The county's Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Credit: Steve Bohnel

A former elementary school in Boyds has been recommended as a historic site by the Montgomery County Planning Board for its role in fighting racial segregation in education in the county, according to a release by Montgomery Planning officials. 

The Planning Board unanimously voted during a public hearing on Thursday to recommend to the County Council that the site of the former Edward U. Taylor School be designated as historic and that it be added to the county’s Master Plan for Historic Preservation.  

Edward U. Taylor School served as an elementary school for Black students during legal racial segregation in schools. It was built in 1952 with additional features added between 1954-1969. Its architecture was influenced by the Modern Movement, according to planning officials.

The school was named after Edward U. Taylor, a 1923 graduate of Howard University, who served in the position of “supervisor for colored schools” in Montgomery County from 1924 to 1951.

According to Montgomery Planning officials, the school represented “the cumulative efforts of the county’s Black community to obtain better facilities and opportunities after decades of public underinvestment in educational facilities for Black children.”

In 1961, it was one of the last schools in the county to be desegregated and closed in 1979 due to declining enrollment. The building, at 19501 White Ground Road, now houses the Taylor Science Materials Center. 


According to the release, for a site to be designated as historic, it needs to meet certain criteria. The school met the criteria of “being of historical and cultural significance” as well as being “of architectural and design significance.” 

The Planning Board also voted to add the school to the Locational Atlas & Index of Historic Sites, which is a list that “identifies resources that are potentially historic,” according to Montgomery Planning’s official website. 

“We commend the Planning Board’s recommendation that the County Council designate the Edward U. Taylor Elementary School as a historic site,” Acting Planning Director Tanya Stern said in an official statement. “This school is a landmark in the history of the Black community in Boyds and served as a community anchor. The Taylor School represented the efforts of individuals like Edward U. Taylor and Black organizations, parents, and teachers to obtain quality educational facilities for Black children in Montgomery County in the mid-20th century.” 


The school was one of two sites that were considered for historic designation in the public hearing as part of a proposed amendment to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation.

The board voted to not recommend a former Weller’s Dry-Cleaning site in Silver Spring as a historic designation. The Weller’s site consisted of a Googie-styled commercial store and a sign constructed in 1961, in downtown Silver Spring. The Googie style, a subset of Modern Movement architecture, is a popular but rare mid-century commercial architectural style, according to Montgomery Planning’s official website.

Last year, the Historic Preservation Commission found that both locations met the requirements in the County Code to be designated as historic. The HPC recommended the Montgomery County Planning Board review the sites and that the County Council designate both sites as historic. 


According to Montgomery Planning officials, the County Council has the final decision on whether to designate a site as historic and will determine whether to act on the Planning Board’s recommendation at a later date.