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Glenn Dale Hospital Site Designated as County Historic District

June 17, 2014


Following a public hearing on June 17, 2014, the Prince George's County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has voted unanimously to designate the Glenn Dale Hospital as an Historic District.  Previously, it has been listed by the County as an Historic "Resource," but that designation offers none of the protections available for designated Historic Sites or Districts.


If the HPC's decision stands (Glenn Dale Hospital's owner, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has 20 days to appeal the HPC's decision to the Prince George's County District Council), then Glenn Dale Hospital will become just the third County-designated Historic District in Prince George's County, joining the Old Town College Park and Broad Creek Historic Districts.


The HPC heaing was standing-room-only, with many community residents, Hosptial Supporter and preservation organizations in attendance.  The Glenn Dale Citizens' Association, Inc. (GDCA) and the Lincoln-Vista Civic Association (LVCA) jointly requested that the HPC consider the Glenn Dale Hospital for elevation to Historic Site/District status by letter on March 6, 2014. 


The basis for the GDCA/LVCA elevation request was the Hospital's historical significance, as evidenced by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  In addition, the GDCA and LVCA expressed their grave concerns about the accelerating deterioration of the historic Hospital buildings due to lack of adequate maintenance and stabilization of the site by the property owner.


Had the HPC not voted unanimously to elevate the Glenn Dale Hospital to Historic District status, it would have been removed altogether from the County's Historic Sites and Districts Plan, and would no longer have even been listed as a County Historic Resource.


The additional incentives for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse available through Historic District status for Glenn Dale Hospital are a welcome addition to the toolkit available to developers with the expertise to redevelop Glenn Dale Hospital through partnership with M-NCPPC and the State of Maryland, and with community support.


For years, the GDCA and the LVCA have argued to our elected and appointed officials that the stabilization, “mothballing” and securing of the buildings on the Glenn Dale Hospital Site is long overdue, and have requested that this process be initiated by M-NCPPC immediately to prevent additional unnecessary structural loss or damage, and to avoid or minimize M-NCPPC’s exposure to personal injury claims relating to the Glenn Dale Hospital Site. Because the buildings were so strongly built, the lack of such stabilization has not irreversibly affected the prospects for their ultimate rehabilitation.


However, over the past two years or so, M-NCPPC has failed to do any maintenance at all on these buildings. We have only recently learned that the reason for this is that M-NCPPC employees had refused to work around the buildings due to safety-related concerns about falling roof slates. As a direct result, deterioration of the signature buildings has noticeably accelerated. We have real concern now that the buildings will be unnecessarily lost due to demolition by neglect.

We have asked M-NCPPC to undertake a safety evaluation to determine what effort would be required to mothball these buildings, and initially to determine how to render the buildings safe enough to maintain to prevent further deterioration.  


With its newly accorded status as a County-Designated Histrirc District, we look forward to a productive an dcontinuing dialog with the property owner to work collaboratively towards the stabilization of the signature historic Hospital buildings.

SAVEGLENNDALEHOSPITAL.ORG is a group of concerned citizens who have come together to save Historic Glenn Dale Hospital from demolition and loss.  We are working tirelessly towards the achievable goal of the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of Glenn Dale Hospital, with its once stately and monumental Georgian Revival Buildings and exquisite pastoral setting on over 200 acres, so that it will again become one of the jewels of Prince George's County history.

About Glenn Dale Hospital

The Glenn Dale Tuberculosis Hospital and Sanatorium is a campus-like setting, featuring 23 brick Georgian Revival Buildings, 2 of which are monumental in scale.  The >200 acre Hospital site is located in what is today a predominantly low-suburban to suburban residential area of central Prince George's County.  The Hospital is bordered on the east by the USDA Plant Introduction Station #1 (>70 ac), to the northeast of which is Bell Station Road, a Prince George's County-designated Scenic and Historic Road, which, in addition to working small farms and residences, includes the National Register-listed Marietta House Museum (>25 ac).  The WB&A Trail runs through the site, and to the north of that is the community of Lincoln-Vista, founded in the early 1900s by a group of black Washington businessmen and associates of educator Booker T. Washington as a suburban development for black professionals.  The Hospital's larger environmental setting, then, comprises some 300-plus acres uniquely reflecting the County's agrarian, horticultural and African-American heritages.


The Glenn Dale Tuberculosis Hospital and Sanatorium was constructed specifically to house and treat children and adults suffering from tuberculosis. The campus demonstrates the struggle of the District of Columbia to combat the public health threat caused by tuberculosis during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Glenn Dale was owned and operated by the District, and is located only 15 miles outside the city, providing the remote setting and abundant fresh air that were considered ideal in the treatment of the disease, as the continued inclusion of the stricken in the District’s general population without adequate care was viewed as a serious public health threat. Glenn Dale provided free medical care to its patients.


