but in the older sections, privies were still common. Despite periodic protests, the county had never provided water, sewer facilities, paved streets, sidewalks, or street lights. Because the frequent protest continued to fall on deaf ears, representatives of Lincoln Park decided to cast their lot with the town of Rockville. They presented a petition to the Mayor and Council of Rockville on January 6, 1949, requesting incorporation into the Town of Rockville. According to the minutes of this meeting, the Mayor indicated that "legislation was being prepared" for the presentation to the State Legislature with "favorable recommendations" from the Mayor and Council. Residents of West End Park, Rockwood, and Haiti (Martins Lane) also petitioned for incorporation at that time. By the spring of that year, Lincoln Park was incorporated, and the Town Council levied taxes for "town benefits." Rockville was changing from a small town to a suburban community.

Even after incorporation, the hoped-for improvements were slow in coming. By 1954, there were a few street lights, only a few of the houses were hooked to the water system, and unpaved streets were regularly graded just before each election. Dickran Y. Hovsepian, who ran for Mayor with a new group, Citizens for Good Government (CCG), recalls, "We made the inadequate streets, paving, curbing, guttering and the serious drainage problem issues in the campaign." CGG swept the incumbents from office in 1954. The new officials immediately began providing the much needed services. Where the long-term improvements could not be made at once, temporary measures were adopted. For example, crushed stone was laid on the dirt streets until paving could be completed.

Multiple-Family Housing

As early as 1948, the Citizens' Council for Community Improvement urged county officials to take steps to improve the substandard housing conditions of many of the county's black residents, particularly those in the Middle Lane and Cairo Street area in Rockville. "The Montgomery County Housing Authority 'denied a public housing project' but urged the County Council to acquire land for public housing sites. No action resulted from these proposals." [17]

In 1953, Morris Stern, a local businessman, opened the eight-unit Lenmor Apartments in a converted movie theater on Frederick Avenue in Lincoln Park. This was the first true multiple-family dwelling in the community. Although this changed the character of the neighborhood, it also helped alleviate overcrowding in extended-family households. The post-World War II building boom had little or no effect on the housing supply for blacks. Even those who could afford homes outside of black communities could not buy them because of legal restrictions. Young couples found it necessary to continue living with relatives or leave the county altogether.

Housing was also a major issue in the 1954 CGG campaign. Hovsepian continues, "We endeavored to encourage developers and builders to build in the Lincoln Park area. George Kimmel (a developer) began to put up a few houses, and then we got the apartments when Mr. Stern felt that he could go in and provide some decent housing." In 1956, Stern opened the first of the Carver apartments on Lenmor Avenue. These spacious one and two-bedroom units rented for $79.50 and 89.50, respectively. Over the next eight years, five more buildings representing 46 units were constructed. Stern also built one single-family house and two duplexes and remodeled an existing house into a duplex.

Since the Middle Lane/Cairo Street area mentioned in the county's 1948 Housing Report was in Rockville, the Rockville City Council created the Rockville Housing Authority to address the problem. "In order to provide adequate housing, there was no other way except to go to the public housing," says Hovsepian.

Lincoln Terrace, a public housing project which opened in 1959 was built by the Rockville Housing Authority on land bought from the Fisherman's Lodge. [18]The project consists of 65 units of two-story row houses. Some of the new residents of this development had been moved from the Middle Lane/Cairo Street area.

In 1960, the Mayor and Council and the Housing Authority proposed building an additional 375 units of public housing in Lincoln Park. This would have uprooted six families who owned their homes. Also, other landowners would have lost over half of their property to the project. The residents of Lincoln Park resisted this proposal, pointing out that they were not objecting to the public housing per se, but that they felt that to crowd so many low-income rental units into Lincoln Park would be detrimental to the neighborhood. After a protracted struggle, the residents were successful in persuading the Council to adopt an alternate location.

During the discussions, the lack of recreational facilities in Lincoln Park was pointed out. As a result, the city later acquired some of the land in question for a Community Center and recreation area, with tennis and basketball courts, ballfields and playground equipment. There was also a push for an open-housing ordinance.

Lincoln Park Today

Lincoln Park is a low-to-moderate income, predominately black community of approximately 320 households. Most residents own their own homes, but some of the single-family houses are rented, in a number of instances from other residents or former residents of Lincoln Park. There is a pride in the community which is reflected in the well-kept appearance of the houses. The eclectic architecture reflects the history of the community, a striking difference from the standard subdivisions, where every fourth house is alike.

In 1970 the population was about 1,200. "In 1975, the same area had the largest percentage of skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers, compared with other areas in the city, but the second lowest percentage of professional and technical workers." [19]A large number of the residents are retired, living on fixed incomes, or semi-retired, having part-time jobs.

Many newcomers have settled in Lincoln Park in the last decade as additional housing has become available. At least three realtors have built several houses in the last two years, and the city contracted for others under a Housing and Urban Development Department-sponsored program. Other houses have become available as residents have increasingly taken advantage of open housing ordinances to move into other areas of the country. Also, as older residents pass away, their homes go on the market. Nonetheless, family ties remain strong. Some lots are occupied by the third, fourth, and even the fifth generation of the original owner's family. The closeness of the community is still evident at times of illness or death, when neighbor comes to the aid of neighbor. Numerous improvements and benefits have come to Lincoln Park, making it a better place to live, since its incorporation into Rockville.

This account must end on a sad note, however. When Metrorail is extended north of Rockville, two of the three western access roads will be closed, further isolating the community. Pressure to rezone land around the Metro station poses a threat as well to the existence of Lincoln Park. It is hard to predict the future of a community, even one that traces its roots back to 1891, in the face of such pressures.


[1] Hiebert, Ray Eldon and MacMaster, Richard W., A Grateful Remembrance(Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Government, 1976).

[2] Montgomery County Deed. Liber J.A. 23, Fol. 291.

[3] Ibid., Liber J.A. 33, Fol. 265

[4] Montgomery County Plats B34 and B35.

[5] Hopkins, G.M., Atlas of Montgomery County, Maryland, 1879(Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Historical Society, 1975) p. 8-9.

[6] Talbot, Bill, "Recollections of Rockville," Washington Star Magazine, August 28, 1966.

[7] Montgomery County Deeds, Liber J.A. 36, Fol. 193.

[8] Ibid., Liber J.A. 29, Fol. 428 and J.A. 33, Fol. 292.

[9] Ibid., Liber T.D. 19, Fol. 256; Liber 206, Fol. 279; and Liber 234, Fol. 217.

[10] Ibid., Liber T.D. 22, Fol. 400.

[11] Ibid., Liber 264, Fol. 199.

[12] Ibid., Liber E.B.P. 20, Fol. 265.

[13] Montgomery County Plats 342.

[14] Montgomery County Deeds, Liber 578, Fol. 489.

[15] Clarke, Nina, et. al., Notes from an unpublished manuscript.

[16] Hiebert and MacMaster op. cit., p. 280.

[17] Ibid., p. 338.

[18] Montgomery County Deeds, Liber 2330, Fol. 308.

[19] Montgomery County Sentinel, July 28, 1977.


City of Rockville, MD. Minutes of council meetings. January and June, 1949.

Clarke, Nina, et al., notes for an unpublished manuscript.

Hiebert, Ray Eldon and MacMaster, Richard W. A Grateful Remembrance. Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Government, 1976.

Hopkins, G.M. Atlas of Montgomery County, Maryland, 1879. Rockville, MD:

Montgomery County Historical Society, 1975.

Montgomery County Sentinel, July 28, 1977.

Montgomery County Deeds and Plats, Montgomery County Courthouse, Rockville, MD.

Roberts, Carey C. and Williams, Peggy, editors. Montgomery Almanac. Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Bicentennial Commission, 1976.

U.S. Census 1850, "Free Inhabitants of Montgomery County."

U.S. Census 1970.

"Walking Guide to Peerless Rockville," Rockville, MD: Peerless Rockville, 1975.

Welsh's Hardware Store ledger book, circa 1890.

Talbot, Bill. "Recollections of Rockville." Washington Star Magazine, August 28, 1960.

Social Institutions

Adapted from a 1993 exhibit of Lincoln Park History, prepared by the City of Rockville with help from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission.

The social life of black communities historically centered around three main institutions: churches, schools, and lodges or benefit societies.


Three churches have served Lincoln Park since its founding. Two church congregations, Jerusalem United Methodist and Clinton A.M.E. Zion, date from the 1802.

The small Gothic Revival structure which houses the Jerusalem United Methodist Church congregation has side buttresses and a front corner tower. The original wood-shingled octagonal steeple was removed. The tower now terminates in a square profile with crenellated corners. The bare brick walls were stuccoed over. Originally Jerusalem United Methodist had a mixed-race congregation, but it split over slavery during the Civil War. White congregants built what is now the Rockville United Methodist Church on West Montgomery Avenue.

The Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church originally stood in downtown Rockville. The present building is post-modern in style, combining the simple forms and surfaces of modern architecture with references to architecture of past periods. At Clinton A.M.E. Zion, the steep roof and round window recall medieval Gothic and 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture, while the entrance porch, with its simple columns, suggests classical antiquity. The columns support a gable or pediment, which is playfully echoed by the gable shape rising from the flat roof behind the porch.

The First Montgomery Colored Baptist Church was founded around 1900. Its original building on Horner's Lane was finished by 1902. Since 1910, it has been known as Mount Calvary Baptist Church. The original church was a one-room frame building. James Davis built the present building in the 1950's and early 1960's. He is said to have based the simple Gothic Revival design on a church in Bethesda.

Two gabled buildings run alongside each other, the north building housing the sanctuary. Both are constructed of buff-colored brick. A rose window adorns the peak of the sanctuary gable. A heavy molded brick surround frames the sharply pointed front door and is flanked by two simple doors. Buttresses divide the front wall into three bays and are also positioned along the sides. To the south, the building has a plain façade with a simple round window in the gable. The north side steps back, creating an interesting jagged outline with a sense of depth.

The Crusader Baptist Church was founded in 1985 by Reverend Rodney T. Davis. It is now housed in the old Lincoln High School building.

Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1902
Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1902.
Source: Church anniversary brochure.
Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1960
Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1960.
Source: Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Reverend James W. Davis
Reverend James W. Davis served Mount Calvary Baptist Church from 1920-1940. Source: Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Reverend Ernest Palmer
Reverend Ernest Palmer served Mount Calvary Baptist Church from 1940-1956. Source: Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Reverend Henry Davis
Reverend Henry Davis served Mount Calvary Baptist Church from 1956-1963. Source: Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Reverend Houston Brooks Reverend Houston Brooks served Mount Calvary Baptist Church from 1963-1986. Source: Mount Calvary Baptist Church.


Public schooling was available for black children in the metropolitan area from 1872. However, students could attend county schools, such as Rockville Colored Elementary School on North Washington Street, only up to seventh grade. Then, if they could afford to do so, students went on to high school in the District of Columbia. They had to ride the trolley or live with relatives in Washington during the week. The resources of black schools were inferior to those of white schools. Black students learned from outdated books and attended a shorter school year.

One of the most important educational landmarks in Montgomery County is Lincoln High School. It was the first junior high school for blacks in the county and is the oldest high school built for black students still standing.

An abandoned building from Takoma Park was moved to the site, covered with brick, given an Art Deco door surround, and opened as Lincoln High School in 1935. The first principal, Dr. Parlett Moore, headed a staff of five teachers, who taught a general curriculum, with agricultural, vocational, and home economics courses. The school provided an opportunity for young people from all over the County to meet.

In the late 1940's, Lincoln High bought surplus quonset huts from the Navy. Over the years, they served as a gymnasium, an auditorium, and for other purposes. In 1950, Carver High School on Hungerford Drive replaced Lincoln, which then became the only junior high in the county for black students.

Lincoln High School

Lincoln High School. Source: Montgomery County Historical Society

Lodges and Benefit Societies

Nineteenth-century African-American communities started their own organizations to handle the expenses of illness and death and to care for widows and orphans. Lodges were usually associated with the church.

The Order of the Galilean Fishermen was a statewide organization founded in 1856. The local chapter, Eureka Tabernacle #29, was established in 1912. Members paid into the treasury and were given $4 weekly in the event of illness or injury and funeral expenses up to $100.

The Galilean Fishermen established Fishermen's Cemetery at the corner of Frederick Avenue and Horners Lane in 1917. It is now known as the Mt. Calvary Baptist Cemetery. Earlier there were several family burial plots, such as the Martin family's on North Horner's Lane, as well as a small community burial plot on Frederick Avenue. When a house was erected on the Frederick Avenue property in the 1960's, the bodies were reinterred in Fishermen's Cemetery.

The Oddfellows Lodge was also in the same area. Across the street stood the famous Mr. T. Johnson store and pool hall on North Washington Street. The Oddfellows organized a field day for school children, a major annual event.

