History of Linden Farm and the
Renovation of the Gothic Dairy Barn
A Historic Agricultural Preserve Center
Sometime around 1883, Lawrence White and his bride, Annie Belt, built a stylish farmhouse on the Linden Farm. He built a bank barn, a board and batten cottage, and a corn crib. They lived and raised seven children on this farm until 1919 when he retired. George and Mabel Fuzer purchased the property during the Great Depression.
Walter Mathews subsequently acquired the property at a sheriff's auction in 1932 for $7,500. He built the loafing sheds behind the bank barn, the silo, and the gothic dairy barn itself. Below is a map of the Linden Farm.
In 1935, Mathews converted part of the farm into a private park named Linden Farm, a gathering and picnic place for neighbors. This park is currently under restoration with cooperation between Montgomery County Maryland and the Sugarloaf Citizens Association.
In 1980, Montgomery County bought the Linden Farm from the Mathews family and sited a compost facility on the property which was changed into a leaf compost facility in 1985.
The farmhouse was destroyed by fire in 1990. In 1992, the gothic dairy barn was designated on the Montgomery County Plan for Historic Preservations as one of only three gothic style roofed dairy barns in the country.
The farmstead site is leased to Sugarloaf Citizens Association (SCA) and is used as a community historic agricultural center. Together, the County and SCA have restored the Gothic Barn. There are plans to restore other structures on the site as well. The gothic barn is alive again.
Architectural Character of the Gothic Barn
This barn is architecturally unique and stylish. Proportions, scale and design elements are eye-catching. The relationship between the main structure, the milk-house and the silo is very attractive. The gothic barn consists of a two story central barn with stanchions, drinking cups, manure, and feed troughs. The upper level is a hayloft with magnificent gothic style assembled rafters. Combination of concrete masonry blocks at the lower level and wood structure at the upper level and the presence of repeated windows at the barn create a very handsome architecture that must be preserved. Three ventilation hoods on top of the roof add to the functional and aesthetic value of the building.
Restoration of the Barn
In 1998 a major restoration and preservation of the gothic barn 'was started by the County and SCA. To preserve the original character of the barn, the same style replacement windows were designed for the building. The roof has been repaired to keep the unique curve, which is the signature of the building. Subtle colors were used throughout the barn in harmony with original color scheme. Although the floor has been changed to replace troughs with a flat floor, it maintains the feeling of a working barn. The interior of the barn is a large open space and is very adequate for large size meetings. A large opening in the ceiling is created to enable one to see the rich structure of the railers; The gothic barn is a window to our past.
The silo contains a spiral stairway leading to tile second floor. The translucent milky dome over this silo enhances the gothic feeling of the structure. During the day, indirect sunlight enters the silo and at nighttime, four flood lights brighten up the dome. The gothic barn is a landmark again.
The new gothic barn is a Green Building. It is a sustainable facility. Many energy efficient elements are added to the building to make it a showplace for green technology. A geothermal heating and cooling system is exchanging the heat with year round constant temperature of ground. Eight geothermal wells will greatly reduce the electric energy consumption during the peak demand periods. To conserve electricity, all light fixtures in the lower level are connected to occupancy sensors. There is also an electronic eye system to control the light level in the barn. The hayloft is equipped with six natural light wells installed in the roof. These are devices that direct the sun light into the facility and will conserve energy during the daytime. The gothic barn is environmentally friendly.
A composting waste water and toilet system will keep our grounds and water sources clean. Waste water from lavatories is directed to a tank and pumped into a flower bed area at the root zone. This area is located on the east side of the barn. The toilets and urinal maters are collected in a controlled environment tank located in the newly added basement. Separated liquid and solids compost product of the tanks will be used as fertilizer. The adjacent berm on the south west of the barn is an ideal candidate to receive nutrient recycled product of the composting toilets. The gothic barn is environmentally clean.
Restoration/Renovation of the barn is a joint effort between Montgomery County Maryland and SCA.
The Department of Public Works and Transportation is responsible for the project execution with the Division of Solid Waste as the user agency and the Division of Facilities and Services, Capital Project Management Section in charge of the management, design and construction of the project.