CASA de Maryland is a Latino and immigration advocacy and assistance organization with satellite offices in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Here in Maryland, the non-profit organization had been serving the community for several years from East Fayette Street, a few blocks from the Belnord Theatre building. After a purchase in 2017, CASA created bold plans for the historic theatre. Selective demolition removed a non-historic ceiling revealing beautiful architectural details and a space large enough to create a series of modern pods for different uses – all while respecting those design elements and achieving ADA compliance and LEED Gold Certification. Even during Covid-19, CASA has been able to utilize the extra space of the Belnord Theatre renovation to host large-scale and socially-distanced grocery pick-ups. CASA is eager to return to full-strength – supporting the community – and the restored Belnord will take center stage.
When Washington Grove transitioned from a summer resort to an incorporated town, much of the rustic camp character of this special place carried on including their approach to handcrafting their street signs. Starting in 1937, citizens built, painted, installed, and maintained these iconic posts, including a new cohort of volunteers who recently worked with the Historic Preservation Commission and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service to make minor modifications to the original design to ensure that the town would not lose these iconic signs that provide a sense of direction and a sense of place. For their dedication to the details, Preservation Maryland presents Susan Van Nostrand and the thirty-three volunteers of the Washington Grove sign project with a 2020 Best of Maryland Community Choice Award.
A native of Brunswick, Maryland in Frederick County, James Castle is a model citizen, dedicated volunteers, skilled historian, and stalwart preservationist…sometimes known as Brakeman Jim, while giving free tours to heritage tourists or local senior citizens. In 2015, James Castle became President of the Brunswick Potomac Foundation almost 20 years from the day he first started to volunteer for the organization. He has held the position ever since. In his tenure, Castle has led a note-worthy fundraising effort, supported the creation of a protective conservation district and the relocation of the historic WB Railroad Tower, and reinvigorated the organization’s online presence during Covid-19. Preservation Maryland is pleased to recognize Jim Castle with this year’s Preservation Maryland Best of Maryland Harrison Volunteer Award.