Rockville 30 Club
The Rockville 30 Club, a men's social group, is posed in front of the Galilean Fishermen's Hall on North Washington Street in 1930. The building was a social center for Rockville's black community for 75 years. Source: Peerless Rockville


Johnny's Market has been a Lincoln Park fixture for decades. Johnny's had a pool room and piano in the back and was a gathering place for teenagers. In earlier years, the market was known as the Claggett and Waters Market, for its then proprietors, Robert and Marilyn (Shelton) Claggett and Harry and Annie (Shelton) Waters. At one time, there had been four separate small markets in different sections of Lincoln Park.

At 311 Lincoln Avenue is the Harris House / Hicks Barber Shop. The original 1940 house is a tiny building, originally one room. For more than forty years, until it closed in 1985, this was the barbershop for Lincoln Park.

The section of the current Rockville Town Center which faces North Washington Street was owned by black families such as the Duffins, the Reddicks, and the Johnsons. There were five or six houses and the Rockville Colored Elementary School. The original Zion A.M.E. church was nearby. Lincoln Park residents shopped at the A&P, the Sanitary grocery store that later became the Safeway, Mr. Day's meat market, and the Piggly Wiggly.


In the summer, Lincoln Park residents swam at Sparrow's Beach near Annapolis. Most also attended camp meetings at Emory Grove. Camp meetings ran for four consecutive Sundays. Famous preachers spoke in the morning, followed in the afternoon by picnics, bake sales, and baseball games. The black community held its own horse show in both Norbeck and Sandy Spring. In Rockville, there were the Memorial Day parade and homecoming picnics.

The Howard Theater in Washington was one of a circuit of East Coast theaters for African-American entertainers. Others stops on the circuit were the Regal in Baltimore and the Apollo in New York City's Harlem. Percie Brown recalled many trips to the Howard, where she and her friends heard such performers as Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Pearl Bailey.

The Red Barn on Frederick Avenue, built in 1930, contained a movie house. It was converted into apartments in 1951. Now a single family home, built in 1990 and 1991, occupies the lot.

A dance hall, located on Frederick Avenue where the Rocklin apartments stand, provided facilities for dance classes. Mrs. Fraley, a teacher at Dunbar High School in Washington, taught classes several times a year.

The Lincoln Park Community Center now stands on land once owned by the Johnson family and provides classes and recreation.


Lincoln Park in the Civil Rights Era

Quoted with permission and small adaptations from Rockville: Portrait of a City, by Eileen S. McGuckian
(Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 2001). With thanks to the Mayor and Council of Rockville.

Gibbs vs. Broome:
Equal Pay for Black Educators and an Early Civil Rights Case for Thurgood Marshall

Children from Lincoln Park attended the Rockville Colored Elementary School, part of the separate system of free public education for black students. In 1936, the Rockville Colored Elementary School was the setting for an historical event. Teacher-principal William B. Gibbs, Jr. volunteered as a litigant to challenge Montgomery County’s practice of paying black teachers half the salary of white teachers with equal qualifications.

Mr. Gibbs earned $612 annually, compared with an average white teacher’s salary of $1,362. Attorneys for the Maryland Teachers’ Association, the black teacher’s organization, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), among them Thurgood Marshall, filed suit in circuit court. Several property owners in Haiti, a Rockville neighborhood, pledged their houses as collateral, should it be needed. They also helped to found the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP at Jerusalem Church.

In 1937, the school board settled out of court. The following year, black teachers received a pay raise equal to 50 percent of the discrepancy, and, beginning in 1938, all teachers were on the same salary scale. The victory was gained at a cost, however. Mr. Gibbs was fired on a technicality regarding his principal’s certificate, and he never taught in Maryland again.

In the summer of 1979, Mr. Gibbs returned to Rockville where he was honored for his part in the fight for equal rights for African Americans. At the Lincoln Park Community Center, he received multiple awards from the Montgomery County School Board, the Human Relations Commissions of both the city of Rockville and Montgomery County, the Black Coalition, the NAACP, the Black Educators' Association, the Progressive Citizens' Association, and the Merry Makers Club. (See The Montgomery Journal, 8/1/1979, p. A1.) For more recent research, see Gibbs v. Broome, Duffin, S.R. and Smith A.N., The Montgomery County Story, Winter 2020, Vol 62, No.2, at HSMC Library, and Rockville Memorial Library.

Protesting Segregation

An incident in the autumn of 1959 became a rallying point for equality. One evening, Mary Williams and her two young daughters sat down at the new HiBoy restaurant on North Washington Street and Frederick Avenue (Route 355). They had walked there from their home in Lincoln Park after receiving a flyer from the eatery, but Williams – the new president of the Montgomery County Branch of the NAACP – was denied service in the dining room.

Failing to come to terms with HiBoy's attorney, the NAACP took a cue from the boycotts in Montgomery, Alabama. By December, activists distributed five thousand flyers in Rockville asking people to "stay away from the HiBoy and tell the management why." Church leaders organized written protests against HiBoy's racist policy, and George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi party, based in Virginia, staged a counterprotest at HiBoy.

On July 10, 1960, twenty-five people were arrested as they staged a sit-in protesting segregation at the HiBoy. Rockville's Mayor Alexander J. Greene stated that, although the city lacked authority to "require desegregation in public eating establishments, personally I think it is wrong to advertise a restaurant or any business for use of the general public and then turn away a part of that public when it comes to be served."

In other anti-segregation demonstrations in the county at this time, protesters picketed Glen Echo Amusement Park's denial of entry to blacks, and Edward Johnson, a Lincoln Park businessman, was arrested when he insisted on being served at the Tastee Diner on East Montgomery Avenue.

The Hi Boy sit-in was one moment in a movement spreading across America. Not long after, four black college students refused to leave a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

NAACP Protest Flyer

First Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

Drawn with permission from Rockville: Portrait of a City by Eileen S. McGuckian (Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 2001), with thanks also to the Mayor and City Council of Rockville and to Wilma Bell.

By the turn of the twentieth century, Rockville's fire safety was in the hands of black uniformed volunteers supervised by George Meads, an African-American delivery man and deputy sheriff. Meads refused payment for his services as a fireman.

Henry Shelton, Sr., of Lincoln Park, was a captain in this first, loosely organized fire department. (Photo on the left below)

After a fire nearly consumed the downtown business district, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1921. Continuing a family tradition, Shelton's great-grandson, Timothy Bell, joined the department in 1985. The photo is from years when he served with Montgomery County's Hazardous Materials unit.

Maggie, Henry, Sr. and Kenneth Shelton
Maggie Wood Shelton (1873-1969), Henry Shelton, Sr. (1878-1947), and their son Kenneth Shelton (1909-1968). Circa 1910. Source: Wilma Bell.
Firefighter Timothy Bell
Firefighter Timothy Bell. Source: Wilma Bell.
Firefighter Timothy Bell
Firefighter Timothy Bell. Source: Wilma Bell.

Baseball in Lincoln Park

Baseball Hero of Lincoln Park

With contributions from historian Bill Hickman

Clarence Charles “Pint” Isreal was Rockville’s very own baseball star and Negro World Series champion.

Born in Marietta, Georgia, on February 15, 1918, Clarence Isreal grew up in Lincoln Park. After graduating from Lincoln High School in 1935, “Pint” played locally and in 1938 he signed with the Washington Royals, a semi-pro barnstorming team. In 1939, he played a higher level of semi-pro ball with the Washington Royal Giants, a team that played at Griffith Stadium in DC.

In 1940, Isreal joined the Newark Eagles team of the Negro National League. At second and third base, he was a hustler, a good fielder with good speed. From 1943 to 1945, he served in the military, starring on various baseball teams. In 1946, Isreal resumed his career with the Eagles. That season the team won the Negro National League Pennant. In the World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs, “Pint” started at third base in three games. An injury prevented his further participation. In the pivotal Game Six, he drew a walk and moved around the bases to score the Eagles’ first run. The Eagles won the game to extend the series, and went on to win the championship in the deciding Game Seven.

Isreal signed with the Homestead Grays in 1947, where Hall of Famer Bucky Leonard was among his teammates. “Pint” had been loaned to the Grays for two exhibition games in 1949, when additional Hall of Famers Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell were also with the team.

The following year, having retired from baseball, Isreal took a job as a technician at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked until 1973. But “Pint” continued to play ball, manage teams, and umpire games. In the late forties, he and his brothers Elbert and Dewey played locally on a team called the Legionnaires. Elbert Isreal went on to play infield for the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro American League in 1950.

In his community, “Pint” Isreal was known as a humanitarian and active church member. He served the youth of Lincoln Park as co-founder of the Black Angels Boys Club.

Clarence Isreal died on April 12, 1987. In Lincoln Park, he is well remembered and has been memorialized by the City of Rockville, which named a park with a ball field in his honor. In 2022, Bethesda Big Train Baseball established an annual Clarence “Pint” Isreal Juneteenth Classic game.

Clarence Isreal

Clarence 'Pint' Isreal, 1918-1987. Inscription reads 'Yours sincerely in sport'. Source: Courtesy of Robert Isreal and Peerless Rockville.

Rockville Colored Baseball Team

Rockville Colored Baseball Team posed at the stadium at 15th & H, NE, DC. Louis Hicks is fourth from the left in the back row. Circa 1900. Source: Peerless Rockville.

Petition for an African American School in Rockville

Researched and written by Sharyn R. Duffin

In February and March of 1867, twenty Rockville Black men pledged to support a school by taking responsibility for money “as may be necessary to pay the board and washing [laundry] of the teacher and to provide fuel and lights for the Schoolhouse.”

The men who signed the 1867 petition were a mixture of free men and former slaves who had gained freedom through a variety of methods. A few were born free, some manumitted, others purchased their freedom or joined the military. Most had been freed on November 1, 1864 by the state constitution; at least one was in the District of Columbia when an Act of Congress freed all enslaved persons living there. The signers ranged in age from 21 to 62 years of age. Most were illiterate; only five were able to sign their own names. Their occupations included laborers, farmhands, minister, pump maker, carpenters, shoemakers, whitewasher, and farmer. According to the Freedmen’s Bureau account of black property owners in Montgomery County in 1867, only five of the twenty owned land and personal property; six had only personal property, and nine had neither. As a sign of increasing prosperity, three more owned land by 1880.

The signers lived mainly in four areas: Martins Lane, Middle Lane/Washington Street, Great Falls Road, and Avery Road, or on the property of their employees. Most of these men lived out their lives in Rockville. The last one died in 1917. They were respected members of the community, leaders at the Jerusalem Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church and among the founders of Clinton African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. 

The following petition signers were residents of Lincoln Park:

Solomon Williams circa 1812–?

Solomon Williams’ origins are unknown. He was not listed among the slaves whose owners sought compensation after emancipation, but his wife Sidney, most of their children and some of their grandchildren were listed as property of May A. and Nannie Wootten. He was among the men who sought help from the Freedmen’s Bureau in recovering money collected for the school from John Mortimer Kilgour. In August 1868, he was also one of the trustees who purchased land from Mary Brashears for a school. Solomon Williams apparently had considerable influence. His sons, Richard and Hezekiah, and a son-in-law, Hillary Powell, added their names to the petition. Henry Dove and Tilghman Graham were extended family members. 

Reuben Hill c. 1832–1915

At the time of emancipation, Reuben Hill was enslaved by Samuel Stonestreet, Clerk of the Circuit Court. He was the third signer, with his mark, of the petition for a school on February 14 . Reuben’s marriage to a free woman, Rachel, was not recognized until after emancipation. They had seven children. Reuben and Rachel legally married in 1871 and purchased acreage near Lincoln Avenue, east of Horners Lane. They were one of five Black families recorded as landowners by 1879 in the area that would become Lincoln Park. Their property grew in 1880 when former confederate soldier Simeon Berry purchased land on Lincoln Avenue. Two days later, he sold half the land to Reuben’s oldest son and willed the remaining land and dwelling (now 305 Lincoln Avenue) to Reuben himself. The Hill family was well known in Rockville and Reuben worked at a local hotel and officiated at weddings and funerals. His son Reuben married George Blair’s daughter. Hill descendants continue to live in Montgomery County. See a picture of the Hill house in the section below about Lincoln Park architecture.

1867 school petition

The Architecture of Lincoln Park

adapted from a 1993 exhibit of Lincoln Park History prepared by the City of Rockville
with help from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission

The houses of Lincoln Park, like the majority of houses in America, are vernacular buildings. Vernacular architecture refers to structures designed by a builder, contractor, or homeowner rather than by a professional architect. They may follow an architectural style or share features of a number of different styles. Lincoln Park houses represent most major late 19th and 20th century styles of residential design. Lincoln Park has a distinctive land use pattern with large lots that are narrow and deep.

From its beginnings, Lincoln Park has been a community of great self-sufficiency. Many people were jacks-of-all-trades. People built their own houses and, with the help of family or friends, performed carpentry and all household repairs.

The homes and land of Lincoln Park were typically arranged as homesteads. Land was intensively cultivated and provided families with much of their food. Typical outbuildings included henhouses, hog pens, smokehouses and outhouses. Large vegetable gardens and sometimes small orchards were located near the house. Lincoln Park has many springs. Families drilled wells for water and also used springs for refrigeration. Families used wood- or coal-burning stoves for heating and cooking.

