Some Frederick County residents believe the Trout Run retreat doesn’t deserve the historic designation it would need to become a proposed Scientology-affiliated drug rehabilitation center.

The proposal hinges on the County Council’s vote scheduled for Tuesday to designate the 40-acre site near Thurmont a part of the Frederick County Register of Historic Places.

The county Board of Zoning Appeals previously told the site’s owner, a property holdings group that acts as the real estate arm of the Church of Scientology, that the group would need a historic designation before modifying the property for a residential drug rehabilitation center.

The center would be operated by Narconon, a Scientology-affiliated organization that operates drug rehabilitation centers around the country.

Mark Long, who lives in Thurmont a few miles from Trout Run, said the site isn’t historic.

“It’s not contributed in any way to the economy of the county; no well-known county resident lived there, like Thomas Johnson or Francis Scott Key,” he said. “It has not contributed to the culture of Frederick County.”

According to the Frederick firm and the Historic Preservation Commission, three criteria make the site historic.

The first is that the property “exemplifies the cultural, economic, social, political or historic heritage of the County and its communities.”

According to a history of Trout Run written by former caretaker William Renner in 1987, gates were installed on the county road that runs through the property to create a private area for President Herbert Hoover to fish.

When Hoover first visited the site in 1929, only Army tents provided shelter, according to Renner.

At the April 7 County Council meeting, where council members voted to postpone their decision on the site, Councilman Jerry Donald said Hoover’s visits didn’t justify the historic designation.

“What’s historic about a place that a guy fishes?” he said.

Kate Kuranda, senior vice president at the Frederick firm R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates Inc., said Hoover’s visits are only “a footnote” to the site’s history.

A review of Trout Run’s history, prepared for the county by the firm, states the site is a “rare surviving example of an early twentieth-century private recreational camp.”

“Trout Run reflects the popularity of the Catoctin Mountains as a rural retreat that was accessible to the D.C. metropolitan area,” the review states.

After Hoover’s visits, 14 buildings were constructed on the Trout Run property. The owner has submitted plans to convert the retreat into a rehabilitation center that has space for 12 live-in patients, plus eight staff living on-site and eight staff living off-site.

The second criteria the firm and commission identified was that the property “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or architecture.”

Many of the rustic buildings on the property were constructed in the 1940s with “native stone and wood,” the firm’s review states.

Although architect Michael Proffitt, who is working on the Trout Run project, said the stone on-site is mostly original, Chuck Farmer said a significant amount of it has been replaced through maintenance.

“The stonework has been repaired so many times, and I’ve helped with that,” Farmer said.

Farmer was one of a handful of Frederick County residents who spoke out against Narconon’s proposal for the drug rehabilitation center at the County Council’s public hearing on the issue April 7.

“It’s not historical in the sense that they’re portraying,” he said.

Farmer agrees with Donald, who said the fact the site is old doesn’t make it historic.

“If the bar is set this low for something historic, that would mean almost anything in this county is historic,” Donald said.

He is concerned that the commission sets the bar too low for historic designations.

“It’s open to an awful lot of interpretation, the criteria,” Donald said.

Former County Commissioner Kai Hagen, who now runs the environmental conservation organization Envision Frederick County, said the council should be thoughtful about the properties it adds to the historic register.

The council’s decision “should be based on a determination of its historic nature, but also should consider if the use is compatible with what makes it historic,” he said.

The last criteria the firm and the commission identified for the property was that it “represents the work of (a) master craftsman, architect or builder.”

“The quality of the design out there is really quite remarkable,” Kuranda said, though her firm’s review did not identify any particular builders or designers responsible for the property’s original construction.

Yvonne Rodgers, executive director of Narconon Eastern U.S., said the organization chose Trout Run for a drug rehabilitation center because it is “quiet, private and peaceful.”

The camp, which is off Catoctin Hollow Road, sits in a deeply wooded area alongside Little Hunting Creek.

“It’s some interesting architecture and a lovely spot, but as far as contributing historically to Frederick County, I just don’t see it,” Long said.