There are seventeen buildings on the campus dating from 1933 – 1959 which contribute to the significance of the complex. The campus included interrelated medical, residential and mechanical buildings and landscaped areas, the majority of which remain intact with a high level of historical integrity. The classical detailing of the buildings and the interconnected series of pedestrian and vehicular circulation paths all contribute to its historical and architectural significance as a distinguishable, unified, representative example of a twentieth-century therapeutic campus.


The Glenn Dale Hospital site is listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties and on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Hospital was operated by the District of Columbia as a Tuberculosis Hospital and Sanatorium until 1959, and for other illnesses from 1960 to 1982, when it was closed.  It was subsequently sold to Prince George's County and is owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).  Vacant since the early 1980s, the buildings on the site have been subject to vandalism over many years, but this is not the major threat.


The GDCA and the LVCA are long on record in support of the adaptive reuse of the signature Georgian style Hospital buildings on 60 +/- acres of the Site for a Continuing Care and Retirement Community (CCRC), and are equally long on record in support of the maintenance of the balance of the Site, some 150 +/- acres, as permanent open space for active and passive parkland uses.  We supported the existing Maryland State Bill (introduced by Delegate Jim Hubbard in 1994 and codified at Art. 28, Section 8-127 of the Maryland Code) that prescribes these uses for the Glenn Dale Hospital Site, and which has protected the site from otherwise overwhelming development pressures. 


Our associations collaborated in petitioning M-NCPPC to undertake an evaluation of the Hospital for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and successfully encouraged M-NCPPC to submit the application which resulted in National Register listing in 2011.  We have tirelessly testified over many years in support of resources and planning for the Hospital before the Prince George's Planning Board, the Prince George's County Council and the Maryland State legislature. 


Most recently, M-NCPPC finally undertook a Phase II Environmental Study of the Hospital site, which our associations had actively sought it to do for over five years.  Our associations have successfully reached out to other neighboring communities, preservation organizations, developers, elected officials, M-NCPPC, the Prince George's County government, and the Maryland State government, to support the preservation of the Glenn Dale Hospital and its environment, and we are committed to devoting our energies to achieving the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of what we believe to be a unique jewel for Prince George's County and the State of Maryland. 





Preservation Maryland announcement spotlights urgent threat to Glenn Dale Hospital

June 16, 2014


Preservation  Maryland, one of Maryland's premier preservation organizations, has announced that the Glenn Dale Hospital has been selected to that organization's annual list of most endangered historic sites.


Read about Glenn Dale Hospital's inclusion in Endangered Maryland 2014 at Perservation Maryland's dedicated web site,


According to the Preservation Maryland web site, its annual Endangered Maryland list features properties reflecting the diversity of Maryland's heritage of sites and traditions, and illustrates the threats facing them. Since the program originated in 2007, listed sites have benefited from increased public awareness, and the opportunity to create dialogue and find solutions to preserve these endangered sites across the state.


We know that the Endangered Maryland 2014 Listing will help bring attention to the imminent danger facing the Glenn Dale Hospital buildings, and assist Glenn Dale Hospital supporters in pressing for much-needed stabilization. In addition, listing will aid efforts to reach out to developers, including developers specializing in adaptive reuse and redevelopment, to facilitate the dialogue necessary to move ahead with the type of public-private partnership that will be needed to take advantage of the unique economic development opportunity that exists at the Glenn Dale Hospital site.


The major threat the Glenn Dale Hospital is that the buildings, despite the exceedingly substantial commercial quality of their original construction, have not been properly stabilized by the current owner, but have been allowed to deteriorate. This neglect has resulted in the loss of the integrity of their roofs. Starting a few years ago, M-NCPPC maintenance workers have refused to get near enough to the buildings to maintain them, due to safety concerns over falling roof slates. Because they are so strongly built, these formerly stunning Georgian Revival structures are not yet beyond saving However, if steps are not taken in the very near future to secure the buildings and provide for their safe maintenance, the community fears that these wonderful buildings and their environmental setting will be lost altogether.


The Glenn Dale Citizens' Association (GDCA) and the Lincoln-Vista Civic Association (LVCA) have championed the Glenn Dale Hospital for over two decades. Our community associations represent individuals and the families of individuals who worked at the Glenn Dale Hospital when it was operating as the area's major employer and was considered the heart of Glenn Dale.


The Glenn Dale community stands ready to support an adaptive reuse/redevelopment effort, and to realizing the achievable goal of adaptive reuse of the Glenn Dale Hospital. We have seen how Endangered Maryland Listing has helped other significant sites and buildings come back from conditions even more dire than those facing the Glenn Dale Hospital.


Endangered Maryland is modeled after the nationwide list created each year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as other successful statewide endangered lists. Statewide lists have proven to be highly effective tools for historic preservation.


Founded in 1931 as the Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities, Preservation Maryland is dedicated to preserving Maryland's historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites through outreach, funding, and advocacy.

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