HABS NO. MD-1216 Page 2
HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDINGS SURVEY SPRINGHILL LAKE, GREENBELT, MD
Greenbelt, Maryland. The Springhill Lake development is a complex of approximately 157 acres on the western edge of Greenbelt in Prince George’s County.1 It includes all of the area bounded by Edmonston Road on the east, Cherrywood Lane on the northwest, and Breezewood Drive on the south.
Time Period: 1962 to 1970. Springhill Lake Apartments were constructed in several phases. The first was in 1962 and subsequent sections were added until 1970. The Springhill Lake development consists of ten sections.
Present Owner: The vast majority of the Springhill Lake neighborhood is the apartment complex, which is owned by Apartment Investment Management Company (AIMCO), a real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Denver, Colorado. Prince George’s County School Board owns a parcel and elementary school within Springhill Lake. Commercial Realty Company owns and manages a low-rise office building in one of the sections.
There are a variety of uses within the Springhill Lake development, generally maintaining the original development plans and services from the community’s inception. Springhill Lake Apartments serve as rental housing. However, where they once served the luxury market, the apartments are now part of the affordable housing market. The Springhill Lake Retail Center includes a small convenience store and a training center for a regional food retailer. The Prince George’s County School Board operates the Springhill Lake Elementary School on Springhill Drive, serving kindergarten through sixth grades. The Springhill Lake Commercial Center is currently leased by the General Services Administration of the federal government.
Significance: The community of Greenbelt, Maryland, was created through a landmark federal planning initiative in the 1930s that, as much as any community in the United States, exhibits the thoughtful integration of transportation, housing, retail and government services, green space, and residents. Since this origin at the hands of the federal Resettlement Administration, Greenbelt has tried to maintain this emphasis on planning and maintaining its physical and social character as a progressive community during its significant growth in subsequent decades.
While the original section of Greenbelt established a precedent in housing form and planning, the federal government could not maintain its tight control over the community. In 1952, the federal government sold its property to a veterans cooperative and individual buyers. The cooperative—subsequently known as Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI)—later sold most of the vacant land in Greenbelt to private developers, paving the way for major growth and conflict between residents and those developers during the 1960s.
John B. Willmann, “City Living Goes to Suburbia.” Washington Post. 7 Oct., 1961: B1.