The first lot in Lincoln Park was sold to Ella Martin on June 30, 1891. Hulda Martin purchased a lot at approximately the same time. Ella Martin's house still stands at 327 Lincoln Avenue, inhabited by her descendants. Many of the original Lincoln Park houses still remain.

Four log houses still stood in the 1890's. Such houses were typical for the 19th century and usually had two rooms on each of two stories with wood floors and a foundation of stone piers and log walls joined at the corner by V-notches.

Of the original four log houses, three are notable: the present house at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and North Horner's Lane incorporates a log house. Reuben Hill's was of logs and the Powell family's log house was across Lincoln Avenue from the barbershop.

Frame Houses

Beginning in the 1880's and especially after 1900, two-story frame houses became more attractive to build than log houses. Although floor plans were similar, with two rooms on the first and second floors, the frame houses also had a central hall. Older frame houses in Lincoln Park generally are sheathed with German siding, which provided a weathertight seal and an attractive surface pattern.

Reuben Hill House, 305 Lincoln Avenue

Hill House, 305 Lincoln Avenue, drawing by Maureen McKay for Peerless Rockville Drawing by Maureen McKayfor Peerless Rockville calendar.

Reuben Hill (1832-1916) was born a slave of the Stonestreet family. In 1874, he and his free-born wife Rachel Martin bought land to the east of what would become Lincoln Park, where they first lived. They later built a home on what is now Lincoln Avenue. Their son, Reuben Thomas Hill (1856-1936), a skilled carpenter, built the present house in 1881. Now enlarged, it incorporates the original cottage, which was one room wide by two deep. The cross-gabled roof suggests Gothic Revival. Synthetic siding covers the original, probably German siding. It has a full-width front porch with a stickwork, ladder-shaped frieze. Various additions were made circa 1917.

Ella Martin House, 327 Lincoln Avenue

The house of Ella Martin, 327 Lincoln Avenue, was built in 1891. One of the first houses built in Lincoln Park, it is owned by the fourth generation of the family. The original house probably had two rooms on both the first and second floors. Each room had a potbellied stove. The house has its original siding, shutters, and shutter hardware. The frieze of the front porch is similar to that of the Reuben Hill house. The front gable contains an attic vent with a cutout design made by a jigsaw. Such wood features reflect the new machines of the 19th century. Sidelights flank the front door, a feature of Colonial Revival architecture and probably a later addition.

Hicks House, 605 Douglass Avenue

Joseph Hicks, the great-grandfather of Ardell Shirley Hilliard, who currently lives in this house, swam with Martin Broadneck across the James River in Virginia in 1860 to escape slavery. Both men built houses in the area that was to become Lincoln Park.

The Hicks house, a one-story frame structure dating from 1927, was built by Ardell Shirley Hilliard's maternal grandfather, Louis Hicks, as an investment for his daughter. The original house had four main rooms arranged in a square: front bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen. The house shows simple Colonial Revival features. Its symmetrical massing suggests a Cape Cod cottage. The projecting front porch is a vernacular version of a classical portico, a porch made of columns supporting a triangular pediment, or gable, found on ancient Greek and Roman temples.

Harrison England Houses

Harrison England developed much of the land that now comprises Lincoln Park and Croydon Park, the subdivision adjoining Lincoln Park to the south. Lincoln Park was probably his first building venture. England took pride in building simple but substantial homes. His Lincoln Park houses are mostly stuccoed frame structures. England had no architectural training. He hired contractors and built following standard patterns, probably obtained from magazines and books. Before Rockville incorporated Lincoln Park, Harrison England provided the first water lines.

Palmer House, 216 Frederick Avenue

The house has been the Palmer family home since the early 1930s. The Palmers kept chickens and hogs in the backyard. The large chicken shed still stands, but the slaughterhouse and large fenced hogpen no longer exist. Family members still occupy it as well as other homes on Douglass and Elizabeth Avenues.

The stuccoed house, built by Harrison England, has some bungalow features, notably the large front porch with short piers with splayed sides and the clipped, or jerkinhead, front gable. Behind the kitchen is a utility room, called the “pump room,” which once contained the pump and well. Each room downstairs had its own coal-burning stove, while upstairs rooms were heated by the stove pipes running through the walls. The Palmer house resembles the 1920's "Salem" model from the Sears catalog.

Queen Anne Style

Queen Anne Style house
George and Fanny Cooke House, 302 Lincoln Avenue

Drawing from Peerless Rockville calendar. (The drawing mistakes the house number.)

The Cookes built this handsome Queen Anne house in about 1895, copying rowhouses familiar to them from living in Pittsburgh. The house was bought by the Waters family in the 1930's and is still owned by a member of the family. The house may originally have had a 'twin' next door, though now it stands alone, a rowhouse without a row, like a slice from a pie.

American architects adopted the late 19th century English Queen Anne style. Favored for city rowhouses and large suburban dwellings, Queen Anne buildings freely use historical details, seen in elaborate shapes and surface patterns. The Cooke house is a two-story stuccoed brick building with a corbelled brick cornice. The windows have molded brick arches. Further information about  the Cooke house.

Shotgun Style

Hagar Cooke House, 808 Stonestreet Avenue

The shotgun house is a vernacular house type, consisting of two or more rooms placed one behind another, front to back. Common in many historical black communities, the shotgun house is believed to be an indigenous African house plan brought to the United States by way of the West Indies. It therefore represents an important link to African cultures.

Hager Cooke built the green shotgun house with the metal roof at 808 Stonestreet Avenue. Several prefabricated homes on Stonestreet Avenue and other houses in Lincoln Park are shotgun derivatives.

Arts and Crafts Style

The 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement resulted from a romantic interest on the part of designers and social reformers in the medieval past. They believed that using medieval architectural features such as asymmetrical massing, steeply pitched roofs, and a variety of materials would help maintain traditional values in a time of rapid change by recalling simpler days. Arts and Crafts houses use details from many styles. Some are similar to the Gothic Revival in the use of steep roofs and gables, though Arts and Crafts domestic architecture was modeled on vernacular houses rather than Gothic churches. The steep roofs and broad roof overhangs imply the shelter and security offered by home and family.

Isreal House, 200 Frederick Avenue

The Isreal house may have been the first built in Harrison England's Second Addition to Lincoln Park, though it is not an England house. Dewey Isreal's grandfather, Willis Isreal, commissioned it from another local builder. Willis and his wife Violet moved to Rockville from Georgia in the 1920s. He worked as a tenant farmer and handyman, and they had lived several places before buying their first house in Lincoln Park at 704 Stonestreet Avenue.

The stuccoed frame house at 200 Frederick Avenue has a pitched roof that extends over a full-width front porch. The decorative sawn-wood porch balusters show the influence of the Arts and Crafts style. The roof extends almost a foot at the sides of the house, exposing thin rafters. Except for minor changes, the Isreal house has not been altered since it was built.

Willis Isreal also had several houses built on Stonestreet for his daughters, including the white house built for Ida Summerour that still stands at the corner of Stonestreet and Ashley. Dewey's brother, Clarence, “Pint” Isreal, was the famous baseball player who played with the Newark Eagles in the Negro National League.

Davis House, 222 Frederick Avenue

The Davis house, at the corner of Frederick and Westmore Avenues, is a remarkable stuccoed structure with many unusual Arts and Crafts details. These include blue pressed-tin shingles and two parapeted porches. This latter porch is an arcade of Moorish ogee, or double-curved arches. The glass block window above the front door suggests the influence of Art Deco.

James N. Davis, Jr. designed and built this house over a period of about four years, beginning in the mid-1930's. Reverend James Davis, Jr. was the minister at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church for almost 20 years and built the present church. He also ran a trucking company, transporting building supplies to local construction sites. The buildings he saw while traveling gave him ideas for his own projects.

Honeymoon Cottages

Behind the main Davis house is a smaller building, also of stucco with a pressed-tin roof known as the Honeymoon Cottage. The Davises lived there while building the main house. Newly married couples lived there while saving money for their own houses.

Auto Shop

This business had a long and varied history. Reverend Davis ran the garage, later installing Esso gas pumps, opening a mom-and-pop store and delicatessen at the front of the garage where the office is now. It became a gathering place for local kids in the 1940's and 1950's and had a snack shop and a juke box. For many years, Reverend Davis made the garage available for high school basketball games.

The walls of the shop are made of terra-cotta block, and the floor of river rocks and broken bricks. The side walls have large glass block windows.

Howard Homeplace, 604 North Horner's Lane

Lucille Howard Davis's father, Fred Howard, the head painter at Chestnut Lodge, had this house built for his family. It stands next to the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, built on the site of the Shelton family homeplace. Lucille Davis, the mother of Reverend Rodney T. Davis, was born around 1916 in this house.

Warren House, 202 Frederick Avenue

This is a blue stuccoed house with Arts and Crafts influence visible in the steep front gable and the rambling, asymmetrical floor plane. The house looks deceptively small from the street. It was built in the 1950's by Charles Warren, son of the Douglass Avenue landowner who ran a plastering and stucco business in Rockville. Warren built the house with separate apartments on each floor, intended for his adult children. Over forty windows of different shapes were obtained from other buildings.


Bungalows are small houses, often just one story, dominated by large front porches and broad roofs with deep overhangs. They usually have exaggerated wood framing. Bungalows show the influence of many other styles, including the Arts and Crafts, Japanese, and Indian architecture, indicating the early twentieth-century interest in exotic cultures.

Shelton House, 651 North Horner's Lane

Kenneth Shelton's father, Henry Shelton, Sr., bought an acre on the east side of North Horner's Lane. He divided it in half for his two sons, each of whom built a bungalow on his property. Only this house remains. Kenneth Shelton, a plumber, and his cousin Colston Howard, a carpenter, built 651 Horner's Lane in 1931 for about $3,000.

The bungalow features porch columns taken from a house in the area that was being demolished. Other houses once stood nearby. North Horner's Lane formed a separate and distinct community from Lincoln Park.

Read further documentation of the Shelton house, which was presented to the City of Rockville Historic District Commission in 2001.

Ella Jackson Martin, sister of Kenneth Shelton's wife Ethel, also owned a small bungalow which still stands at 204 Frederick Avenue.

Colonial Revival

For most of the 20th century, architects and builders have been interested in the features of early American houses. Colonial Revival houses have a simple symmetrical massing, walls of clapboard or brick, and window and door openings framed by classical moldings.

Yates House, 901 Stonestreet Avenue

Raymond Yates designed this house and built it over four years in the late 1940's, working in the evenings and on weekends. He also built the house at 212 Elizabeth Avenue. Yates was a carpenter, cabinetmaker, and licensed electrician by trade, as well as a plumber, upholsterer, and artist. The Yates house has a Dutch Colonial gambrel roof, which is a roof that has two pitches on either side of the ridge as opposed to a simple pitched or a hipped roof. It is a frame structure covered with stucco. The projecting entry shows Arts and Crafts influence in its curved asymmetrical roofline and the use of windows of varied shapes and sizes.

Davis Homeplace, 807 Westmore

Reverend Davis bought the Westmore property from "Button" Griffith, and worked on the house with friends and family, starting in 1929. They cut down chestnut and oak trees on the property for lumber. The older sons helped their father build, and later they built or bought houses nearby. Jim, Joe, Frank, Henry, Ed, and Phillip all built their own houses in the immediate area. Joe Davis lives across Frederick Avenue from the Davis garage. Ed Davis built 805 Westmore, a similar house with a two-columned or piered portico. Henry Davis built 809 Westmore in the 1930's. Phillip lives at 806 Westmore, an England house. Richard lived at 804 Westmore. Frank Davis built 220 Elizabeth Avenue.

The homeplace at 807 Westmore has German siding, now covered with synthetic siding. The roof is a standing seam metal one. The family kept over 100 hogs in a large fenced area with a meathouse. They also had chickens and a large vegetable garden.

208 Lincoln Avenue

This Cape Cod cottage has a central chimney rising from the sloping face of the front roof. This placement can be seen on a number of houses in Lincoln Park and may indicate the presence originally of a stove rather than a fireplace. Lewis Monk, former principal of Lincoln High School, once lived here.

Ranch Style

Prather House, 203 Elizabeth Avenue

The Prather home is a rambler or ranch house of stuccoed concrete block. Its strong horizontal lines and deep roof overhang suggest the Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. The emphasis on horizontality was meant to suggest the seemingly endless space of the American continent. The dominant roof is a holdover from the Arts and Crafts movement, carrying a similar connotation of shelter and security.

Watson Prather, a retired inspector for the Naval Medical Hospital, designed and built this house with friends in the 1940's. The kitchen and carport were added around 1959. There is an unfinished basement under the kitchen.

Watson Prather's father, Henry Prather, lived in Lincoln Park in the small white house at 300 Frederick Avenue. Watson's grandfather owned 315 Lincoln Avenue, one of the first houses on the street. Mabel Prather's family came from the Quince Orchard area. Her parents moved to 907 Stonestreet Avenue, a home still occupied by family members. A sister lives next to the Prather home at the corner of Stonestreet and Elizabeth.


