With few other options for homeownership at that time, Black citizens could embark on their own American Dream in Lincoln Park. Many of them were formerly enslaved, and for most, it was their first house.
There is still at least one resident who is descended from original owners, according to Lincoln Park Civic Association President Alexandra Dace Denito. (That resident, who asked that her name not be used, declined to comment for this article). In addition to the longtime residents, there are also newcomers who are making Lincoln Park their home.
“Lincoln Park is home. It’s a historic African American neighborhood but it is more mixed than the rest of Rockville,” she added. “As a Creole, it was important to me to raise my children in a place that looked like the place I grew up in [Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean off East Africa]. We bought our home in 2007. What I like about the neighborhood, once we chose it, we did not regret it: the people, longtime residents greeted my family with open arms. So, I am giving back by volunteering in the civic association.”
Denito, who has a PhD in molecular endocrinology, first came to Rockville in the late 1990s for a job at the National Institutes of Health, but found “a home, a family and much more,” she said. She bought a three-level townhouse that was constructed in 2007.
As vice president and now president of the civic association, Denito has worked on such neighborhood issues as school bus transportation, sidewalk repairs and the Lincoln Park Historic District Plan, which, she said, aims “to save and preserve what we can, while promoting economic development and opportunities around our neighborhood.”
Architectural styles: Residents continue to take pride in Lincoln Park’s history, even as the neighborhood has evolved over the years, with a friendly vibe, historic architecture and plenty of green spaces.
Katie Ostrowski, her partner, Jackson Wilde, and their three dogs moved to Lincoln Park in January of this year. They are renting a Cape Cod built in the late 1920s. The community has a variety of housing styles, from two- and three-story garden-style apartment buildings to luxury townhouses, to single-family homes on large lots. Home styles include Cape Cod, rambler, contemporary, farmhouse and more.
Ostrowski said she and Wilde have found the neighborhood to be welcoming. “Our favorite feature of Lincoln Park is the people,” she said.
Ostrowski, a real estate agent with the Rockville Real Estate Exchange, said that her experience of living in the neighborhood has been affected by social distancing, but hasn’t diminished her experience. “Though covid has put a bit of a damper on in-person activities, we’ve gotten to know our neighbors via over-the-fence chats and friendly waves from the porch,” she said.
Another selling point is the neighborhood’s relatively reasonable prices. “It’s a fairly affordable area to live when considering Rockville as a whole,” said Ostrowski. “The size of our lot is substantial, especially compared to other neighborhoods in Rockville. Having such a large, fenced-in yard makes it a wonderful place to play fetch with our dogs and hone our gardening skills.”
There’s also plenty of green space in the neighborhood. The 6.7-acre Isreal Park has tennis courts, basketball courts, a baseball/softball diamond, playground equipment, picnic tables and more. It’s adjacent to the Lincoln Park Community Center, one of the hubs of the neighborhood.
Built in 1970, the 12,500-square-foot Lincoln Park Community Center hosts community meetings, gatherings, special events and more. The community plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the center with an event in the Peerless Rockville/Glenview Mansion Speaker Series (currently online because of the coronavirus pandemic). Organizers plan to share the history of the center’s development, and residents have been asked to share their memories of its role in their lives.
Living there: The neighborhood is bordered by Ashley Avenue to the north, North Horners Lane to the east, Lincoln Avenue to the south and North Stonestreet Avenue to the west, according to the city.
There are three homes (detached and townhouse) for sale in the Lincoln Park/Legacy at Lincoln Park neighborhood. They range from a detached rambler with five bedrooms and three bathrooms for $460,000 to a newly renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom detached home listed for $409,900, Ostrowski said.
In the past 12 months, 13 single-family homes and townhouses have sold, ranging from a lot with rehabilitation potential for $240,000 to a Colonial with seven bedrooms and five bathrooms for $725,000. The average price of homes sold last year was approximately $401,000.
Schools: Beall and College Gardens Elementary, Julius West Middle and Richard Montgomery High.
Transit: For commuting, the Rockville Metro station is in easy walking distance — a half-mile or less — from the southern half of the neighborhood. Even from the northernmost street, it’s just a mile to the Metro and to the still-growing Rockville Town Center and its many businesses and restaurants. Many errands can be done on foot.
The Rockville MARC/Amtrak Station and the Rockville Metro station on the Red Line Metrorail, also served by several bus routes, are less than a half-mile from the south end of the neighborhood. Ride On buses run through or around the neighborhood. Hungerford Drive (Rockville Pike) is just west of the neighborhood, Interstate 270 is 1½ miles to the west and Veirs Mill Road is about a mile to the south. The Rockville Civic Center is about a mile east of Lincoln Park.