The National Seminary at Forest Glen

Just posted photos taken this summer at the National Seminary at Forest Glen, a historic site located in the suburbs of DC.

The history of the place is a pretty interesting read. After being bought in the 1730’s as a much larger property, parts of it were sold off, and finally, what is now known as National Seminary was sold to John and Vesta Cassedy in 1894. They set out to transform it into a girls’ finishing school. In 1916, the school was sold to Dr. James E. Ament after Vesta Cassedy died. John Cassedy then married a recent graduate of the school and lost interest in running it. In 1937, during the Great Depression, with the school’s student population foundering, it was sold to Roy Tasco Davis, who set out to transform it into National Park College, a place where academics and practical skills. He didn’t have much time to do this, because the property caught the eye of an Army general, who invoked the War Powers Act, condemned the property, annexed it to Walter Reed Hospital, and used it as a place where wounded soldiers could recover.

When the Army tired of the property, they let it go to ruin. They wanted to completely tear down the buildings, but local residents objected and managed to get the site designated as a historical landmark in the 1970s. Finally, a deal was made in 2005 to get the entire site redeveloped, the old buildings restored or rebuilt, and luxury condominiums built there. From what I understand, a development company bought the property, under the solemn promise to stick to the historical character and look of the site as they rebuild there. The site is now under construction, and many of the old buildings, too dilapidated to stand up, will be torn down and reconstructed.

Ligia and I visited it this summer (2006) and last summer (2005), and photographed the various buildings. It was also a great place to eat raspberries and mulberries. I still need to post the photos taken last summer, but I’ll do it soon.

(Added 10/19/06: here they are!)


5 thoughts on “The National Seminary at Forest Glen

  1. Hi Joni, and thanks for your comments. I visited it three or four times so far, and photographed it on two occasions. As I mentioned in the post, the entire site is now getting rebuilt. A development company purchased it, and they say they’re going to restore the buildings and build new ones, and the whole place will house luxury condominiums. If you’d like to see the old buildings, you might want to make it to the site this winter or spring, because I’m not sure how much longer the old buildings will be up.


  2. Looking at your pictures of Forest glen brought me back a few years. I was stationed at Walter Reed in the early 70s and lived there, I worked at the Dental Clinic at the main office. I spent many hours wondering the grounds, I havn’t been back to Maryland for years. I live in North Dakota, my home state. How often do you get back to the glen? I would love to be updated on how things are going, Or I just may have to take a trip to see the place. thanks for bringing back wonderful memories( I saw Charolets web at the theatre) thanks, Joni


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  5. Man, what a beautiful place to photograph. Would love to be able to check this place out myself someday. Will have to check it out someday when I get back to DC. Thanks for sharing these great shots.


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