The Rocklin Apartments, originally named the Carver Apartments, were built in 1954. The Lincoln Terrace Apartments on Moore Drive are owned by the Rockville Housing Authority. Built in 1960, Lincoln Terrace was Rockville's first public housing. Several blocks to the west are the David Scull Apartments, which are not in Lincoln Park proper but are inhabited by many former Lincoln Park residents.

These apartment blocks reflect the utopian social ideals of the International Style, an architectural movement that sought to apply the benefits of industry and modern materials to housing. Apartments were arranged to provide ample light and air to each rooms. Windows and other features were designed to a standard size for economy in production and to provide a harmonious rhythm to facades.

Shelton House at 606 N. Horner's Lane. The lot was part of W.W. Welsh's original 1890 subdivision of Lincoln Park. It was sold to Christopher Columbus R. Patterson in 1893. Henry and Maggie Shelton built this house in 1914 and lived here for many years.
Source: Peerless Rockville. Drawing by Colleen King for 1980 calendar.

Shelton House at 606 N. Horner's Lane

The Louis Hicks House at 308 Lincoln Avenue. In later years, barber and musician Clinton Hicks lived here.
Source: Thomas Anderson and the Montgomery County Historical Society.

Hill House at 308 Lincoln Avenue

Lorenzo Dow Turner, 1917

lorenzo dow turner

Howard University Debate Team, 1913

Howard University Debate team

Turner is in the center of the photo above.

After finishing high school at the Howard University Academy in 1910, Turner entered the college. He stated that his two favorite extracurricular activities were debating and baseball. 

In 1917, he earned a Master's Degree in English at Harvard University and in 1926, he was awarded a PhD in English from the University of Chicago.

He returned to Howard University to teach and among his students was Zora Neale Hurston. She describes Professor Turner in Dust Tracks on a Road as "tall, lean with a head of wavy black hair above his thin aesthetic face...His delivery was soft and restrained. Listening to him, I decided that I must be an English teacher." 

Turner and childhood home in Lincoln Park, Rockville 1957

Turner 1957 Lincoln Park home

Turner, accompanied by his wife and children, visited Lincoln Park in Rockville in 1957 and was photographed at the Lincoln Avenue house where he had lived as a youth.

From Lincoln Park to Leading Scholar

From a Montgomery County Public Libraries' display based on the exhibit produced by the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, "Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities through Language."

DR. LORENZO DOW TURNER helped to shape African American identity in the early-to-mid 20th century as a professor of English and through his pioneer research of Gullah language in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. He began his distinguished academic career at his alma mater, Howard University in Washington, DC. He earned his Master’s degree in English in 1917 at Harvard University and his doctorate in English in 1926 at the University of Chicago. Turner was the first African American professor appointed to teach at a white university and became the first to be a member of the Linguistic Society of America. Turner was instrumental in developing the field of African American Studies.

Prior to Dr. Turner’s fieldwork in linguistics in the 1930s, experts failed to recognize that the Gullah language spoken by African-American east coastal residents was not “bad English.” Gullah was instead a Creole language influenced by more than thirty African languages that had been brought to the area by their enslaved ancestors.

But long before Dr. Turner did his pioneer linguistics work and launched a whole new field of study in Creole languages, he was an elementary school student in the segregated schools of Montgomery County where his father, Rooks Turner, had a long career as a schoolteacher and principal.

The young Lorenzo Dow Turner honed his baseball skills on local fields, skills he would soon use as a means of recreation while a member of Howard University’s winning teams of 1912 and 1913 and later to finance his education as a player in the popular amateur Negro leagues. It was here in Rockville that Dr. Turner was able to pursue his formative education in earnest, in a community that viewed education as the primary means to overcome post-slavery limitations. Lincoln Park would be the prelude to a life of intellectual accomplishments and successes.

Rockville First Colored School class c. 1901

Rockville Colored School c.1901

Turner attended school at 246 N. Washington St., Rockville, from 1901-1906. He is seventh from the right, kneeling in the second row. The man with the hat was probably Charles P. Jenkins who he remembered as his main teacher. Turner received a gold medal and twenty gold dollars for oratory and he was acclaimed the "best speaker in the Negro public schools of Montgomery County." The medal, dated 1906, is in the collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. 

Rockville Retrospective: Lorenzo Dow Turner

This short video features Robin Ziek, Rockville Department of Community Planning and Development Service, speaking about the rediscovery of Dr. Turner's Rockville connections. 

Footage includes the Montgomery County Public Libraries' traveling exhibit Lorenzo Dow Turner: Lincoln Park to Leading Scholar when first displayed at the Rockville Memorial Library.

From Rockville City Cable Channel 11, February 2012.



The Lincoln Park Neighborhood Plan from the City of Rockville includes maps.


Annotated Bibliography of Lincoln Park Materials at the Montgomery County Historical Society Library (MCHS) and the Rockville Memorial Library (MCPL-R)


Brown, Lillian B. and Nina H. Clarke. History of the Black Public Schools of Montgomery County, Maryland 1872-1961. New York: Vantage Press, 1978. MCHS.

Clarke, Nina H. History of the Nineteenth-Century Black Churches in Maryland and Washington, D.C. New York: Vantage Press, 1983. MCHS.

Greenhouse, Lisa A. and Eileen S. McGuckian. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Rockville: A Guide Rockville, Maryland, in the 1920's. Rockville, Maryland: Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd., 1996. MCHS.

McGuckian, Eileen S. Rockville: Portrait of a City. Franklin, TN:Hillsboro Press, 2001. MCPL-R, MCHS

Rockville Historic Buildings Catalog. Rockville: City of Rockville, 2011.

Oral Histories

Bell, Wilma S. Interview, 2004, Transcript and tape. Peerless Rockville.

Carey, Willie Mae. Interview, 1983 with Violet Isreal. Abstract and tape. Peerless Rockville.

Corbin, Bessie Hill. Interview, 2004. Transcript and tape. Peerless Rockville.

Hill, Mabel. Interview by Bridget Bolcik. April 5, 1976. Transcript and tape. MCHS, Peerless Rockville.

Isreal, Bobby. Interview, 2004. Transcript and tape. Peerless Rockville.

Isreal, Violet. Interview, 1983 with Willie Mae Carey. Abstract and tape. Peerless Rockville.

Wood, William. Interview by Nadine J. Woodrick. July 25, 1977. Transcript in biography file. MCHS. Tape at Peerless Rockville.

Articles, listed chronologically

These articles may also be available from the Gazette archive at Montgomery History (MCHS)  and Montgomery County Public Library (MCPL) Historical Washington Post database.

"Efforts of Lincoln Park residents to correct unsanitary conditions in their neighborhood." Sentinel. May 20, 1948.
From the Black Communities File, McMasters Papers at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"90% of Rail Crossing Accidents Involve Nearby Residents."
Washington Star. May 15, 1952.
B & O Railroad opens a campaign in Maryland to reduce accidents at grade crossings. Photograph of the Lincoln Park grade crossing with flashing light safety devices.

"End of an Era Nears With Lincoln Closing."
Sentinel. April 24, 1958.
By the late 1950s, Lincoln High School became Lincoln Junior High. This article recounts the site’s history, the condition of the building at the time of its closing, the difficulties of busing black students from throughout the county to one site. Includes photo of industrial arts teacher John E. Swanson with students Elaine Page and Thelma Snowden.
From the Public Schools File at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"Only Negro Junior High Closed Down."
Sentinel. June 26, 1958.
A brief news report about the the Lincoln’s closure features a photo of Dr. L.S. Monk, principal, who was transferred as vice-principal to Sligo Junior High School.
From the Public Schools File at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"Lincoln Park Job Delay is Hit by Negro Leader." Sentinel. March 16, 1967.
From the Black Communities File, McMasters Papers at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church Celebrates Centennial Anniversary."
Sentinel. May 23, 1968.
A recounting of the church’s location changes through the years, with information on Centennial events and a special service. Photo of Rev. Kermit J. DeGraffenreidt in sanctuary at 814 Westmore Avenue.
From the Churches File at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"The History of Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church."
Undated; probably circa 1970. One sheet.
Recounts history of the church, beginning with its founding on May 29, 1867, and a list of its founding members. First services held in basement of Jerusalem M.E. Church on West Wood Lane. Recounts growth, relocation history, and membership.

"Rockville Responds to Demands." Unidentified newspaper clipping from Sept. 28, 1972.
From the Black Communities File, McMasters Papers at MCHS.

"College Girl's Task: Study Moves from Wheelchair to Legislature."
Sentinel. May 2, 1973.
Article describes the life and work of Sharyn R. Duffin with grandmother, Mabel A. Hill in Lincoln Park, following her bout of spinal meningitis confining her to a wheelchair. Details the efforts for legislation on behalf of the neighborhood and the Lincoln Park Community Center.
From the Biography File of MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"Louis W. Hicks, Cabinetmaker, Dies at Age 91."
Sentinel. Oct. 17, 1974. (Biographical file at MCHS also contains a one-page typescript biography and remembrance by his daughter, Evelyn H. Gaunt.)
From the Biography Files at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

"Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church Has Had Many Sites."
Rockville Newsletter. April 21, 1976.
Part of a series prepared by the Heritage Committee of the Montgomery County Bicentennial Commission. Features a photograph of the church, built in 1903 on North Washington Street (now a parking lot).
From the Churches File at MCHS.

Eisman, Amy. "Lincoln Park: Black Community Keeps Its Roots in a Transient County."
Montgomery Sentinel. July 28, 1977, p. B1.
Long article on Lincoln Park's past and present as told by some of its long-time residents. Photographs of Rodney, Bernard Gaunt, Evelyn Gaunt, Erky Johnson, Johnny Chung, and Suzy Chung.

Duffin, Sharyn. "Lincoln Park Historic District."
Pages 37-38 of A Study of Historic Sites in the Metropolitan Washington Regions of Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland Importantly Related to the History of Afro-Americans. Washington, DC: Afro-American Institute for Historic Preservation and Community Development, August 1978.

Duffin, Sharyn; Dwyer, Michael; and McGuckian Eileen. "ACHS Summary Form: Lincoln Park."
Sugarloaf Regional Trails. June 1979.
Contains a description of the physical appearance of Lincoln Park, including the land, housing and architecture. Also contains information on the origins and early history of Lincoln Park.

Cranford, John R. "Lincoln Park Citizens Deserve Better."
Montgomery Sentinel. November 1, 1979.
Editorial on the closing of street access to Lincoln Park in order to accommodate Metro's construction schedule. Urges citizens of Lincoln Park to pressure city officials to delay the closing of Frederick Avenue, provide bus service, and reconsider building a vehicle overpass.

Goldberg, Marion. "Lincoln Park."
Montgomery Sentinel. March 20, 1980.
Lincoln Park launches a voter registration drive. Interest in the upcoming election is high because of several controversial neighborhood issues, including the closing of automobile traffic at Frederick Avenue and the City of Rockville's decision not to build the Ashley Avenue overpass.

Reisner, Rami. "Rockville's 'Berlin Wall': Subway Puts Blacks on the Wrong Side of Tracks."
Washington Post. September 7, 1981.
Article discusses how the Metrorail tracks and the city's failure to build a vehicular bridge at Ashley Avenue have isolated Lincoln Park and caused hardships for its residents. Photographs of the 'Frederick Ave. Closed' street sign; homes on Lincoln Avenue; Frederick Avenue street scene; Norma H. Duffin; the Frederick Avenue pedestrian bridge; and a map of Lincoln Park.

"Old Drummer Clips Along in Rockville"
Montgomery Journal. March 19, 1982, p. C8.
Profile of barber Clinton Hicks, whose shop was on Lincoln Avenue.

Forden, Sara. "Apathy, Mixed Reactions Greet Plan for Lincoln Park."
Gazette. September 23, 1982.
Article on the efforts of the city and community to forge a Neighborhood Plan for Lincoln Park. Included are a brief history of the community, 1980 demographics, and an overview of some of the past problems. Photographs of the Frederick Avenue footbridge and Doris Addison.

McGuckian, Eileen. "Lincoln Park Among First Black Real Estate Ventures."
Rockville Gazette. February 27, 1985, p. B5.
Article gives the history of Lincoln Park from its beginnings in 1891, when William Wallace Welch purchased 8.06 acres of land, to the present black community of over 300 households. Contains some information on the county’s first high school for black students. Picture of a Lincoln Park town house built in 1896 for George Cooke.

Nix, Roscoe. "Lincoln Park Needs Some Victories."
Montgomery Sentinel. March 1, 1985, p. 11.
This is a lengthy letter to the editor from Roscoe Nix, President of the Montgomery County NAACP. He details many of Lincoln Park’s grievances with the City of Rockville and forcefully urges city officials to consult with the people of Lincoln Park and together come up with concrete, corrective actions. 

Lightfoot, Regina. "Lincoln Park Bridge Blamed for Long Walks."
Montgomery Journal. March 12, 1985, p. A3.
Residents of the Lincoln Park Community complain the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Ave. is inconvenient to use. Rockville city officials agree to study the problem and include the community in the decision making process. Photograph of a man crossing the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Ave.

