Hammond Wood Historic District
Silver Spring, Montgomery County
The Hammond Wood Historic District is a suburban development dating to 1949-51, consisting of 58 Contemporary single-family houses nestled in a tract of heavily wooded, rolling land. The site purchased by Paul I. Burman and Paul Hammond, developers, is 15 acres. The community is located southwest of Veirs Mill Road and across the street is a smaller Charles Goodman-designed neighborhood, Hammond Hill, built in 1949-50. The houses in Hammond Wood are on portions of Veirs Mill Road, College View Drive, Pendleton Drive, and Highview Avenue. An earlier developer's subdivision plan to bisect the subject parcel with a straight-line road was immediately abandoned by Goodman and Hammond Homes when they took charge of planning for the development, because the linear plan would have involved the removal of many old trees. Instead, the main road into the community, Pendleton Drive, was curved, and several cul-de-sacs, including Highview Court, were introduced. Goodman's plan permitted more conformance to the topography and a better economic use of the land. Hammond Wood is located at the apex of a triangle bounded by Veirs Mill Road to the east, Connecticut Avenue to the west, and University Avenue to the south. The community is approximately one mile north of the 'downtowns' of both Kensington and Wheaton. Lots in the sloping terrain generally vary from 1/6 to 1/4 acre, with every house individually sited according to the topography of the land and in relation to its neighbors. All houses have been carefully angled to the street and arranged both to maximize privacy and to provide for a southern exposure for the dominant glass wall facade. Hammond Wood retains a high level of integrity, both in its plan and landscape, and in its architecture. Houses are largely intact and the Goodman 'form' can be clearly distinguished; alterations generally conform to Goodman's Contemporary palette. Three houses in the neighborhood have been extensively redesigned since the original construction (all three by architect Harold Esten, who had once worked in Goodman's office), and as a result are no longer considered contributing "Goodman" buildings. While Goodman's firm did the overall site and landscape planning, the firm itself did not provide individual landscape plans to homeowners. As at Hollin Hills, Goodman's premier Fairfax County community, Goodman did make it possible for owners to commission his friend, the landscape architect Lou Bernard Voigt, for landscape plans. Stephen Kraft, an original owner, remembers that Voigt prepared a plan for his Goodman house for $10 on the back of an envelope. Voigt specified Arborvitae and native rhododendron. Other popular vegetation in the subdivision include: forsythia, dogwood, beech, maples, tulip poplars, and hemlocks. The landscaping generally remains the same today with some decline in the dogwoods due to a disease affecting native species.
The Hammond Wood Historic District is historically significant as an intact, architecturally cohesive example of Charles Goodman's merchant builder subdivisions in Montgomery County. It is one of only two sizeable developments in Montgomery County where Goodman houses were exclusively built, and where the full scope of his vision for a suburban community can be seen. Contemporary post-World War II housing by Charles M. Goodman is significant in the areas of architecture, community planning and development, and landscape architecture. These postwar buildings and subdivisions are significant indicators of several important patterns of events and architectural ideals. Hammond Wood conveys Charles Goodman's innovation in suburban planning in the metropolitan Washington region in the post-World War II period by telling the story of how pioneering architect/builder teams were redefining the monotonous suburban cultural landscape into enclaves that were overwhelmingly naturalistic. Hammond Wood conveys the best of Goodman's architectural legacy, showcasing his insistence on experimentation, adaptation of European and American modern ideas, and close collaboration with builders. The neighborhood reflects Goodman's contribution to Contemporary architecture through his ever-evolving floor plans; the use of new and used materials in combination; an abundance of technical innovations; an exuberance in the employment of the window wall; and a spare, yet elegant structural expressionism.