Four Little Known Facts About Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks recently shared four historical events that have taken place on Montgomery Parks property throughout the years.

Below you’ll see the facts, courtesy of Montgomery Parks:

Nazi Prisoners of War Camp

During World War II, the federal government brought more than 400,000 mostly German prisoners of war (POW) to the United States and placed them in camps in almost every state. Gaithersburg’s POW Camp 8 was one of nineteen camps set up in Maryland. It was located in what is now Johnson’s Local Park(opens in a new tab) or formerly known as Emory Grove Local Park. Prisoners worked at canneries, mills, farms, and other places that were deemed minimal security risks. Even after the war in Europe ended and Germany surrendered, thousands of POWs were not released immediately. In September 1945, a 25-year old POW working on a farm near Rockville escaped and was never found.(opens in a new tab)

Fighter Planes

Wheaton Regional Park once had a Vought F7U Cutlass plane! The plane was introduced in 1951 and was a notorious failure. It was known as the “Gutless Cutlass” for its underpowered engines and the “Ensign Eliminator” for its many fatal crashes. The aircraft was installed at Wheaton Regional Park in 1964. There was another fighter jet also at Cabin John Regional Park. The Cutlass was climbed on and played in so much that it had to be reskinned.(opens in a new tab) Eventually, the planes were removed, cut up, and, presumably, sold for scrap.

A group of people sitting on warplane that was displayed at Wheaton Regional Park in 1965.

Photo Credit: 1963 M-NCPPC Annual Report, courtesy of M-NCPPC Archives

Battery Bailey

Battery Bailey(opens in a new tab) was a man-made hill constructed during the Civil War to defend Washington, DC from Confederate Army attacks. The battery is on top of a hill overlooking Little Falls Branch and is constructed in a “C” shape facing north. To fortify the capital, a series of forts, batteries, and entrenchments were built around the city. This defensive perimeter totaled thirty-four miles. Battery Bailey, named for Colonel Guilford D. Bailey, who was killed at the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862, is the only Civil War fortification remaining in Montgomery County. It is located at the site of Westmoreland Hills Local Park.

Old MacDonald’s Farm

This farm at Wheaton Regional Park(opens in a new tab) was the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s first attempt to exhibit agricultural operations for the enjoyment of park visitors. One of the first patrons at this attraction was First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her son, John Kennedy Jr. The original plans for the farm included a scarecrow near cultivated fields and a variety of livestock, including turkeys, pigs, chickens, cows, donkeys, and rabbits.

A group of children and adults looking at animals at Old Macdonald Farm in 1970.

Photo Credit: 1963 M-NCPPC Annual Report, courtesy of M-NCPPC Archives

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