Ziebart, Eve. "Lincoln Park Bids for a Little Respect."
Washington Post. March 25, 1985, p. B1.
Medium-length article on Lincoln Park's history of difficulties with both the city and county governments. Discusses the factors which have caused the community to be largely ignored and never championed. Photograph of Charles and Geraldine Wilson. Photographs of Charles and Geraldine Wilson and of Lincoln Park from the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Avenue.

McGuckian, Eileen. "Lincoln High: A Landmark in Black Education."
Rockville Gazette. September 11, 1985, p. B5.
An article which gives a brief history of black public education in Montgomery County from 1872 to 1958. Provides information on the Rockville Colored Elementary School, Rockville Colored High, Lincoln High School, and Carver High School.

De Zube, Dona. "The Battle for the Streets of Lincoln Park."
Montgomery Sentinel. October 24, 1985.
Lengthy article on the efforts to drive drug dealers out of Lincoln Park and on the tensions which have been created within both the community and the police department. Photographs of the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Avenue and of a police officer by the park behind the Community Center.

McGuckian, Eileen. "Landmarks of Black Life Remain."
Gazette. February 19, 1986.

"Hill Home Represents Black Family’s Progress."
Rockville Gazette. February 11, 1987.
Rockville Landmarks File at MCHS.

"Family Buries Big Man Named 'Pint.'"
Journal. April 20, 1987.
Gives details of Charles Clarence Isreal's baseball career, beginning in 1930 in Rockville and eventually on the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League. Also mentions his involvement with youth of Lincoln Park and the formation of the "Black Angels Boys Club" in 1968. (The biographical file at MCHS also contains a short obituary from the Washington Post, April 24, 1987, and a funeral notice listing descendants and other relatives, as well as the program from an event about Montgomery County's black baseball players sponsored by the United Black Cultural Center on June 27, 1987.)
MCPL-R and the Biography Files at MCHS.

Schwartz, David. "Lincoln Park Plans Advance."
Rockville Gazette. March 30, 1988, p. 1.
Four proposals for providing access from Lincoln Park to Route 355 were presented to the Rockville mayor and council. The proposals were selected by the Lincoln Park Civic Association and presented by the state.

Richardson, Valerie. "Lincoln Park Struggles to Retain Heritage in Face of Modern Woes."
Washington Times. May 9, 1988.
Gives a brief history of the community and some of the oldest families who can trace their Lincoln Park roots back to the 1890's. Among the modern difficulties that threaten the community's spirit of camaraderie are the drug markets and newcomers lacking a sense of commitment to the community. Photographs of Lucille and James Davis, Rodney Davis, and the community cemetery on Frederick Avenue.

McGuckian, Eileen. "Built for Black Students, Lincoln is Oldest Remaining High School."
Rockville Gazette. September 20, 1989, p. B2.
Article discusses efforts to preserve Lincoln High School on Stonestreet Avenue as a landmark of Montgomery County’s black educational history. It is the oldest remaining high school building and the only junior high ever constructed for black students in the county. Organizations involved in the preservation efforts are Citizens Alliance/Alumni for the Preservation of Lincoln High and Peerless Rockville. 

Masferrer, Marc. "Gab and Groceries: Only at Johnny's."
Montgomery Journal. July 18, 1990.
This is a lengthy article on Johnny Chung, the past owner Johnny’s Grocery, located on North Horners Lane in Lincoln Park. The store, owned by the Chungs since 1976, was sold earlier this month to Robert Kim, a Silver Spring resident. Photographs of the store, the Chung family, and neighborhood residents.

Masferrer, Marc. "Lincoln Park Kindles a Light."
Montgomery Journal. March 5, 1990.
During the Lincoln Park 99th Anniversary Celebration, community ministers and leaders encouraged residents to take pride in their community, its history and sense of family. Efforts to preserve the old Lincoln Park High School were discussed, and Marcellus Banks and Alice M. Mason were honored as Lincoln Park's oldest residents. Photograph of Alice M. Mason.

Phelps, Mary-Ellen. "Lincoln Park Celebrates its 100th Anniversary."
Montgomery Journal. February 11, 1991.
Lincoln Park marked its hundredth anniversary with speeches, government proclamations and songs by soloists Jack Green and Brenda Shelton. After the ceremony concluded some residents offered reminiscences of life in Lincoln Park and its proud tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.

"Lincoln Park."
Montgomery Journal. February 19, 1991.
Brief note on the Lincoln Park centennial celebration, along with information on the first appearance of the Lincoln Park name in county records.

Hamblen, Matt. "100th Birthday Bash: Rockville Neighborhood Celebrates Its Heritage."
Montgomery Journal. July 1, 1991.
Hundreds of people attended the weekend celebration of Lincoln Park's 100th anniversary. Activities included a two-hour parade, picnicking, pony rides, gospel singing and tours of the community. Photograph of Nina McCowley and Jervie Mason.

Numi, Joy. "Lincoln Park Residents Celebrate a Proud Century."
Gazette. July 3, 1991.
A brief history of the community is presented along with the community's largely successful efforts to oust drug dealers and increase neighborhood safety.

Harris, Jonice S. and Nadine J. Woodrick. "Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church Celebrates Black History Month by Remembering the Past! Rejoicing in the Present! Looking Forward to the Future!"
Pamphlet from February, 1992.
Features highlights of the church’s history; includes three programs presented during February 1992: The Black Church, Blacks in the School and Community, and The Black Family. Includes roll call of ministers who have served Clinton A.M.E., 1867-1992, and national A.M.E. conference officials. Also noteworthy are samples of minutes from 1907 and 1910 member meetings.
From the Churches File at MCHS.

Beck, Jo. "A Step Back in Time: Haiti, Lincoln Park."
Gazette. Apr 7, 1993.

Dewey, Jeanne. "Marchers Renew Call to Tear Down Bridge."
Montgomery Journal. August 27, 1993.
About 150 members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference marched through the Lincoln Park community protesting the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Avenue. Rev. James Moone, president of the county's SCLC chapter, demanded the bridge be replaced with a vehicular bridge. Resident comments included. Photograph of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's march led by Lynn Hampton and Melvin Howard.

Susi, Anita. "All-Black School’s Class of 1945 Prepares for Its 50th Reunion With a Yearbook Called a ‘History in Words and Pictures.’"
Journal. November 24, 1993.
Lincoln High's Class of 1945 did not have a yearbook at the time of graduation, so one was made for its fiftieth reunion. Includes a photo of Warrick Hill and James Offord. Recounts attendance patterns of blacks during segregation and after the 1960 desegregation when Carver, as it was later named, closed. Recounts Lincoln High School’s history, starting in 1927 as Rockville High School.
From Public Schools File at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

Susi, Anita. "Groups Fear Fate of School."
Journal. November 9, 1994.
About Lincoln Junior High School. Includes photo of the old Lincoln High School, 595 N. Stonestreet Avenue. Describes objections of United Black Cultural Center and NAACP to the building’s tenant, a church, over structure’s fate.
From Public Schools File at MCHS. Also MCPL-R.

Beadle, Andrew D. "Residents Want City to Renovate Lincoln Park Foot Bridge."
Gazette. November 6, 1996.
Lincoln Park Residents see the Frederick Avenue footbridge as ugly, unsafe, inconvenient, and a symbol of isolation. The community wants the City of Rockville to make improvements on the bridge with city funds, not community funds.

Hill, Warrick S. "The Challenge of Educating Black Youth: The Way It Was Back Then."
Montgomery Times. February 1997.
A personal essay which features excerpts from a book in progress, "Before Us Lies the Timber," a project of members of the Lincoln High School Class of 1945. Chronicles the history of education for blacks in Montgomery County up to September 1927, when the first black high school in the county opened. Includes two photos: Lincoln High School faculty, 1943-1944; current photo of Warrick S. Hill.
From Public Schools File at MCHS.

Beadle, Andrew D. "Baseball Was Their Life."
Rockville Gazette. March 5, 1997.
As part of the Lincoln Park Historical Society’s 20th anniversary celebration, Gordon Hopkins and Russell Awkard told of their lives in the Negro Baseball League and how they traveled to Lincoln Park to play with the legendary Isreal Brothers, Clarence and Elbert. They encouraged youngsters to set goals and urged the community to support little league baseball.

"City Gets State Grant for Lincoln Park Foot Bridge."
Rockville Gazette. April 30, 1997.
The City of Rockville received a $50,000 state grant for improvements to the pedestrian bridge in Lincoln Park. State Delegate Cheryl Kagan worked with city and community leaders to help land the grant and stated that the Lincoln Park Bridge is the most visible and painful reminder of the racial struggles we’ve had in the past.

"Bridge History and Issues."
Quirks. July-August 1997.
Short article that gives a concise history of the controversial pedestrian bridge linking Lincoln Park and Route 355. Issues range from the bridge as a symbol of community isolation to its design, safety, convenience, and finance. Photograph of the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Ave.

Beadle, Andrew D. "Lincoln Park to Celebrate its People, Heritage."
Rockville Gazette. August 27, 1997.
Lincoln Park is celebrating both the 106th anniversary of the community and the 20th anniversary of the Lincoln Park Historical Society. As part of the activities, community authors, church leaders, educators, and athletic heroes, including former world middleweight boxing champion William Joppy, will share their stories.

"Judges Choose ‘Unity Bridge’."
Rockville Gazette. November 26, 1997.
Lincoln Park residents Robert Lewis Jr., Bess Corbin, and Anita Summerour served as judges of the city’s name-the-bridge contest. The winning entry of "Unity Bridge” was submitted by Jane Pontius. Anita Summerour expressed the hope that the planned bridge improvements would “help to unify our community with the rest of Rockville.”

Duggan, Paul. "Lincoln Park Resents Its Separation."
Washington Post. December 26, 1997, p. D1. Anita Summerour and Ardell Shirley, vice president and president of the Lincoln Park Civic Association, discuss the community’s feelings of isolation and resentment caused by the city’s decision not to build a traffic bridge over the Metro and railroad tracks that separate Lincoln Park from the rest of Rockville. Photograph of the pedestrian bridge at Frederick Avenue and a small map of Lincoln Park.

Wexler, Ellyn. "Lincoln Park: A Lady's Labor of Love."
Montgomery Gazette. 1998.
The efforts of Anita Neal Powell to research and preserve the history of Lincoln Park are discussed. She is the founder of the Lincoln Park Historical Society and chairwoman of the Rockville Historical District Commission. Photograph of Anita Neal Powell.

James, Candance. "Lincoln Park’s First Car Show Achieves Two Important Goals."
Rockville Gazette. September 23, 1998.
In an effort to give something back to their community, Frank Wade and Melvin “Smacks” Hall organized a Car Show in Lincoln Park. The goals of the show were to introduce youth to the various career opportunities in the automotive industry and to increase voter registration in the Lincoln Park community.

Subramanya, Manju. "City Offers Solution to Stem Lincoln Park Drainage Problems."
Rockville Gazette. November 25, 1998.
For decades, some residents of Lincoln Park have experience flooding in their homes and yards. The city is now offering several programs to help alleviate these problems, and next year the city will begin work on the drainage problems at the Isreal Park ballfield.

Bell, Wilma and Bell, Christina. "Mother and Daughter Reflect on One of Montgomery’s Oldest Black Communities -- Lincoln Park."
African American Times. May 14, 1999.
Article features a bittersweet look at Lincoln Park’s history and the community’s willingness to “pursue positive changes in order to preserve the values of the past and a place in a new age.” Photographs of Wilma and Christina Bell.

Subramanya, Manju. "Unity Offers New Chance at Bridging City’s Gaps."
Rockville Gazette. September 15, 1999, p. A4.
The pedestrian bridge at Frederick Avenue will be dedicated by the Rockville City Council on Sunday. The bridge, which is 17 years old, has been renamed Unity Bridge and has received a $500,000 makeover to improve its security and looks. Lincoln Park community leaders Anita Neal Powell and Bessie Corbin comment on the bridge and the City Council efforts to involve the community in the renovations. Photograph of the bridge.

Subramanya, Manju. "Renovations on the Way for Lincoln Park Center."
Rockville Gazette. January 5, 2000, p. A4.
Renovations have begun on Lincoln Park’s Community Center. These include a 3000- square-foot addition, a computer center, an expanded day care center, and a police department substation. The goal of the center will be to provide a safe haven for kids, with emphasis on both education and recreation. Photograph of Nathan Dimes, supervisor of the Lincoln Park Community Center, and Burt Hall, director of the city’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

Ruben, Barbara. "Hidden Roots."
Washington Post. March 30, 2000.
The efforts of Anita Neal Powell and the Lincoln Park Historical Society to research and preserve black history in Montgomery County are discussed, and information is given on the Society’s bus tours to black history sites in the county. Photographs include the Mutual Memorial Cemetery, the Sharp Street United Methodist Church, and Winston Anderson, founder of the Sandy Spring Slavery Museum and African Art Gallery.