Follow Sylvia Carignan on Twitter: @SylviaCarignan.

(28) comments


The only difference between a religion and a cult is time. All religions started as cults.


Historic designation in Frederick County lets property owners take advantage of a loophole in the zoning code. They can build structures and have uses that would otherwise not be allowed in the zone.


Thank you.


that is a giant loophole! , and seems to be counter-intuitive.

i would think the regulations for historic propery would be more strict in keeping with the historic period and nature of the property's existing structures.


The only thing being expressed here by local christian/ religious and non religious commenters is that they will find the most unflattering Scientology history, as they did with with the Islamic religion, in recent past, to keep, by any made up excuses possible to keep religious thought of a different bent or breed out of their back yards.

Such is the nature of man and his unwillingness to accept change. It's not as if WE haven't burned a number of witches or lynched those considered a little diffent ,than christianity has allowed in its time, history or today.

Isn't this one of the primary reasons that keeps the Frederick and the Region from moving ahead, FOR FEAR, of the boogy man. Isn't this how easily we are MANIPULATED by the Internet and Wikiperia passages that we can only speculate on and guess our way to a false resolve and conclusion?

When it comes to diversity, no one so far has even come close to allowing a desperate religious sect of man's making into your shallow ground of religious conviction, for fear the tenets of Scientology might rub off on you or your neighbor?

Ask yourself how long it will take before you and any other native of Frederick will ever allow the rest of the world into your sanctimonious, bigoted world of isolation from the rest of what the human species has to offer, just because it doesn't suit your religious ethic and disguising it under a tent of word games so as not to be found to be the bigot we really are?

Scientology certainly has many dark moments in its history, but so does Christianity and ALL other religious versions of a GOD that games the population into believing there is only one way to heaven; theirs. The logical paradigm is to question the tenets of all religious histories, but at least have a seat at the same table for those you REFUSE to understand out of fear, not religious belief.

Anyone want to take guess on when this startegy of ISOLATION of thought come about?


MAVRICKinc7 are you a member of the Scientology Church?


[thumbup] good question. this isn't about freedom of religion, MAVRICKinc7, its about full disclosure. scientiology hides behind shill companies to do its bidding.

the so called 'church' of scientology is clothed, historically, in secrecy, oppression of its membership, and manipulation.


bukweet: this has everything to do with religion and freedom to express religious tenets not found native to the Frederick Region. Best example going on the national stage is our own Congressional roots that historically operate in secrecy, oppress its membership and manipulate you and me on a daily basis..

What does Frederick County offer by way of disclosure and hiding behind secret development partners and strategies that's any different from what Scientology has to offer, what ever that is? To be emotionally driven by what you can't accept based solely on speculation and guess work is as religious as it gets. This is a land deal that's consciously being made more complicated than it should be. You did the same when the Islamic Church sought to plant their roots in Frederick County. How many excuses were made up to keep their church from gaining any traction in the County.

Isn't our County now clothed, historically, in random corruption that has been in existence for a number of years, lest you put that tidbit aside as old business and not worthy of consideration, but has no roots in religious thought or manupulation of Frederick's history from matters of church to state.

It's OK to ber addicted to denial. It's this denial that will aways bring us back to this same exchange and your inability to be truthful to yourself and that person you call GOD.


Absolutely not. But what if anything does that have to do will what I have spelled out here? I'm just not as afraid as you are of crossing boundaries and lines in sand from which informed decisions COULD be made if we were willing to tell ourselves the TRUTH about our worst nightmares and petty presumptions and accept the fact that religious labels don't work any better than labels we brand ourselves with, from ones staged by a single side of a disagreement/ difference of opinion and not willing to LISTEN, but only judge the other side on what amounts to hearsay and false witness.

What is it about Scientolgy that you know for a FACT? I know what REHABILITAION is in as many religious CULTS you can imagine. The beneficiaries of REHABILITATION are the people most down on any kind of luck you can imagine. Christianity is one way, as there are many more cults and religions capable of doing the same work.

