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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mr. Rouse's neighborhood on last weekend's Walk About


     Last Saturday's Columbia Archive's Walk About focused on Jim Rouse's world in Columbia in celebation of Rouse's 100th birthday this year.  This is part of the Archives year long celebration of this event.  I wanted to give you a sample of what was mentioned on the walk.


     Many of us have been aware of the Rouse house at 10450 Waterfowl Terrace on Wilde Lake with its distinctive yellow doors.  When Rouse originally painted the doors yellow he forgot to get the village architectural committee approval and he was notified of this fact by the committee.  An embarrassed Rouse apolitically wrote back to the committee showing his sense of humor that he was "red faced about not filling out the pink form to paint his doors yellow."   Originally built for Malcolm Sherman in the 1960's, Rouse bought it for under $100,000 in 1975.  It recently was sold to its latest owners for $650,000.


   It is not surprising that Rouse bought a house on the lake as growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland the water, fishing and hunting were boyhood memories he carried throughout his life.  Recently a bench was installed on Wilde Lake in his memory.



                      The view from the bench looks out at the back of his house across Wilde Lake.


   The Rouse Company used the townhouse shown above in the Cove for guests of the Company in the early days of Columbia's development.  It also served as a place to stay for entertainers performing at Merriweather Post Pavilion.  Tom Jones and Willie Nelson were just a couple of the performers who stayed here.  The Cove also was the residence of Oprah Winfry when she lived in Columbia.  Trivia fact for Oprah's stay in Columbia---her favorite meal--Chick-fil-a in the Columbia Mall.


    Wilde Lake was named for Frazar Wilde the CEO of Connecticut General who was a friend of Jim Rouse.  Connecticut General provided the financing for Columbia.  The dam above that created Wilde Lake has an interesting feature in the pouring of the dam walls.  As can be seen above the surface of the walls look like tree trunks.  This effect was created by using actual tree trunks in the forms used for pouring the concrete walls.  The tree trunks were removed when the concrete hardened.  The dam used to have lights on it and a fountain which created a visible feature when you drove by on Little Patuxent Parkway. 


  Want to know where the first Post Office in Columbia was located?  The picture above shows the stone building on Wilde Lake that housed the first Post Office.

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