Today the demolition crew continued its work and removed nearly all the brick walls of the historic Chestnut Lodge. So many people are interested in this place (my blog logged nearly 600 views today and lots of comments–thanks to everyone for sharing) that I’ll share some photos from today’s demolition as well as the press conference. Mary, my wife and Executive Director at Peerless Rockville, was busy the entire day fielding calls from the press and responding to questions.
This morning at about 3 am, Chestnut Lodge caught fire and nearly burned to the ground. All that currently survives are the brick walls and they are in extremely fragile condition. Arson is suspected and after the investigation is completed in the next few days, I believe the entire building will be demolished to protect public safety. The City of Rockville just lost one of its most significant historic landmarks.
Chestnut Lodge began its life as the Woodlawn Hotel, a resort that attracted residents from Washington DC, and ended as Chestnut Lodge, the internationally renowned sanitarium that included such pre-eminient psychologists as Dr. Frieda Fromm Reichman. The four-story French Second Empire building in its park-like setting provided a visual anchor for the West End neighborhood. Its abandonment in 2001 caused wide concern in the city but eventually Chestnut Lodge Properties purchased it with plans to rehabilitate it into eight luxury condominiums. At this time, its future is unclear– Continue reading →