It's like chiropractic manipulation can take the pain away until your next appointment, but Orthopedic medicine has just as many ways to relieve your pain as Chiropractors do. While I don't reccommend chiropractic manipulation, the science has proven, over decades, that it works for some but not all. Why would I stand in the way of what works for anyone? Or better still, ask yourself why you would stand in the way of cult practices that work for those yet identified in these many headline stories and Wikipedia's version of what only they know and you and me don't?

Label this any way you want, from cult to christianity, but all deserve a seat at the table IF it works for those of our kind labeled victim. The only thing being accomplished now is more about fear of the boogy man for want of LISTENING to what the applicant has to say and not the inflammatory messaging that speaks to bigotry, which, so far, is the only thing being offered to this "HISTORIC" plot and property rights puzzle that is serving as a FRONT to our religious ethics and not our common sense.


It is not something I would choose. Defend them, if you must.


Defend what or who? Your prejudice or theirs. I didn't choose. I rarely do. And the term "must" is a little starchy and stagnant for my liking. Its use ASSUMES too much about what most likely is not the case. It assumes I have taken sides when I haven't. What difference does it really make whether to you chose to religate the rest of mankind to your way of thinking or be doomed to isolation of thought. I prefer to see all sides of an issue which I have. I listened to both as transcried by the FNP, including your own.

All I have found is another fiefdom called Frederick County with walls built so high it's next to impossibe to see what tommorrow holds. All I'm doing is opening doors that you have barricaded for decades. I'm not the boogey man.


thiis is the 2nd story written by the FNP where the paper fails to explain the relationship between scientology's urging the planning and zoning commission to re-zone the property to 'historic' so that they can open a narcanon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center on the property.

what is the connection between the 2, FNP?

a woman who testified at the last council hearing on this said that the cult (church?) of scientology can't open such a facility without being licensed by the state of maryland. and in previous press releases to its memebership, the organization advertised Trout Run as a training facility in the peaceful bucolic area outside of Washington DC for the 'church of scientology. !!! which is it, applicant attorney?

it is counter intuitive to link the zoning change to 'historic' and drug/alcohol rehab center, unless the 'church' org is looking for more governmental handouts in the way of more tax breaks, and more lenient environmental regulations when it comes to building and sewer / septic regulations, etc.

i hope that the county and the state will not allow a narcanon facility operated by the cult of scientology to open so in frederick county and so close to camp david. if they do, county and state officials will have a very difficult time inspecting the facility... and scientiology's legal team will swamp the county and state lawyers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and court costs.

this is just another ruse by scientology to aquire more real estate and run a FOR PROFIT so called drug rehab center which will be closely protected by secrecy of the cult organization.


I went back and looked, it did say whether the Trout Run would be opened or not "hinged" on it's becoming historical. I don't get that connection either.


i agree - that wasn't even discussed in the last council meeting.


Guys or Gals: if it wasn't discussed at the last council meeting or you don't get the connection what role historical plays in this game of words, how can you be so sure that Scientology is not for Frederick County if it wasn't for your religious bigotry?

This web site has a lot of quotes, many from FNP. They are interesting to read.

Comment deleted.

Yes, if done by the right people for the right reasons!


Taken From Wikipedia:

Narconon International is an organisation which promotes L. Ron Hubbard's theories ofsubstance abuse treatment and addiction. Itsparent organisation is ABLE, which is controlled by The Church of Scientology.[1][2][3][4][5]Headquartered in Hollywood,[6] Narconon operates several dozen residential centers worldwide, chiefly in the United States andWestern Europe.