Pope, Clementina. "Storm Plays a Role in Night Out."
Rockville Gazette. September 8, 2000, p. A1.
Lincoln Park’s National Night Out festivities were cut short with the arrival of a furious thunderstorm. Prior to the rainout, residents had a chance to enjoy food and games and to meet with their neighbors and local police officers to form an alliance against crime. Article includes crime statistics for the county. Photograph of Shalla Dimes.

Pope, Clementina. “In Lincoln Park, a Battle over Land.”
Rockville Gazette. Apr. 25, 2001. p. A1.
Residents seeking to protect the character of the neighborhood protest the expansion of Mt. Calvary Church at meetings with county and city officials. MCPL-R

Bathen, Effie. “African American History Mapped for Montgomery.”
Rockville Gazette. June 6, 2001.
Anita Neal Powell creates map of 200 years of African American history in Montgomery County with over 150 sites and attractions.

Kelderman, Eric. “Project Highlights Lincoln Park’s Proud Heritage.”
Rockville Gazette. Feb. 20, 2002. p. A15.
The Lincoln Park Partners Project is described as a research base and inspiration for students interested in African American history. Sharyn Duffin’s Ties that Bind shows how “seven of the original families knit the bonds of the community through marriages.” Ardell Hilliard speaks about the importance of telling descendants the stories of the original families, of the adversity they overcame and the achievements that are their heritage. MCPL-R

Kelderman, Eric. “A Time to Heal?: Neighborhood Looks for Reconciliation with Church.”
Rockville Gazette. April 17, 2002. p. A1.
Residents of Lincoln Park and East Rockville oppose Mount Calvary church expansion. All concerned work toward a revision of plans. MCPL-R

Kelderman, Eric. “Lincoln Park, East Rockville to be Focus of City Meetings.”
Rockville Gazette. May 8, 2002. p. A4.
City officials meet with residents to discuss the Neighborhood Plan which describes the long-term plans for land use, zoning, traffic, housing and redevelopment. MCPL-R

Davenport, Dianne. “Preservationists Target Rockville, Olney Sites.”
Rockville Gazette. June 19, 2002. p. A7.
The Lincoln Park subdivision is identified as a “most endangered site” by Montgomery Preservation Inc. in part due to the pressures for redevelopment. MCPL-R

Schulte, Brigid. “Prominent Pasts, Fragile Futures.” “Stores, Homes and a Boundary Stone.”
Washington Post. July 3, 2003. Montgomery Extra, p. 16.
Includes a photo of Lincoln High School in an article about eleven sites on preservationists' list of most endangered sites in Montgomery County. MCPL-R

Hruz, Judy. “Members Appointed to Serve on Lincoln Park Advisory Group.”
Rockville Gazette. July 10, 2002.
Rockville City council appoints 16 residents to serve on the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Plan Advisory Group, which will be working on the redevelopment of the North Stonestreet area and the public housing complex in Lincoln Park.

Duck, Michael. "Putting African-American History on the Map."
Rockville Gazette. Sept. 10, 2003. p. A1.
Anita Powell of the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation/Society helps groups around the state collect and document African American history. MCPL-R

Notes column. “Saving the Past for the Future.”
Rockville Gazette. Feb. 25, 2004. p. A4.
The Lincoln Park Civic Association, Peerless Rockville, and the city of Rockville join to consider the process for national historic designation for the neighborhood. MCPL-R

Barton, Noelle. “Erasing the Line: Brown vs. Board of Education Ushered in a New Era--Starting with Schools.”
Rockville Gazette. May 12, 2004. p. A1.
The Isreal family of Lincoln Park is interviewed as part of the retrospective look at integration fifty years after the Brown decision. Includes photos of Clarence and Bobby Isreal at Isreal Park in the neighborhood and brother Michael on first mixed race football team at Richard Montgomery H.S. MCPL-R

Cummings, Maizie, Terry Lachlin, Sharyn Duffin, Dale Pastor. "Past Meets Future in Lincoln Park."
Heritage Matters: the National Park Service Journal. June, 2004. p. 16. . MCPL-R Vertical File.

Jones, Mark. "A Treasury of Artifacts of Black Life: Germantown Center to Aid in Research."
Washington Post. Feb. 26, 2005. Montgomery Extra, p. 3.
Anita Neal Powell of the Lincoln Park History Foundation and Society opens the Leroy E. Neal African American Research Center with a collection of artifacts about African American history for researchers. MCPL-R

Barton, Noelle. “Preserving Lincoln Park’s Legacy.”
Rockville Gazette. July 20, 2005. p. A1.
Wilma Bell, of the Shelton family, is featured and photographed as an activist in the effort to replace public housing in the neighborhood with new construction that will result in more stability for the neighborhood. The fourth generation resident spoke about new houses, which will be called “Legacy at Lincoln Park.” MCPL-R

Barton, Noelle. “Rockville Ponders First Conservation District for Lincoln Park Community.”
Rockville Gazette. July 27, 2005. p. A5.
The Lincoln Park Community Preservation Commission presents an alternative plan for conserving neighborhood heritage sites that differs from the Historic District Commission’s plan for the designation of a historic district. MCPL-R

De Santis, John. “Wilmington Confronts Past in Report on White Vigilantes.”
New York Times. Dec. 18, 2005.
The North Carolina General Assembly has received a draft of a commissioned report on rioting in Nov., 1898, that resulted in many deaths and ended black participation in local government until the civil rights era. The offices of the black owned newspaper, The Daily Record, that were burned by rioters and shown in photo from 1898 is the one that was owned by Henry Manly’s family. See the Hill family section of the Lincoln Park Partners’ web pages about this incident. MCPL-R

Barton, Noelle. “Stonestreet Gets Desired Density. No Help for Lincoln High.”
Rockville Gazette. Jan. 4, 2006.
Residents of Lincoln Park are pleased with the density in plans for the development of North Stonestreet. However, the status of the Lincoln High School building, which is being used as a church by Rev. Rodney Davis, is in question. MCPL-R

Jain, Aruna. "Black Groups Host Town Hall Meeting; New Candidates to Discuss County."
Washington Post. May 18, 2006. p. T3.

Lenhart, Jennifer. "Residents Step Closer to Saving Community; Council to Cast 1st Vote on Lincoln Park Plan."
Washington Post. Dec. 7, 2006. p. T3.

Parish, Warren. "Ribbon Cutting In Lincoln Park."
Rockville Gazette. Oct. 10, 2007.

Crisostomo, Contessa. "Lincoln Park celebrates its 'Legacy.'"
Rockville Gazette. Oct. 17, 2007.

Dutton, Audrey. "Rockville: Lincoln Park's New Legacy."
Washington Post. Oct, 18, 2007. p. T5.

Brachfield, Melissa J. "Ideas plentiful at African American forum."
Rockville Gazette. Oct. 24, 2007.

Hruz, Judy. "A Sunday celebration: Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Rockville celebrates Leon Grant's 20th anniversary."
Rockville Gazette. Nov. 7, 2007.

Letter from Lucinda Hall. "City should value needs of all residents."
Rockville Gazette. Jan. 9, 2008.

Davis, Janet, Meghan Tierney, and C. Benjamin Ford. "In the county, racism cast different shadows."
Rockville Gazette, Apr. 2, 2008.

Crisostomo, Contessa. "Office building in works for Lincoln Park site: but neighbors are conflicted over use of long-controversial land."
Rockville Gazette. Sept. 3, 2008.

Chadwick, Melissa. "Family to be featured on TV's 'Extreme Makeover': Jackson family of 15 received new home."
Lincoln Park Community Center also receives makeover.
Rockville Gazette. Sept. 26, 2008.

Crisostomo, Contessa. "Some say Obama's win is a dream come true."
Rockville Gazette. Sept. 26, 2008.

Chrisostomo, Contessa. "Newcomers stake claim in Lincoln Park."
Rockville Gazette. Dec. 17, 2008.

Moore, Marcus and Susan Singer-Bart. "Upcounty school named for Gibbs Jr.: Name should honor county icon, board members say."
Rockville Gazette. May 6, 2009.

Stanford, Amy. "Lincoln Park: Historic, diverse and down-to-earth."
Washington Examiner. Aug. 6, 2009. p. 41.

Farr, Alix. "Lincoln Park property reviewed by City of Rockville."
The Montgomery County Sentinel. Oct. 8, 2009.
Possible demolition of the historically significant house at 224 Elizabeth Ave. is debated. 

Carrick, Nathan. "Council Delays Renovations.... Lincoln Park house earns historic designation."
Unanimous vote designates 224 Elizabeth Avenue as historic.
Rockville Gazette. Oct. 28, 2009.

Carrick, Nathan. "Second Hall of Fame ceremony adds 21 members."
Donald Davis, who grew up in Lincoln Park, formed the Hall of Fame as a way for young people to find role models in their community.
Rockville Gazette. Nov. 4, 2009

Nourmohammadi, Nesa. "Pedestrians can trace African American heritage."
Gazette. February 17, 2010.
Walking tour in Rockville offers 18 stops that focus on strong black community history.

Nourmohammadi, Nesa. "Walking tour celebrates black history in Rockville."
Washington Post. February 25, 2010.

Nourmohammadi, Nesa. "City's history extends back centuries."
Gazette. March 24, 2010.
Area now known as Rockville has always been a major crossroads.

"Rockville youth advocate wants young people to see life beyond their neighborhoods."
Gazette. November 23, 2010. 
Foundation of Youth works with troubled teens at the Lincoln Park Comminity Center.

Liu, Mimi. "Montgomery's human rights office to head up civil rights bus tour in spring."
Gazette. January 11, 2011.
The event was co-sponsored by Montgomery County Public Schools, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln park Historical Foundations and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Nourmohammadi, Nesa. "Manna Food Center to close Rockville site, increase hours elsewhere in county."
Gazette. March 9, 2011.
Influx of clients in Long Branch and Gaithersburg sites prompt change in services in Lincoln Park.

"Rockville offers wireless Internet at most city gathering spots."
Gazette. April 19, 2011.
Lincoln Park Community Center is among facilities offering wireless service.

Norris, Sean Paatrick. "Potomac developer sues Rockville for $750K."
Gazette. May 25, 2011.
Company says city, officials, hampered plans for property adjacent to Lincoln Park.

Arias, Jeremiah. "Reunion of County's segregated high school stirs memories."
Gazette. August 17, 2011.
Many credit perseverance and excellent teachers for helping overcome obstacles.

Hall, Lucinda. "Remembering Rockville Man who died as prisoner of war in Korea."
Gazette. November 8, 2011.
Community contributor writes what Veterans Day means to her.

Bryant, Alison. "A call to conserve: Residents consider ways to preserve West End."
Gazette. May 23, 2012.
Since 2008, Lincoln Park has been designated a "conservation district" to protect against drastic change and industrial development. 

Gazette Staff. "Lincoln Park celebrates community at annual celebration."
Gazette. August 8, 2012.
121st celebration of community co-sponsored by the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation, the city of Rockville and the County Office of Human Rights with a theme of encouraging interactions between fathers and sons.

Bui, Lynn. "Reunion draws Montgomery students who attended segregated schools." Many recall teachers who 'made the most of what they had.' Students were segregated beginning in 1866 when the first school for African American children was built. The first high school for black students, Carver High School and Junior College, opened in 1927. The last segregated high school class graduated in 1960. Nearly three hundred former students attended.

McEwan, Peggy. "Church tour finds religion in historic spaces: 'Community Cornerstones' booklet includes 21 congregations." With photo of Sunday school classes of Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Rockville, circa 1955 from Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd.
Gazette and Washington Post. October 17, 2012.
A booklet about 21 historic African-American churches has been published by the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County. Many were started right after the Civil War by freed slaves.

Waibel, Elizabeth. "Rockville’s Lincoln Park community looks back on 122 years. "Residents of the historic neighborhood and other guests enjoyed activities and a cookout at the Lincoln Park Community Center and Isreal Park in Rockville. An event organized by the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation. Gazette. July 10, 2013.

Rockville Reports. "Wilma Shelton Bell Park Renaming." Lincoln Terrace Park renamed in remembrance of community activist and civic leader Wilma Shelton Bell. January, 2016. More at

Duffin, Sharyn R. and Alonzo N. Smith. Gibbs v. Broome: Rockville's Place on the Road to Brown v. Board Of Education. The Montgomery County Story. Vol. 62 No.2. Winter, 2020. School principal William B. Gibbs, with Thurgood Marshall as one of his lawyers, sued for equal pay for black educators in 1936.In depth research presented about the crucial but generally unrecognized role of the Rockville proceedings and of the community struggle for social justice. MCHS, MCPL-R

Straight, Susan. "Tradition, growth in a historic enclave." Neighborhood history and interviews with new residents and descendants of original families. Washington Post. p. E2. December 12, 2020. MCPL-R


Certificate of Title of Lincoln Park and First Addition Thereto Belonging to William W. Welsh, Rockville, Maryland. Pages 34 - 37 in Title Notes, ledger of Clifford H. Robertson, Attorney-at-Law, Rockville, Maryland. Manuscript collection. MCHS.

