Mount Rainier Historic District
Mt. Rainier, Prince Georges County
The Mount Rainier Historic District has the varied and picturesque character of an early-20th century town or suburb. The district's street grid is laid over a gently rolling, formerly rural landscape. The district's streetscapes were developed over a period of more than 40 years from c. 1900 to 1940. The vast majority of the district's more than 1000 buildings are modestly scaled, detached, single-family, frame houses sited closely together with common setbacks. While the single-family house is the prevailing building type, other residential types are present. Included among these are the small apartment buildings, the occasional duplex, and the single family residence that incorporates a small storefront, usually located at the corner of an intersection. With the exception of five churches and a bank building known to have been designed by local architects, the remainder of the district's buildings are vernacular in inspiration. The vast majority of residential buildings are constructed of and sheathed with wooden materials, but there are a small number built of brick or covered in stucco. Brick and cast and poured concrete are the most common foundation materials, particularly for houses from the 1920s and 1930s. both synthetic materials have also been used to cover earlier sheathing on older houses. A large number of houses throughout the community have been covered with vinyl or aluminum siding, concealing a range of earlier materials. Red is the most commonly used brick color, but there are several instances where lighter colors are employed. Throughout the district, buildings were erected individually and in groups and in a range of forms and styles with both subtle and substantial differences. These differences represent the evolution and diversity of vernacular design throughout the early years of the 20th century.
The Mount Rainier Historic District is significant as an early, large, and essentially intact example of the type of suburban community that changed the character of western Prince George's County in the early years of the 20th century. The historic district is also significant for its large and diverse collection of vernacular inspired residences and commercial buildings erected between c. 1900 and 1939. In addition, there is an important group of five revival-style churches designed by local architects. At least one of the churches is the work of a firm nationally known for its ecclesiastical buildings. Mount Rainier Historic District's period of significance, 1900-1940, represents a time of substantial suburban growth for the western portion of Prince George's County as part of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area.