The organization was formed in 1966 byScientologist William Benitez, a former inmate of Arizona State Prison. Benitez contacted L. Ron Hubbard after reading his book,Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought and with Hubbard's help Narconon was incorporated in 1970.[7]

While both The Church of Scientology and Narconon state that Narconon is a secular program, that it is independent of Scientology,[8] and that it provides legitimate drug education and rehabilitation,[9][10] Narconon has been described by many government reports and former patients as a Church of Scientology front group.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

The program has garnered considerable controversy as a result of its origins in Scientology[11][22][23] and its methods. Its drug rehabilitation treatment has been described as "medically unsafe",[24] "quackery"[12][13][25] and "medical fraud",[26] while academic and medical experts have dismissed its educational program as containing "factual errors in basic concepts such as physical and mental effects, addiction and even spelling".[27]

In turn, Narconon has claimed that mainstream medicine is "biased" against it, and that "people who endorse so-called controlled drug use cannot be trusted to review a program advocating totally drug-free living."[28] Narconon has said that criticism of its programs is "bigoted",[29] and that its critics are "in favor of drug abuse ... they are either using drugs or selling drugs."[30]

Hubbard's writings, which und


I have to agree with Jerry Donald, the Trout Run location does not pass the test to be counted as historical.

jill king

Nice solar panels. That's surely not historic.


Given that addiction is a mental health issue and they specifically dismiss psychiatric and psychological medicine, I don't understand why they are able to be licensed to run a treatment center in any location at all.


And what they will be preaching is religion.


I'm also trying to figure why the historic designation is needed before the site can be turned into a drug rehab center. That is the underlying point of the whole story and it wasn't explained.

A little more explanation into why the church of scientology is in the business of drug rehab centers, in Frederick County no less, would have been interesting too. Is this going to be a for profit facility? Is it for church members only? Will it be a licensed facility? Ultimately what I'd like to know is will this facility follow established approaches to dig rehabilitation and will it be staffed with trained personnel, or will it just be a scientology indoctrination center that preys on particularly vulnerable people? How about some investigative reporting FNP?


Very good questions, recordhigh. I would love to see the answers to them. I think their goal in getting Trout Run listed as historical, is to be able to get tax benefits. But that is just my speculation. I too feel it will be more preying on susceptible individuals than rehabilitation. Let me see what I can find on the web.

The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program offers a 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation of income-producing historic structures. Since 1976, the National Park Service has administered the program in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service and State Historic Preservation Officers. Tax incentives are one of the nation's most successful and cost-effective community revitalization programs having leveraged more than $30 billion in private investment to rehabilitate historic buildings into rental housing, offices, and retail stores.

In 2005, the 1,101 historic building rehabilitation projects approved by the National Park Service for Federal Tax Incentives created 52,464 jobs, leveraged more than $3.1 billion in private investment, and resulted in 14,354 housing units, or which 4,863 were for low or and moderate income families.


Mr. Hagen is right: Even if this site were historic (by some stretchy application of the three "rules") how would its projected use fit with that history? Better the opposite--moon-shining. [wink]


I'm tying to figure out what being a historical property has to do with it being turned into a rehab center? Why does it have to be historic?


Also not in the documentary: Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige. She escaped from the cult, and has been a vocal critic.There’s also the story of Shelly Miscavige, David’s wife, “missing” for years from being seen in public. Last year, under pressure, the cult produced her briefly to say she was ok and not being held hostage. No one believed it.

There are other family members of ex-leaders of the cult who’ve left and turned critical including L. Ron Hubbard’s family, and Karen de la Carriere, the ex-wife of another Scientology leader Hebert Jentzsch. Her adult son died mysteriously, and she says the cult has never given her an explanation. She wasn’t allowed to see him when he was ill, or after he died.

There’s also no mention of Scientology’s 1991 lawsuits against Time Magazine and Reader’s Digest over Richard Behar’s now famous take down piece called “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.” It took a decade for the magazines to fully shut down Scientology’s ceaseless attempts to prove libel. The case went to the Supreme Court, which wisely decided not hear the case to reinstate the lawsuits after they’d been dismissed by lower courts.

And there’s not much mention of the many lawsuits Scientology had to settle out of court. The most infamous one was over the death of Lisa McPherson, who died under their care in 1995 from a pulmonary embolism. The death was ruled negligent homicide. The cult was indicted on two felony charges, but then the state medical examiner changed his mind and said the cause of death was “accidental.” McPherson’s family settled a civil suit with Scientology in 2004.

There’s tons more. But by the time you’ve watched “Going Clear” and read just a few adjunct articles, you’ll be so depressed and angry that you won’t want to hear anymore.

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