Drawing, undated, from the Peerless Rockville Calendar, of 606 Horners Lane.
From the Rockville Landmarks File, Houses Subfile, at MCHS.

Drawing, undated, from the Peerless Rockville Calendar, of 303 Lincoln Avenue.
From the Rockville Landmarks File, Houses Subfile, at MCHS.

Littlefield, Gail. "Kenneth and Ethel Shelton House, 651 N. Horners Lane, Rockville, Md." Preliminary Evaluation for Historical, Architectural, or Cultural Significance, dated January 5, 2003. And see Rockville City report:

Bunow, Miriam. 305 Lincoln Avenue. The Reuben Hill House. For history see:

Maryland Historical Trust. Inventory Form. 311 Lincoln Avenue.
From the Rockville Landmarks File, Houses Subfile, at MCHS.

Maryland Historical Trust. Inventory Form. 325 Lincoln Avenue. Bessie Warren House and see:

Maryland Historical Trust. Inventory Form. 200 Martin's Lane.
Includes information on Claude Prather family and ties to Lincoln Park.
From the Rockville Landmarks File, Houses Subfile, at MCHS.

Maryland Historical Trust. Inventory Form. Lincoln High School .
August, 1985.
Form submitted to the Trust describing Lincoln High structure in great detail, including landscape and architectural features. Recounts history of building use. Includes bibliography for reference at end. 7 pp.
From Public Schools File at MCHS.

McGuckian, Eileen. ACHS Summary Form. Cooke House, 302 Lincoln Avenue. February, 1979.
From the Rockville Landmarks File, Houses Subfile, at MCHS, and in the Rockville Historic Buildings Catalog.

Lincoln Park Community Links

Partners, Lincoln Park History Project

Rockville Colored Baseball Team
Rockville Colored Baseball Team, ca.1900
Photograph courtesy of Rosie Wood
Peerless Rockville Collection


  • United Black Cultural Center, Inc.
    Barbara Talley
    11 Martins Lane
    Rockville, MD 20850
  • Ardell Hilliard
    605 Douglass Avenue
    Rockville, MD 20850
  • Sharyn Duffin
    710 Douglass Avenue
    Rockville, MD 20850
  • Lincoln Park Historical Foundation/Society
    Anita Powell
    P.O. Box 1884
    Rockville, MD 20849-1884


Search! Please look at home and at your business for clippings, photographs, letter, diaries, newsletters, scrapbooks, yearbooks, or other documents related to individuals or organizations in Lincoln Park. Please ask your family members or friends to do the same.

Contribute! Call us to describe your materials. Give permission to include your records in the resource guide and on the website. Selected items will be scanned and cataloged. The originals will be returned to you.

Volunteer! Help us scan and catalog photographs and other items. 

Ties That Bind: The Families of Lincoln Park

by Sharyn R. Duffin

Lincoln Park is not a traditional kinship settlement, but, over the years, marriages between families have made it one. These eight couples, representing seven families, are a perfect example of how the roots of the community have become inextricably bound.

Frank Davis was married to Annie Jackson. Annie's sister Ethel married Kenneth Shelton, and Kenneth's sister Annie married Harold Lee Waters. Harold's brother Anderson married Vicella Howard. Vicella's brother Colston Howard married Estelle Prather. Estelle's brother Henry Prather married Rhoda Duffin. Rhoda's brother Roland married Helen Howard. Helen Howard's sister Lucille Howard married James Davis and Jim Davis is Frank Davis's brother.

Davis Family

The James W. Davis Family

In 1922, Reverend James W. Davis came to Rockville with his family from Washington, DC. Reverend Davis was a godly man with a large family, like unto Abraham of the Bible. His seed did multiply in Lincoln Park and abroad. Of his eight sons, two became pastors of churches in Montgomery County. Reverend Phillip Davis of the Interdenominational Church of God stated in an interview recently that their profession was considered "fishers of men." One pastored at Mt. Calvary, just as his father had done before him. Most of the other sons served in various key positions in the church. Mr. James N. Davis, one of the patriarch's sons, built Mt. Calvary's church as it stands today. It took him seven years to complete. Reverend James W. Davis's legacy continues today with his grandson, Reverend Rodney T. Davis, the pastor of the Crusader Baptist Church of God. He and his congregation have acquired the Lincoln High School historical site in the Lincoln Park community. Just like his forefathers, Reverend Rodney Davis comes from a long line of people who have served God, family, and the Lincoln Park community.

-- Ardell Hilliard (written by)

Reverend James W. Davis is seated third from the right.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis.
Rev. Henry Davis
Gathering for a baptism at Rock Creek in May, 1956.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis
Rev. Henry Davis
Rev. Henry Davis performs a baptism at Rock Creek in May, 1956.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis
Rev. Henry Davis
Rev. Henry Davis performs a baptism at Rock Creek in May, 1956.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis
Rev. Henry Davis
Reverend Henry Davis, after a baptism at Rock Creek in May, 1956.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis
proclamation for Reverend James N. Davis
Proclamation from the City of Rockville honoring Reverend James N. Davis on his fifty years of service to the Rockville Community, dated November 30, 1987.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis.
Rodney Davis's driving award
The Rockville Junior Chamber of Commerce awarded this certificate to Rodney Davis of Carver High School on April 30, 1956, when he won the Teen-Age Road-e-o and was named Teen-Age Driving Champion.Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis.
Rodney T. Davis
Rodney T. Davis, center, April, 1956. Source: Rev. Rodney T. Davis.

The Hicks Family

Louis Wood Hicks was born on September 30, 1883, the son of Joseph and Clarissa Hicks. He lived at 308 Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. A mason at the White House in Washington, he worked there until 1943. In one of the photographs, taken during President Franklin Roosevelt's first administration, Mr. Hicks is shown next to a White House flag stand for which he laid the supports. He preferred formal attire and so was called "The Professor." Mr. Hicks died October 13, 1974.

Louise V. Hicks Torney (7/7/1887 - 4/13/1965) graduated from Storer College in West Viginia in 1906. She taught at a one-room schoolhouse in Rockville.

Clementine (Sedgewick) Smith (3/30/1901 - 7/21/1986) lived at 600 Douglas Avenue. She taught school in the one-room schoolhouse in Scotland, an African-American community three miles south of Rockville.

Horace B. Hicks (9/11/1890 - 2/7/1976) was a 33rd-degree Mason, who lived on Douglas Avenue.

Clinton Hicks (1906 - ) served clientele at his barber shop on Lincoln Avenue for two decades. Read more about him in the Montgomery Journal article of March 19, 1982, "Old Drummer Clips Along in Rockville."

Louis Wood Hicks
Louis Wood Hicks, 9/30/1883 - 10/13/1974.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Louis Wood Hicks at the White House
Louis Wood Hicks, 9/30/1883 - 10/13/1974, at the White House.Source: Montgomery County Historical Society, 086-HICKS-001.
Louise V. Hicks Torney
Louise V. Hicks Torney, 7/7/1887 - 4/13/1965.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Clementine (Sedgewick) Smith
Clementine (Sedgewick) Smith, 3/30/1901 - 7/21/1986.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Clementine (Sedgewick) Smith
Clementine (Sedgewick) Smith, 3/30/1901 - 7/21/1986.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Horace B. Hicks
Horace B. Hicks, 9/11/1890 - 2/7/1976.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Evelyn Hicks Gaunt's reading certificate
School system reading certificate earned by Evelyn Hicks Gaunt in 1928.Source: Ardell Hilliard.
Clinton Hicks giving a haircut
Clinton Hicks giving a haircut Source: Montgomery Journal posted with approval

The Hill Family

"Reuben Hill Sr. (1829-1915) and Reuben Hill Jr (1859-1936) were farm laborers and carpenters who lived in the area which is now Lincoln Park. When Reuben Sr. agreed in 1867 to support a school for black students, he likely honored that pledge in skilled labor. A slave until his mid-thirties, Reuben Sr. purchased land in 1880 and teamed with former Confederate soldier and fence builder Simeon Berry to build a house northeast of Rockville. That year, Berry bequeathed to Hill his tools, furniture, and the house. Reuben Sr. helped to build a brick dwelling on the new subdivision of Lincoln Park in 1897. When he died in 1915, the Sentinel noted that 'Uncle Reuben' greeted friends with an old-fashioned, courteous bow and had 'gained the respect and confidence of both races in this community.' Reuben Thomas Hill, or Reuben Jr., inherited his father’s tools and talents. He enlarged the family home, built household furniture and tiny houses for children, and helped to erect other homes in Lincoln Park. The Reuben Hill house on Lincoln Avenue is still owned by the family."

-- This paragraph is from Rockville: Portrait of a City, by Eileen S. McGuckian, Hillsboro Press, 2001, p. 72, and is quoted with permission of the City of Rockville Mayor and Council.

Reuben Hill, Jr. and his wife Carrie Blair Hill [?-1922] lived at 305 Lincoln Avenue. They had three children: Edith Hill Manly, Lloyd Carlisle Hill, and Leola Hill Williams.

Their daughter Edith married Henry T. Manly [1879-1948]in June 1908. Manly had been born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1879. The date of his arrival in the Washington, DC, area is uncertain. However, it was probably in 1898 or shortly thereafter. In that year, Henry's older brothers Alex and Frank Manly, who were newspaper publishers, had been forced to flee Wilmington in the midst of a major race riot that was blamed on their “incendiary editorials."

Henry Manly was a watch and clock repairman and the proprietor of the Old Clock Hospital, located at 13 Fayette Street. The shop was opened as early as the 1920’s and operated until his death in January, 1948.

Although Henry and Edith Manly had no children, Mr. Manly was an active member and an official of the Confederation of Citizens Associations of Montgomery County, which advocated improved conditions in Negro schools. They sought a longer school year, higher teacher pay, transportation, and better physical facilities and instructional materials.

Reuben and Rachel (Martin) Hill's youngest son, Vernon, married Bessie Johnson. Bessie built a house at 602 Falls Road in Rockville in 1902. She obtained the land from her parents, William Johnson and Eliza Davis Johnson, who lived next door. The house remained in the Hill family until its sale in 1945.

Bessie's three children were Lillian Hill, Vernon E. "Sumner" Hill, Jr., and Eustace Jerome "Fuzz" Hill. Her sister, Lillian Johnson Finley, also had a son, Laurence D. Finley.

Reuben Thomas Hill, Jr.
Reuben Thomas Hill, Jr. 1859-1936.Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Carrie Blair Hill
Carrie Blair Hill, died 1922..Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Henry T. Manly
Henry T. Manly, 1879-1948..Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Henry Manly business card
Henry Manly's business card for the Old Clock Hospital.Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
William Johnson
William Johnson, father of Bessie Johnson Hill.Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Bessie Johnson Hill
Bessie Johnson Hill, circa 1895.Source: Photo reprint by Judith Christensen, Maryland Historical Trust, Peerless Rockville Collection
Lillian Hill
Lillian Hill.Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Lillian, Vernon, and Eustace Hill
Lillian Hill, Vernon E. 'Sumner' Hill, Jr., and Eustace Jerome 'Fuzz' Hill, the three children of Bessie Johnson Hill.Source: Norma Hill Duffin and Barbara Hill Talley.
Reuben Hill House
Reuben Hill House, 305 Lincoln Avenue.Source: Drawing by Maureen McKay for Peerless Rockville calendar.

The Howard Family

The pictures below, dating from the 1920's, are of Fred and Mary Howard. Mary was the sister of Maggie Shelton. The Howards were the parents of Lucille (Howard) Davis, Vicella (Howard) Waters, Helen (Howard) Duffin, and Colston, James, John, and Nanny Howard.

The Howards lived at 604 North Horner's Lane. Mr. Howard was the head painter at Chestnut Lodge, Rockville's well-known psychiatric hospital.

Fred Howard
Fred Howard.Source: Reverend Rodney T. Davis
Mary Howard
Mary Howard.Source: Reverend Rodney T. Davis

The Isreal & Summerour Families

Text from Rockville: Portrait of a City by Eileen S. McGuckian (Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 2001), with thanks to the Rockville Mayor and City Council. McGuckian credits an interview with Violet Isreal and Willie Mae Carey, 1983, in the Peerless Rockville Collections.

The Isreal family migrated to Rockville from Georgia in 1923, seeking a better life. Frank Isreal initially worked as a caretaker and handyman at Chestnut Lodge, and Violet Isreal kept house at Rose Hill Farm on Falls Road. The family purchased a lot from Harrison England for $250 and built a home in Lincoln Park, where they raised chickens, hogs, and vegetables. Their twelve children attended segregated schools in Rockville and Washington.

Violet Isreal's maiden name was Dobbs. She was related to John Wesley Dobbs, 1882-1961, a leader in the African American community in Atlanta, and to Mattiwilda Dobbs (b. 1925), the first black woman to appear in a principal role at the world-famous La Scala Opera House in Milan Italy.

The children's names are Louise, Willie Mae (Isreal) Carey, Dewey, Goldie, Clarence, Frank, Elbert, Beatrice (Isreal) Smith, Irene (Isreal) Hayes, Violet (Isreal) Rabey, James, and Freddie.

