Maryland offers two opportunities to visit the home of author, editor and scientist Rachel Carson (1907-1964) and both places are in Montgomery County: one is her actual home and the other is a park named after her as a tribute. The two locations are approximately 13 miles apart.
Rachel Carson House
The Rachel Carson House at 11701 Berwick Road is in Silver Spring. It is where she wrote her most popular and longstanding book, Silent Spring, which speaks to her belief in the importance of clean, natural water by ridding it of pesticides and pollution. A film trailer based on the book can be found here: A Sense of Wonder. The book is also distinctly featured in Carl Hiaasen’s young adult novel entitled Skink No Surrender, which is recommended for middle school students to adult readers. Read more about Rachel Carson at rachelcarson.org.
“Silent Spring caused an immediate reaction. The chemical industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to discredit Carson. President Kennedy created the Presidential Science Advisory Committee to investigate Carson’s thesis. The committee verified her arguments and acknowledged her work in bringing pesticide abuse to light. Silent Spring sold over 600,000 copies in 1962. Many credit Carson’s work as the catalyst for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.” according to https://www.nps.gov.
The house is occasionally open to the public for tours. More information can be found at http://rachelcarsonlandmarkalliance.org/about-the-landmark. (When you visit the Alliance’s website, please note that it requires viewers to get written permission to copy and use its images or quotes from Rachel Carson.)
Rachel Carson Conservation Park
The second opportunity to connect with the memory of Rachel Carson is to visit Rachel Carson Conservation Park (https://www.montgomeryparks.org), a 650-mile park offering trails to help visitors discover the natural world she worked all of her adult life to protect. The address is 22201 Zion Road in Olney.
Rachel Carson was ahead of her time, writing about marine science and environmental causes in the 1940s and 1950s, decades before the subject of protecting the environment was popular, especially for a woman scientist and writer. If you enjoy reading about her, you might also like to read about author and environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who founded the Friends of the Everglades to preserve the 7,800-square-mile Everglades in South Florida.
Also see Rachel Carson’s page to discover more about her and her childhood home in our Pennsylvania section.
Rachel Carson Conservation Park is the fourth and last stop on our Maryland Trail!