Montgomery County’s First Regional Park Turns 60

2020 marks 60 years since the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Montgomery County, broke ground on Wheaton Regional Park, the county’s first regional park,

The M-NCPPC, alongside the Montgomery County Council, officially established the park in 1960, with a grand opening in May of 1961. The park was developed from land already owned by the county, alongside a contiguous portion of land owned by then Director of Parks, Jack Hewitt.

In a photo tweeted Friday by Montgomery Parks, the 496-acres of land had nearly nothing surrounding it back in 1958. Compare that to today, and you’ll see a lot has changed.

The park is now home to many attractions, including Brookside Gardens, a nature center, a replica miniature train, the Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel, playgrounds, multiple ponds, recreational facilities, and an equestrian center.

  • Outline of Wheaton Regional Park in 2020. Via Google Maps.

  • Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park. Via Marilyn Sklar, Montgomery Parks.

Also located on park grounds is the Harper Family Log House, built in Poolesville during the 1870s. The M-NCPPC dismantled the home in 1976 and relocated it to Wheaton Regional Park to showcase the pioneer cabin.

The Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel, built in the early 20th century by the Herschell Spillman Company, operated on the National Mall from 1967 until 1981, when it was purchased by the M-NCPPC. It will eventually be relocated to the Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park in Clarksburg.

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Reid Flumbaum

About Reid Flumbaum

Reid Flumbaum is a senior at the University of Maryland, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He loves technology, automotive journalism, and 80s music. He can be reached at rflumbaum@mymcmedia.org.

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