Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ June 2008

‘Googling Around’ Yields a Bit of Local History

By Arthur Perlman

I was googling around recently and came across a site about WQMR (WGAY) which once had a radio transmitter on Arcola Avenue where Kemp Mill Shopping Center is now (the park/pond area actually).

The WQMR radio transmitter on Arcola Avenue in Kemp Mill.
I remember exploring the transmitter with my friends after it was abandoned, but before Kemp Mill Shopping Center was built, around 1968.  It was quite an adventure and I’ve always had it in my mind that it had been torn down for the shopping center, but I wasn’t sure.

There is a 1948 map of the area posted at the site (below).  There’s no Northwood [High School], no Forest Knolls (through a few small roads and houses are marked).  University Boulevard was Old Bladensburg Road; I think Inwood Avenue is on the map, too (by Glen Haven).

One thing that caught my eye was the “Gilbert Mica Mine” in Kemp Mill, which I had never heard of.  I googled it and found this:

“Remains of the Kensington Mica Mine can be found in what is now the ‘Springbrook Forest’ subdivision (Wheaton, Maryland) and the adjoining ‘Northwest Branch Park.’  Little remains of the workings, which consisted of two shafts, a number of dumps, and a large cut through the pegmatite.  The trenches used to float the mica in the seperating process are still extant and a very small portion of the dump piles remain, extending down into the park on the west side of Northwest Branch.  An old shack, associated with the mine, still exists in the park as well.  Some of the driveway borders for homes along Stonington and Remington Drive are decorated with pegmatite material left from the mining operation....”

[Arthur Perlman is a former resident of Forest Knolls (Forest Knolls Elementary School class of 1969, Sligo Junior High class of 1972, and Northwood High School class of 1976) and brother to NFCCA Treasurer Linda Perlman.]   ■

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