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Tuesday, 31 August 2010 16:08:57 GMT

Historic status sought for Kensington Cabin

In its almost 80-year lifetime, the Kensington Cabin has served numerous purposes.

Created as the keystone of Kensington Cabin Park, the rustic one-story log cabin was produced through the Civil Functions Ad ministration, an arm of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, in 1934 to help maintain open space in a fast-developing Montgomery County and serve as a recreation center for Kensington residents.

Since that time, the building may be utilized as a community center, a park welcome center, a staging ground for neighborhood events and a meeting house for civic organizations. But since 1991, it may be closed to public use, waiting for funding that never came.

"The constructing itself may be very well taken care of, but when there wasn't any money behind it, it was mothballed," said Clare Lise Kelly, a planner for the Historic Preservation Section from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. "It's just been waiting right here."

This month, the Kensington Historical Society nominated the building, which sits along Kensington Parkway, for designation as a historic site on the county's Master Plan for Historic Preservation -- a move the group says will keep the cabin intact until funding could be discovered.

"When they first boarded it up, the town and also the historic society got with each other to take up a collection and put plans together for [the cabin] but they just in no way moved forward," mentioned Julie O'Malley, president of the historical culture. "We think now it is suitable to get it designated to ensure it's preserved."

Owned through the commission's Department of Parks, the cabin was one of its first recreational projects and the oldest existing example of "parkitecture" -- buildings produced to appear pastoral -- left in Montgomery, said society member Jennifer Gurney. It was built to look rustic, to look like a log cabin, to maintain with the outdoor feeling of a park," she mentioned.

The commission has no plans to fund any projects that would put the building into immediate use but intends to continue maintaining it until money could be allocated for it, Kelly said. The department doesn't have the funds to maintain personnel in the cabin full time, she said.

A price estimate was not obtainable.

"It takes a lot to keep something like [this] open; you'd require to maintain someone right here all the time," she said.

The cabin's future always has been secured by volunteers and local agencies, the Parks Department's Jamie Kuhns said inside a speech towards the culture last year. He noted that the project was abandoned through the Civil Works Administration following the very first week of construction and completed through the Parks Department in the behest of local officials.

The group's application was to be considered by the county's Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday. If approved, Kelly said, county constructing codes would need that the historic architecture be maintained throughout the life from the cabin.

Source: The Washington Post

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