The Summerour family is related by marriage to the Isreals. Ida Isreal married Sherman Summerour.

Alice and Willis Isreal
Alice and Willis Isreal in Georgia.Source: Sandra Summerour-Jackson.
Sherman and Ida Summerour and their children Joe, Gene, and William, c. 1925
Sherman and Ida (Isreal) Summerour and their children (from left)Joe, Gene, and William, circa 1925. Inscription on back of photo 'for Willimae from Gene.'Source: Sandra Summerour-Jackson.
Sharon, Duchess, Sandra, Carolyn Summerour
Children of Eugene Summerour. From left, Sharon, Ray (nicknamed Duchess), and Sandra with Carolyn in front, c.1954.Source: Sandra Summerour-Jackson

The Prather Family

Evelyn Martin [? - 5/18/1950] married William Henry Prather, Sr. [? - 9/28/1942] in August 1889. Their children were Mamie [3/17/1891 - ?], William Henry, Jr. [9/11/1893 - 2/14/1967], George [1895? - ], Charles [9/15/1896 - ], Estelle [2/7/1897 - circa 1923], Henson [3/1900 - 6/10/1964], Arthur [8/2/? - 11/13/1964], Spencer [7/27/1904 - 11/21/1966], and Elsie [2/20/1911 - ].

On March 17, 1896, Evelyn and William Henry Prather purchased from William W. Welsh the lot at 315 Lincoln Avenue in his new subdivision of Lincoln Park. Evelyn's relatives Ella and Wallace Martin also owned property on the same street, and, in 1902, William Henry's mother, Hester Butler, bought a lot adjacent to his.

The Prathers' house was built by Adam Powell, and most of their children were born at 315 Lincoln. The house was remodeled in the 1950's, and the Prathers' youngest child, Elsie Prather Jackson, still resides there.

The Prathers sponsored a window in the Jerusalem M.E.Church, and they were charter members of the Eureka Tabernacle Number 29 of the order of Galilean Fishermen.

William Henry Prather, Jr. was known as "Henry." He was married to Rhoda Duffin. They had a daughter, Frances.

George and Gertrude Prather had a son Claude [6/15/1915 - 2/?/1986]. Claude Prather owned and operated the Rockville Ice Company at 736 Montgomery Avenue.

Charles T. Prather served in the military during World War I as a Private First Class in the 154th Depot Brigade from December, 1918, and then in the 593rd Motor Transport Company from November, 1918, until being honorably discharged in May, 1919.

William Henry Prather, Sr.
William Henry Prather, Sr. [? - 9/28/1942]. Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Evelyn Prather
Evelyn Prather [? - 5/18/1950].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
William Henry Prather, Jr.
William Henry Prather, Jr., known as 'Henry', [9/11/1893 - 2/14/1967].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Charles Prather
Charles Prather, [9/15/1896 - ?].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Estelle Prather
Estelle Prather, [2/7/1897 - circa 1923].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Henson Prather
Henson Prather, [3/?/1900 - 6/10/1964].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Arthur Prather
Arthur Prather, [8/2/? - 11/13/1964].Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
Elsie Prather and Albert Jackson, with son Karlton
Elsie Prather Jackson [2/20/1911- ] and her husband Albert Jackson, with son Karlton.Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.
George and Gertrude Prather
George and Gertrude Prather.Source: Peerless Rockville.
George and Gertrude Prather
George and Gertrude Prather and Len and Bessie O. Meads enjoy a picnic together on May 30, the traditional 'homecoming' day for black communities in Montgomery County. Photograph from the 1920's.Source: Warren G. Crutchfield and Peerless Rockville.
Claude Prather
Claude Prather, [6/15/1915 - 2/?/1986], photographed August 1939.Source: Peerless Rockville.
Rhoda Duffin Prather
Rhoda Duffin Prather.Source: Sharyn Duffin and Karlton Jackson.

The Shelton Family

Maggie Wood and Henry Shelton, Sr.: A Family Legacy

written by Wilma Bell

Maggie Wood was born in 1873 and Henry Shelton, Sr. was born in 1878 in Keswick, a village near Charlottesville, Virginia. They were married November 2, 1898, in Rockville, Maryland. Later they moved into a beautiful two-story house in Lincoln Park with porches upstairs and down to raise a growing family. The address was last known as 606 N. Horners Lane.

Along with numerous siblings, their mothers, Polly Wood and Margaret Shelton, also left Keswick. Henry had two sisters, Alice (Pinkett) and Amanda. He also had a brother, Wilbur. Maggie's sisters were Carrie (Pagan), Annie (Offutt), Josephine (Breckenridge), Hattie (Lewis), Marion, and Mary (Howard). Her brothers were William and James Wood.

Maggie and Henry had four children: Kenneth, Henry, Jr., Annie (Waters), and Marilyn (Claggett). Kenneth married Ethel Jackson. They had six children: Kenneth, Jr., Melvin, Edison, Sylvia, Ethel and Daniel. Henry, Jr. married Lucinda Kearney. They had three children: Clyde, Wilma (Bell), and Fran (Hawkins). Annie married Harry Lee Waters. Marilyn married Robert Claggett. They had two children: Robert, Jr. and JoAnne (Flennoy).

Henry worked as a roofer for Ed Viett for nearly 50 years until his passing in 1947. Associates described him as a thoughtful, intelligent, and civic-minded man with vision ahead of his time. He deeply cherished family and friends. He joined others to form a civic association. They recognized the need for schools and fire services in the City. The Sheltons were also among those willing to use their homes as collateral to build schools that served blacks throughout the County. Henry also served as captain of the first loosely organized fire department in the City and played the French horn in a local band. Note: A great-grandson, Timothy Bell, joined the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department in 1985 and served on Montgomery County's Hazardous Materials unit.

Maggie enjoyed being at home with family. A deeply spiritual woman, Maggie joined others to recruit a pastor for the church next door, Mt. Calvary Baptist. She loved to cook, entertain, and became the matriarch of a large, loving family until her passing in 1969 at age 96. It was her grace and charm that made her front porch often the arena for family and friends to discuss everything from the weather to politics. Her dining table was always beautifully set to serve anyone who visited. Her iced tea, homemade bread, and rice pudding became family favorites.

Maggie, Henry, Sr. and Kenneth Shelton
Maggie Wood Shelton (1873-1969), Henry Shelton, Sr. (1878-1947), and their son Kenneth Shelton (1909-1968). Circa 1910.Source: Wilma Bell.
Clyde, Sylvia, and Henry Shelton, Sr.
Henry Shelton, Sr. with two grandchildren, Clyde 1938-1988) and Sylvia (born 1936), who were first cousins. Photo circa 1939.Source: Wilma Bell.
Maggie and Henry Shelton,Sr.
Maggie Wood Shelton (1873-1969) and Henry Shelton, Sr. (1878-1947). Circa 1940.Source: Wilma Bell
Lucinda and Henry Shelton, Jr.
Lucinda Kearney Shelton (4/19/1917 - 5/8/1992) and Henry Shelton, Jr. (12/18/1911 - 9/21/1951).Source: Wilma Bell.
wedding invitation
Wedding invitation. Lucinda Kearney from Rocky Mount, NC, married Henry Shelton, Jr., in Lincoln Park, on May 15, 1937.Source: Wilma Bell.
Henry Shelton, Jr. and son Clyde
Henry Shelton, Jr., and son Clyde at 606 N. Horners Lane, circa 1939.Source: Wilma Bell.
Lucinda Kearney Shelton and son Clyde
Lucinda Kearney Shelton and Clyde at 606 N. Horners Lane, circa 1939.Source: Wilma Bell.
Lucinda Kearney Shelton
Lucinda Kearney Shelton, circa 1936.Source: Wilma Bell.
Henry Shelton, Jr.
Henry Shelton,Jr., circa 1936.Source: Wilma Bell.
Henry, Jr., Lucinda, and Clyde Shelton
Lucinda Kearney Shelton and Henry Shelton, Jr. with Clyde in the backyard of 606 N. Horners Lane, circa 1939.Source: Wilma Bell.
Lucinda Kearney Shelton and son Clyde
Lucinda Kearney Shelton and Clyde at 606 N. Horners Lane, circa 1939.Source: Wilma Bell.
Shelton House at 606 N. Horner's Lane
The Shelton family house at 606 N. Horner's Lane. The lot was part of W.W. Welsh's original 1890 subdivision of Lincoln Park. It was sold to Christopher Columbus R. Patterson in 1893. Henry and Maggie Shelton built this house in 1914 and lived here for many years.Source: Peerless Rockville. Drawing by Colleen King for 1980 calendar.
Wilma Shelton Bell and Fran Shelton Hawkins
Wilma [Shelton] Bell and Fran [Shelton] Hawkins in 1950.Source: Wilma Bell.

The Smith Family

Adapted from Our Story: As Remembered by the Descendants of Mabel and Raymond Smith. Compiled by Beverly Hawkins Canaday (Tecumseh, MI:Diggypod Publ. , 2020) with assistance from Autumn Canaday and Sondra Stevenson.

Prominent among the families on Avery Road was the family of Benjamin Smith, grandfather of Raymond Smith and Lillian (Bea) Smith Brown. Their presence in Lincoln Park began in the mid-1930s when Raymond Smith moved to Lincoln Avenue with his wife, Irene Boardley Snowden Smith. This was a second marriage for both, and they worked to build not only a strong marriage but also a strong financial foundation. Working as a team, Raymond and Irene created a mini-real estate empire that was based on numerous properties in Lincoln Park. Most of the properties were homes situated on Lincoln Avenue. Their holdings also included properties on North Horner’s Lane and on Frederick Avenue. Raymond rented the homes on Lincoln Avenue and eventually sold several undeveloped lots for the construction of homes by others. Rental homes, although few in number, helped to fill a void. Raymond Smith rented at least seven properties in Lincoln Park including a duplex at 314 Lincoln Ave. and according to Robin Ziek, was a well-known and responsible landlord. A memorandum from Ms. Ziek, (Preservation Planner for the city) stated that Mr. Raymond Smith was a civic activist who used his position as president of the Progressive Citizens Association to press for community improvement. (Ziek, Robin D., Memorandum to Historic Preservation Commission, “Evaluation for Historical or Cultural Significance: 339 Lincoln Ave. July 15, 2005.)

Raymond’s daughter, Mabel, established a home in Lincoln Park after marrying Raymond Hawkins in 1941. Their children and grandchildren remained residents and landowners in Lincoln Park well into the 21st century.

During the 1970s the presence of the Smith family in Lincoln Park was strengthened when Lillian (Bea) Smith Brown built a home on Lincoln Avenue and became an active resident of the community. Bea was a well-known educator who served Montgomery County for 36 years as a teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools. When she retired, she became active in numerous community organizations, including the Clinton AME Zion Church. She co-authored the “History of the Black Public Schools of Montgomery County, Maryland 1872-1961” with her close friend and fellow teacher, Nina Clarke in 1978. For this achievement, Bea was honored in 1980 at the Maryland statehouse. Bowie University awarded her a “Legacy of Excellence Award” and the Montgomery County Board of Education presented her with the “Pioneer Award for Distinguished Service to Public Education” award in 2001. Shortly after receiving this award, the nominating committee for a new elementary school in Germantown recommended unsuccessfully that the new school be named in her honor. A second recommendation in 2018 was also unsuccessful. See the Montgomery County Commission for Women for more about Lillian “Bea” Smith Brown (PDF).

Raymond Smith gardening
Raymond Smith gardening, Lincoln Park, date unknown.
Source: Stevenson Collection
Raymond Smith milking cow
Raymond Smith milking Rosie, Lincoln Park, date unknown.
Source: Stevenson Collection
Raymond Smith portrait
Raymond Smith, January 1979.
Source: Canaday Collection

The Waters Family

The Waters family held yearly reunions in Purcellville, Virginia. The Lewis family, descendants of the Waters family, continue to live in Lincoln Park in the rowhouse at 302 Lincoln Avenue.

Percy Waters Brown and Vicella Howard Waters at family reunion
Vicella Howard Waters, second from left, and Percy 'Pud' Waters Brown, second from right, at Aunt Grace's place for the annual family reunion in Percyville, Virginia, c. 1950.Source: Anderson Waters
Percy Waters Brown, Katie Waters Davis, and Edith Waters
Sisters Percy 'Pud' Waters Brown and Katie Waters Davis with Edith Waters, wife of their brother Raymond, at the house at 302 Lincoln Avenue, in 1949.Source: Anderson Waters.
Carolyn, Annie, and Harry Lee Waters
Left to right, Carolyn, Annie, and Harry Lee Waters, with inscription on back reading 'Carr's Beach 1938'.Source: Anderson Waters.
Anderson Waters and Vicella Howard Waters
Anderson Waters and Vicella Howard Waters.Source: Anderson Waters.
Minnie Waters with unidentified child
Minnie Waters, mother of Percy and Katie, with unidentified child.Source: Anderson Waters.