So the Falkland Chase Apartments have been awarded historical status. Time to party like it's 1939.
I'm all for historical preservation, but it seems to me that the anti-growth contingent of Silver Spring is celebrating a victory along with the preservationists. I certainly don't think that the proposed development on this site has any aesthetic value, but isn't higher density urban living near public transportation what we are supposed to want in lieu of additional suburban sprawl? (Selfishly, I'd like to see a supermarket alternative to Giant Food. Harris Teeter? Bring it on.)
I can appreciate that Falkland Chase has some historical significance, but is it necessary to retain the entire complex for the benefit of future generations? The fairly nondescript apartment buildings don’t differ significantly from each other, so if there were still a fair amount of them left, people could get the idea of what it was all about. The developer’s plans already call for keeping a majority of the original buildings intact:
[Vice president of development for Home Properties Don] Hague, who will be at a county development committee meeting today to defend the project, said developers believe they will be retaining the more historically significant portions of the property, which officials with the Maryland Historical Trust have said are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.Falkland Chase is supposed to be some sort of great example of New Deal planning. Personally, I think nearby Greenbelt is far more interesting in that regard. And as far as architecture goes, I find the already-preserved Art Deco Montgomery Arms Apartments more appealing than Falkland's Colonial Revival style (pictured below). But maybe that's just a personal preference.
“The parts that will remain ‘as is’ are the ones that are architecturally truer to the planning and design principles that were popular back then,” Hague said.
I don’t exactly see school field trips walking through the grounds or Tourmobile buses slowing down in front of Falkland Chase, so interest outside a few small groups seems fairly limited. A vast majority of people are either ignorant or ambivalent about the issue. There are far more people enthralled every year by that monstrosity of a Christmas light show a block away.
There are certainly plenty of historical buildings in this area that probably should have been retained for posterity. I highly recommend the book Capital Losses if you want to learn about buildings that have already been lost to the wrecking ball.
I do sympathize with current residents who don't want to lose their apartments, but as a wise man will one day say, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Personally, I'd prefer they focus development efforts on creating additional office space in Silver Spring before more companies move "upcounty". (Sucks to be those employees.) Instead, they continue to look at Silver Spring as a Metro-accessible bedroom community where residents leave each morning to go to work in D.C., Bethesda, etc.
(In mostly-unrelated news, my favorite building in the entire D.C. metro area is being refurbished.)