Planners Release Book Featuring Historic Sites

Planners Release Book Featuring Historic Sites

The 10th- anniversary edition of the award-winning “Places from the Past: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County, Maryland,” a book that inventories the county’s historic sites, is now available online.

The coffee table-type publication, illustrated with photographs, architectural drawings and maps, is available as free downloads by chapter or as a print-on-demand digital edition for a fee. Visit

Gardez Bien is the county motto adopted in 1976 that means to guard well or take good care.

Recognized with awards from the Maryland Historical Trust and Montgomery Preservation, Inc., Places from the Past documents the history of architecture and community planning in Montgomery County. The book features a series of essays on building traditions, housing types and outbuildings as well as an inventory of historic districts and sites. The inventory is organized by geography within the county and includes orienting maps as well as images and descriptions of some 400 individual historic sites and 20 historic districts.

Initially printed a decade ago, the 357-page book had gone out of print. The new release, with an updated forward, makes the encyclopedic “Places from the Past” available again in paperback or, for the first time, in hardcover binding and electronic format.

A border county in a border state, Montgomery County’s architectural heritage has a dual nature: metropolitan and rural, northern and southern. Early European settlers were tobacco planters from the Chesapeake and wheat farmers from Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, residents were divided in their loyalties, with those in the western county with Virginia family ties sympathizing with the South, while Sandy Spring Quakers and northern-born residents aligned with the North.

After the Civil War, African Americans, comprising over a third of the county population, lived in more than 40 settlements established throughout the county. The nation’s capital, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the B&O Railroad’s Metropolitan Branch had much influence on the county’s growth and development.

Author Clare Lise Kelly is a historic preservation planner who has been researching historic sites in the county since 1989. Find book and digital ordering information at