Spirit of Freedom sculpture
Three days of meetings in Rockville lay ahead. Rockville, Maryland, is a suburban community in the Washington, DC area. It's about 30 miles (50 km) from Springfield, Virginia, around the Capital Beltway (I-495) and briefly up I-270. But, I never have occasion to go there. Traffic on the Beltway is intense, especially at rush hour, so I was not looking forward to making the round trip three days in a row. But, Rockville turend out to have some surprises under its suburban veneer.
Monday, June 9, was the first day to go. I left Springfield a bit before 8:00 a.m., due in Rockville at 9:30 a.m. I didn't get there until 9:45. Traffic on the Beltway near Tyson's Corner was snarled by road construction held over from the weekend.
Court House of 1891
Though, once over the Amercian Legion Bridge crossing the Potomac River, traffic flowed smoothly. The weekend's hot weather was also held over. The temperature at Noon was near 100F (37C) and no one wanted to go out and explore. Leaving at the end of the day to return to Springfield, I could see historical markers near several buildings. Historical markers meant there was a story to learn hereabouts! I resolved that I would make an effort to learn more about Rockville.
Tuesday was off to a better start. I left at the same time, but arrvied in Rockville at 9:10, allowing plenty of time to explore a bit before 9:30. The meeting place was right in the center of town, across the from the Courthouse Square. A historical marker told me that one corner, now home to a modern bank, had once been occupied by a colonial era tavern.
Montgomery County Court House
Much like Fairfax County, I thought. The old buildings are gone, with only historical markers remaining. I crossed the street to look at the square. A wraith-like sculpture greeted me at a side door to the courthouse. "Spirit of Freedom
" it was called. Looked spooky to me, all shrouded, and definitely a spirt. At the far side of the square was a stately brick courthouse
dating from the 1880s. Most of the square was taken up by the large 1930s Montgomery County Court House
with its neoclassical facde. More, like the interesting Post Office
, lay beyond, but it was time to head inside.
This day at lunchtime, four of us ventued out together. We walked two blocks over to Rockville Town Square, a new mixed-use development of office and retail space together with mid-rise residences.
Rockville Post Office
The develpment is built around a central plaza with fountains and open spaces for strolling and sitting. We had lunch at Graystone Grill
where all ordered burgers, except one, who had a Talapia sandwich. The mixed-use town center concept is becoming popular across the Washington, DC, region. It is typically used to replace older strip shopping centers or decaying suburban sprawl. I like the concept. It gives a "small town" or "Main Street" feel to a locale and quickly becomes a community anchor point. (A similar town center development is planned for central Springfield, but has not yet begun.) On the way back, we noted that teens were taking advantage of the plaza level fountains on this hot day.
At the end of the day, it was time once again to return to Springfield. But, on my way out, I snapped a photo of one of the typical Rockville Victorian style houses built during the first wave of large-scale suburban development in the 1890s.