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Silver Spring

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National Park Seminary, Japanese Pagoda, 2805 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD



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Item Title


Location
2805 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD

Find maps of Silver Spring, MD


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS MD-1109-J
Building/structure dates: 1907 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1919 subsequent work
Significance: The Japanese pagoda is one of the landmark campus buildings. Even before its upturned eaves were removed, the Japanese bungalow looked austere compared to this ostentatious structure next door. Instead of simply incorporating Japanese detailing on an American house design, the pagoda resembles a Japanese temple. It is one of the most flamboyant and ornamental of any of the campus structures. The building was one of eight clubhouses built on campus. It was the sorority house for Chi Psi Epsilon. The pagoda was not a rare form of garden and suburban architecture. The building type appeared in many estate gardens and in many suburban neighborhoods. Only one other girls school was located that had a Japanese-inspired building on campus, however, Traces of a Japanese design are barely legible in the Ransom Everglades School's meeting house, located in Coconut Grove, Florida. It is not nearly as provocative as the pagoda at NPS. Since the eighteenth century, wealthy English and American estate owners have erected Asian-inspired houses and follies on their grounds. Asian designs became popular with Americans after trade with China was established in the eighteenth century. The reopening of trade with Japan in the 1850s after years of isolation, the publication of Edward Morse's "Japanese Houses and Their Surroundings" in 1885, and the exhibition of Japanese houses at World Fairs, all contributed to the popularity of Japanese goods and designs around the turn of the twentieth century. Exotic forms, in this case, Asian, were intended to reflect the owner's sophistication and refinement. Many wealthy Americans had Japanese rooms in their houses and less affluent ones purchased Japanese wares. Because of its size and ostentatious design, the pagoda looks more like a garden folly than a dwelling house. A wide assortment of exotic Japanese buildings were designed as enticing eye-catchers in many country estate gardens. Some were placed within picturesque English-style landscapes and others were a part of a larger Japanese garden design. Japanese architects were responsible for many works, but pattern books were also available for American builders' use. The NPS pagoda was probably a result of the latter. Because the pagoda is closely situated between several eclectic buildings instead of in a natural garden setting, it is slightly out of context for a garden folly and somewhat more like an amusement park attraction.

Subjects
Education
Officers' Quarters
Domestic Life


Related Names
Chi Psi Epsilon Sorority
Ott, Cynthia, Historian
Boucher, Jack E., Photographer


Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
General view looking from the west, including Linden Lane
East southeast elevation, with scale
Perspective view looking from the east to Pagoda; note Swiss Chalet in background
Perspective view looking from the east
Closer view of Pagoda, looking from the east
General view looking from the north
General view of the east northeast facade
East northeast elevation, with scale
Detail view to show lantern, with scale
Detail view to show lantern, with scale
Detail view of east northeast elevation to show steps and lanterns; note causeway to Swiss Chalet in background
Detail view to show lantern, with scale
Perspective view (duplicate of MD-1109-J-4)
Perspective view (duplicate of MD-1109-J-5)
Copy image of "the Japanese Club House" (NPS yearbook, p. 45)
Copy image of historic postcard to show pagoda (NPS postcard collection)
Copy image of "Chi Psi U - The Japanese Club" (NPS view book, p. 43)
Copy image of "A Japanese Temple ..." (NPS view book, p. 33)
Perspective view looking from the east to the east northeast facade, with Swiss Chalet in background, to replicate the view shown in MD-1109-J-18


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