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For the place in Cheshire, see Chestnut Lodge, Widnes.

Chestnut Lodge (formerly known as Woodlawn Hotel) was a historic building in Rockville, Maryland, United States, well known as a psychiatric institution. It was a contributing property to the West Montgomery Avenue Historic District.[1]

Chestnut Lodge Postcard dated 1909
Hand coloured photographic postcard of Chestnut Lodge Sanitorium postmarked 1909


In 1886, Charles G. Wilson commissioned an architect to build a four-story brick "summer boarding house" on 5 acres (2.0 ha) of land he had purchased in the west of Rockville. During the construction of the building, Wilson filed for bankruptcy, and the unfinished building was bought for $6000 by Mary J. Colley (the owner of the Clarendon Hotel in Washington DC) and her partner Charles W. Bell. Under their ownership, the building was opened as the Woodlawn Hotel in the spring of 1889. The hotel boasted electric bells, gas lighting and 40 luxurious guest rooms and was extremely successful, catering to rich visitors from Washington DC who often boarded in the hotel during the summer months.

After a decade or so of prosperity, however, the fortunes of the Woodlawn Hotel declined as many of its semi-permanent residents moved into new houses in Rockville. In 1906 the hotel's owners were heavily in debt and were forced to sell the building and grounds at public auction. The hotel was purchased by Dr. Ernest L. Bullard, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a surgeon and professor of psychiatry and neurology. Bullard renovated the building and re-opened it in 1910 as a sanatorium for the care of nervous and mental diseases, renaming it Chestnut Lodge after the 125 chestnut trees that grew in the grounds.

For many years, Bullard was the sole physician working at the Lodge, but over the next 75 years a total of three generations of the Bullard family operated the private hospital. Many nationally renowned therapists, including Clarence Edward Bunge, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann,[2][3] Wayne Fenton,[4] Thomas McGlashan,[5] Harold Searles,[6] and Otto Allen Will, Jr., worked at the hospital over the years. The hospital was the site for a series of influential studies on the long-term treatment outcome for psychiatric conditions, known as the Chestnut Lodge studies.[5][7][8][9]

In the 1950s and 1960s, innovative dance therapist Marian Chace had regularly scheduled sessions with groups of patients. Judith Richardson Bunney followed her in this work. In the 1960s and 1970s, Donn B. Murphy conducted a drama group for patients.

In 1997 the lodge was purchased by CPC Health, and passed hands again to the Washington Waldorf School in 2001 when CPC Health declared bankruptcy. In December 2003, the property was conveyed to Chestnut Lodge Properties, Inc.

In 2008 the property was approved for conversion to condominiums (inside the main building) and upscale housing.[10] The grove of chestnut trees and some original building façades were to be preserved. But at around 3am on June 7, 2009, the building was destroyed by fire. Montgomery County Fire Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer says the unoccupied, multi-story brick structure collapsed in the Sunday morning blaze. He said the building was unoccupied and no one was injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.[11]


  1. ^ "West Montgomery Avenue Historic District". Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  2. ^ Frieda Fromm-Reichmann; Gail A. Hornstein (2000). To redeem one person is to redeem the world: the life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-82792-1. 
  3. ^ Mcglashan, Thomas H. and Fenton, Wayne S. (1998) Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, 1889–1957, Journal of Psychiatry, 155, p123 [1]
  4. ^ McGlashan TH, Carpenter WT (September 2007). "Identifying unmet therapeutic domains in schizophrenia patients: the early contributions of Wayne Fenton from Chestnut Lodge". Schizophr Bull 33 (5): 1086–92. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbm082. PMC 2632345. PMID 17634414. 
  5. ^ a b Mcglashan, T. H. (1984). "The Chestnut Lodge follow-up study. I. Follow-up methodology and study sample". Archives of General Psychiatry 41 (6): 573–585. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790170047006. PMID 6428370.  edit
  6. ^ Robert M Young. 'Harold Searles', The Human Nature Review (2005). Retrieved 07 July 2010.
  7. ^ Mcglashan, T. H. (1984). "The Chestnut Lodge follow-up study. II. Long-term outcome of schizophrenia and the affective disorders". Archives of General Psychiatry 41 (6): 586–601. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790170060007. PMID 6732419.  edit
  8. ^ Mcglashan, TH (1986). "The Chestnut Lodge follow-up study. III. Long-term outcome of borderline personalities". Archives of General Psychiatry 43 (1): 20–30. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800010022003. PMID 3942471.  edit
  9. ^ Mcglashan, T. H. (1986). "The prediction of outcome in chronic schizophrenia. IV. The Chestnut Lodge follow-up study". Archives of General Psychiatry 43 (2): 167–176. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800020077010. PMID 3947211.  edit
  10. ^ "Fox news item about purchase of Chestnut Lodge for Condominiums". Retrieved 2009-05-10. [dead link]
  11. ^ Allison Klein (7 June 2009). "Historic Rockville Building Destroyed by Fire". washingtonpost.com. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°5′5.3″N 77°9′45.5″W / 39.084806°N 77.162639°W / 39.084806; -77.162639

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut_Lodge — Please support Wikipedia.
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67 news items

Montgomery Herald

Montgomery Herald
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:30:00 -0700

Nightly square dances in the historic Great Chestnut Lodge from Wednesday through Saturday and outdoor concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings are popular attractions. Highlights for children and families include arts and crafts, basket making, daily ...

Huntington Herald Dispatch

Huntington Herald Dispatch
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:56:15 -0700

... 1942: Camp Washington-Carver was dedicated and opened to the public. The camp, located at Clifftop, Fayette County, was the first 4-H camp for African-Americans in the country. The camp's great chestnut lodge is the largest log structure in West ...
Beckley Register-Herald
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:20:46 -0700

Nightly square dances in the Great Chestnut Lodge are from Wednesday through Saturday and there are outdoor concerts Friday and Saturday evening. Megan Lynch Chowning, who won the Robert C. Byrd award for traditional fiddle playing at the Grand ...

Huntington Herald Dispatch

Huntington Herald Dispatch
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:05:32 -0700

Aside from the music, other activities will include flat foot and square dance instructional workshops for beginners, a nightly square dance for all comers in the historic Chestnut Lodge, basket weaving workshops, open yoga classes, family movie ...
Washington Post
Wed, 16 Jun 2010 23:47:07 -0700

Whether serving as a luxury hotel attracting the Washington elite in the 19th century, a haven for the mentally ill in the mid-20th century or a gathering spot for teenagers and ghost hunters in the 21st century, Chestnut Lodge had an aura that lured many.
Washington Times
Thu, 11 Aug 2011 06:21:44 -0700

Michael Harris Homes is building 31 single-family homes on quarter-acre sites at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, on the 21-acre site of the former Woodlawn Hotel. The site includes historic buildings that are being renovated as part of the community ...


Thu, 05 Feb 2015 03:48:45 -0800

The sanitarium was called Chestnut Lodge. About 3 months before we moved into that house, the abandoned Chestnut Lodge building burned down and collapsed. A developer ended up buying the land and building very expensive housing on it, calling the ...

Mad In America

Mad In America
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:37:50 -0700

During my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of Freudian psychiatry and the ascension of molecular psychiatry. Unfortunately, we have gone from the frying pan into the fire. I certainly do not subscribe to old-fashioned psychoanalytic ideas which had ...

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