In 1887, Washington architect T.F. Schneider designed a summer resort, known as Ye Forest Inne, on a former tobacco plantation in the Forest Glen neighborhood of Silver Spring. When the hotel failed several years later, John and Vesta Cassedy turned the property into a private finishing school for young women and called it the National Park Seminary because it bordered Rock Creek Park.

Starting in 1898, the school began robustly adding buildings to its campus. A ballroom was built, at the time the tallest building in Montgomery County. Whimsical sorority houses were constructed to resemble a Japanese pagoda, a Swiss chalet, a Dutch windmill and a Spanish mission. A gymnasium was added in 1907, housing a tiled swimming pool, locker room, solarium, bowling alley and basketball court.

The school remained open until 1942, when it was seized under the War Power Act for Walter Reed hospital. Renamed the Forest Glen Annex, it continued to serve the wounded through the Vietnam War.

By the time Maryland designated the property as a National Register Historic District in 1972, the Army had begun to scale down its use. The expansion of the Walter Reed campus in Washington eventually led the Army to abandon the site.

By the 1990s, the property had fallen into decay and the Army sought to dispose of it. A nonprofit group, Save Our Seminary, was formed to preserve and protect the many unusual buildings. After a long process, a deal was struck between the General Services Administration and Montgomery County in 2004. Since then, private developers have been restoring many of the historic structures on the 32-acre property and turning them into unique living spaces.


The Gymnasium in 1925 shows the columns and ornamental roofline which gave the building a Neoclassical appearance. (Courtesy of Save Our Seminary)

The gymnasium is one of the last remaining buildings to undergo a renaissance. Karl Voglmayr and his brother Trevor of Washington Landmark Construction and Development undertook the project in 2014. “My brother and I, we like to find something different, that’s creative and never been done before,” Karl Voglmayr said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to come here and turn it into something immaculate, like a Greek palace.”

Greek revival: The Gymnasium Condos consist of 12 apartments — one three-bedroom, seven two-bedroom and four one-bedroom units. Some are flats; others are lofts. All take their names from Greek mythology. Prices range from $378,585 to $886,550 with monthly condo fees running between $327 and $856.

Buyers can take advantage of Maryland Historic Trust state tax credits up to $50,000, which can be redeemed as a lump sum, applicable for five years from settlement. A Montgomery County tax credit for rehabilitated historic properties reduces a buyer’s property taxes for up to six years.

A painstakingly restored, two-story Greek portico with its Corinthian columns provides a stately entrance to the homes.

The interiors combine classic elements with contemporary touches. Some historic features from the original structure were too damaged to be saved. But at the insistence of the Maryland Historic Trust, period details such as pressed tin ceilings with egg-and-dart cornices were re-created.

Zeus, a two-bedroom loft apartment, was built on what was the basketball court. The second floor retains part of the railing that typically surrounded old-fashioned basketball courts. An exposed scissor truss creates visual interest and gives the unit a more spacious feel.


Poseidon, the three-bedroom flat, features a sunken living room with the original mosaic tiles from the swimming pool. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

The beautifully tiled and heated pool was supplied with mineral water from local springs. (Courtesy of Save Our Seminary)

Poseidon, the three-bedroom flat, features a sunken living room with the original mosaic tiles from the swimming pool. Parthenon, a two-bedroom flat in the former solarium, is wrapped in windows.

Parking available: All of the condos have abundant natural light from oversize windows. Every unit is wired for Verizon Fios, has distressed oak flooring and a full-size Whirlpool washer and dryer, and comes with a parking space. The bathrooms have rain-head showers and floating vanities. The kitchens have honed Carrara-marble waterfall islands, high-gloss Italian cabinetry, George Nelson bubble pendant lamps, Kohler fixtures and KitchenAid stainless-steel appliances.

Community amenities include a fitness center and community room. Rock Creek Park has bicycle and jogging trails.

What’s nearby: Downtown Silver Spring, with coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores, is less than three miles away. Westfield Wheaton mall, which includes Costco, Giant, J.C. Penny and Target, is about three miles away.

Schools: Woodlin Elementary School, Sligo Middle and Einstein High, part of the Downcounty Consortium.

Transit: The Forest Glen Metro station is approximately one mile away. RideOn bus service provides direct access to Silver Spring, the Silver Spring Metro station, Chevy Chase and Kensington. Nearby major roads include the Beltway, Connecticut Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, Georgia Avenue and 16th Street.


The Parthenon, a two-bedroom condo, is in what once was the solarium. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)
Gymansium Condos

2747 Linden Lane, Silver Spring

The condo units are priced from $378,585 to $886,550.

Builder: Washington Landmark Construction and Development

Features: The condos have open floor plans with a living and dining area open to a center-island kitchen. Each unit is wired for Verizon Fios and has hardwood floors, oversize windows, stainless-steel appliances, in-unit full-size washer and dryer, and forced-air-gas heat and air conditioning.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3/1 to 2

Square footage: 788 to 2,022

Association fees: $327 to $856 per month

View model: Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment

Sales: Oliver Harris 202-251-9372 or gymnasiumcondos@gmail.com