Mt. White Flint Rises

Mt. White Flint Rises

You might not know it now, but traffic-choked, overhead-wire-tangled Rockville Pike actually sits atop an ancient trail that follows the ridge of a local chain of hills. Who knows what tales the buried stones could tell, echoing the movement from white-tailed deer paths, to indigenous peoples’ footprints, to settlers’ wagon tracks, to the arrival of the first smoky, noisy automobile?

It’s one of the highest points around, which is why WSSC has placed a giant “standpipe” (water tank) at Executive Blvd. and Woodglen to keep pressure in the area’s water system (and why we’ll never see WSSC take that down, even though the Planning Board would like it as a park). It’s also why all the new developments have to take into account the changing elevation as the ground falls away from the Pike.

And now, soaring above the ridgeline, is a new peak at the corner of the Pike and Montrose Parkway. I don’t know that it’s been christened, but I call it “Mt. White Flint.”


As Kilimanjaro rises above the African plain, so too does the new mountain dominate the landscape. (Or, if you’d like, since it’s manmade, perhaps as Space Mountain rises above Disney World?)

So, why, you might ask, is there a huge mound of dirt cheek-by-jowl with the Pike, at the northern entrance to the new, revitalized White Flint?

Actually, says Tommy Mann of Federal Realty Investment Trust, which is building the new Pike and Rose development on that property, it’s a feature, not a bug.

They dug up all that dirt on their site, and rather than paying to have lots of dump trucks haul it off, then paying more trucks to bring it back for landscaping or fill, they’ll just keep it there for a while and use it. He didn’t use the term “locovore,” but it’s the same idea: save the fuel, keep the air clean, etc. by keeping things local. Sustainability, which they try to keep in mind.

So, not to make a Mt. White Flint out of a molehill (sorry), but how about using that big pile for recreation in the meantime? Perhaps supplement the climbing walls with something more earthy? Probably not a wise move, for insurance reasons. But maybe they could use some of the new, artiste-adorned fencing to screen it a little? Or color it, like Chicago does the Chicago River on St. Paddy’s Day? Hold a contest to decorate it? Plant something on it? Just sayin.’

Barnaby Zall


Barnaby Zall


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