Peerless Rockville is an award-winning, community-based, nonprofit organization that safeguards Rockville’s past by preserving objects, buildings, spaces, and information crucial to the city’s heritage. This organization was founded in 1974, and since then, it has advanced its goals through example, education, advocacy, and community involvement.
Peerless Rockville strives to protect and preserve historically and architecturally important properties in Rockville and the surrounding area and promote local history. It has completed numerous preservation projects, such as restoring the Wire Hardware Store, the 1891 Courthouse, Montrose Schoolhouse, rescuing the Rockville B&O Railroad Station from demolition, and converting the abandoned Baptist Cemetery into an outdoor museum.
This organization also maintains Historic Rockville Collections by cataloging and archiving photo collections, artifacts, oral histories, and other memorabilia, and a Preservation Resource Library. Currently, Peerless Rockville maintains and owns three properties of historical importance – Baptist Cemetery, Frieda’s Cottage, and Montrose School.
The tiny Baptist Cemetery is a 19th-century burying ground located on West Jefferson Street. It dates back from 1839 to 1896, and during this period, over fifty burials were here. This cemetery is a reminder of a previous era, and it is an important part of Rockville’s history.
Before Peerless Rockville cleaned and repaired the gravestones, they were worn and cracked. Over time this burying ground has changed dramatically due to abandonment and neglect. However, thanks to Peerless Rockville, it has been recognized as a historical resource worthy of preservation.
In 1983, the title was transferred to Peerless Rockville for caretaking. This organization has viewed this important burying ground as a window to local history. Since 1983, it has maintained, documented, interpreted, and used the cemetery to create interest in restoration.
Frieda’s Cottage is another property of significant importance for Rockville’s history. This Cottage is associated with Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, who was a leading figure in American Psychiatry. She was renowned for her contributions to the treatment of schizophrenia.
This historic landmark was the home and office of Dr. Frieda when she served as director of psychotherapy at Chestnut Lodge. She transformed the hospital into a private mental health facility.
Recently, Peerless Rockville received title to and restored Frieda’s Cottage in 2009, based on historical photos and interviews with people who knew Dr. Frieda. Thanks to this, the Cottage retains a high degree of integrity, and the majority of essential physical features are intact. This iconic place in the history of psychiatry was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Montrose School was built in 1909, and it plays a special role in Rockville history and evokes a unique era. Because of the increase in population, it was necessary to build a school that would be adequate to serve its enrollment of children. As a result, this two-room schoolhouse was built.
During the beginning of the 20th century, this school offered the latest in educational architecture. It had a hipped roof for improved air circulation, air vents in the masonry foundation, tall windows for maximum indoor illumination, and other amenities that were considered modern during this period. Increased modernization was added throughout the early 20th century.
Unfortunately, the site was abandoned in the 1970s and was destined for demolition. Luckily, in the late 1970s, Peerless Rockville made the case to save this school because of its significance for Montrose and its educational history. In the meantime, it was restored, renovated, and put back in use while keeping original materials and architectural features. For more information contact our Rockville TMJ specialist.