Although for many people the history and uniqueness of the more than two dozen buildings at National Park Seminary are what interest and charm them, another rather hidden part of the campus —the Glen– provides the important element of natural green space to be enjoyed and explored. This wooded ravine includes not only a stream, trees, and woodland plants, but also built structures such as low stone bridges, a covered natural spring, statuary, and a grand stone staircase.
Since 2019 Save Our Seminary has focused more of its preservation efforts on this neglected part of the historic campus, which was often referred to as the Glen School because of its setting. The main effort of the SOS Glen Restoration Committee has been to research the original layout and features of the Glen, some of which are deteriorated and others which are long gone. Both historic photo research and physical cleanups in the Glen have contributed to this knowledge. Dealing with the forces of nature, whether invasive plants or erosion of the hillsides, is a perpetual task that SOS assists with alongside the residents of NPS.
Now with a good understanding of what the Glen once looked like in its heyday of the late 1920s, the Glen Restoration Committee is using that information to establish a restoration plan for the Glen so that it can be brought back to safe access for people to enjoy. To increase public awareness of the Glen history and its features, SOS has presented a virtual tour of the Glen as well as short stories about individual features in the Glen.
SOS has also developed a map of the Glen showing the locations of many of the historic built features dating from the Seminary era. The map provides historic and current photos for most features. We have also noted whether the features are lost or still present in some form. For the narrative history of the Glen, please refer to the virtual tour of the Glen.
We hope this online experience whets your appetite to visit the Glen in person. The best way to do that is to join one of the special Glen tours hosted by SOS, two of which are planned for 2022, one in the spring and one in the fall. If you visit on your own, please note that although the Glen is entirely private property, the owners allow limited public access to the grounds, not the structures, during daylight hours only. Respect for their historic property is appreciated.
Another focus of the Glen Restoration Committee is the State of Maryland’s now postponed plan to widen the I-495 highway that forms the northern boundary of the Glen, which will destroy green space as well as the original stone abutment of the first bridge that crossed the Glen. When the Glen was threatened by this highway widening plan, it received national attention when The Cultural Landscape Foundation named the Glen a Landslide property due to this threat and the Glen’s overall physical decline. We continue to monitor any action that may revisit this proposed widening in order to stop this potential destruction of the Glen.
SOS appreciates your support in preserving the Glen, whether to help clear an original pathway, make a donation to restore a feature, or research an aspect of its history.