Holly Grove (ssblackcommunities)

In 1879 the Tyson family, prosperous white landowners from Howard County, partitioned off a piece of their extensive Montgomery County holdings to create a small subdivision of some two dozen lots tucked along Norwood Road, between today’s Ednor Road and New Hampshire Avenue.  The subdivision apparently was created for Black residents, for, within a few years, the lots were being sold exclusively to Black families, many with kin already in the area.

A narrow entrance lane was built for the residents to access their property.  That private lane eventually became a public road named Holly Grove.

The Holly Grove community grew steadily through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with Black families filling new houses built along Holly Grove Road and Awkard Lane.  Many of the small lots held garden plots, with the harvested vegetables headed for the Washington market.  Some of the men of Holly Grove worked as laborers on the nearby farms of white landowners.

Unlike other Black communities in the area, Holly Grove did not grow around a church or school.  Worshipers traveled to Colesville or Sandy Spring to attend services; schoolchildren were transported to schools a mile or more away from the community.

New homes continued to be built in Holly Grove through the first half of the twentieth century, with many of the modern masonry houses replacing the simple wood-frame houses of the original settlers.  Although populated with new family homes, the boundaries of the Holly Grove community continued to follow the original plot lines as first laid out in 1879.