The small settlement grew up due to position. Roads leading to what would become Washington, D. C., roads leading west, in addition to roads leading to what would become Baltimore met there. The first building in the settlement was Owen’s Tavern. Hungerford’s Tavern, however, doubled as a courthouse in the early years, earning the settlement the name Montgomery Courthouse.
In 1838, in the town that would become Rockville, parcels of land totaling 500 acres was bought by Catharine and Richard Johns Bowie. They cleared 300 plus acres of the forested land for planting vegetables, grains, potatoes and hay. They designated portions on which to raise animals like cattle, pigs, sheep, and horses. Upon the highest ground on the property, the Bowies built their home.
The home was not born the grand manor it would become less than 100 years later. Richard combined farming with his time as an attorney, state senator, Montgomery County State’s Attorney, member of Congress in addition to being an Appellate Court Judge for the State of Maryland.
This busy family ran their farm and kept abreast of the happenings of the day. The property remained in the family until 1904, following Richard’s death in 1881. It was purchased by several people until 1917, when the farmhouse began its journey to becoming a mansion. It was purchased by William and Irene Smith.
The Smiths were wealthy newlyweds, whose social and professional connections gave them contact with the elite in New York and Washington, D. C. Rockville MD became the place to establish estates of the rich and famous.
Readers should keep in mind that Washington, D. C. was built on lowlands, swampy and marshy. Paralyzingly hot and humid in summer, people escaped when they could. Socializing was done on these great estates, there being no smart phones or Facebook at the time.
Today’s Glenview Mansion
Not long after moving to Rockville MD, William died. Irene remarried in 1923. She and James Alexander Lyon, a decorated U. S. Army officer and respected cardiologist, hired architects to create an estate in which they could entertain on a grand scale.
Lochie and Porter incorporated the original farmhouse into the five-part mansion. The city bought the property in 1957 following Irene’s death. Over the years, the property grew as the city bought land around it. The city turned the estate into a Civic Center, complete with tennis courts, hiking trails, nature center, theater, rock climbing facility and more.
The Civic Center is the venue of choice for many weddings, professional meetings and civic events. The mansion’s stunning surroundings and history make it the go-to venue for any event.
Article courtesy of Imperial Auto Body – https://imperialab.com/rockville-md/