During the time of development of the planned community of Columbia, Maryland, there was always a community organization envisioned; it was originally named the Columbia Park and Recreation Association, and now, the Columbia Association. The Association has done the important work of managing the community amenities and services, and has a major component, recording and celebrating it’s history.

One of the many facilities included in these services is the Columbia Archives, the primary organization responsible for the preservation of materials relating to the history of Columbia and its founder James Rouse. The archives grew out of a community effort to collect ephemera and documentation related to the town’s history in the early 1980’s; subsequently, the archives has expanded their holdings and mission to not only serve as a repository for that history, but to also make significant materials available for researchers.

In addition to providing amenities and important resources for its residents, the Columbia Association also works with the ten Columbia Village Associations, one for each village and the Town Center, to fund programs and maintain the covenants of each neighborhood.


The Columbia Archives, led by Director Barbara Kellner, were tremendous partners in offering a special bus tour of the community on June 4, 2016. Some of the stops included: Slayton House, the Village Center, Faulkner Ridge, Bryant Woods, The Birches, Spring Pool, Interfaith Center, the original Rouse Company headquarters, Lake Kittamaqundi, and the Merriweather Post Pavilion. As Columbia turns 50 year old next year, an important milestone in historic preservation and evaluation of the significance of architecture and planning, we invite you to get to know the Columbia Association and the Archives, each hold events throughout the year and will have a major celebration in 2017: Columbia50.

Please see our previous posts about the importance and history of Columbia:



Special thanks to Ellen Bushong, research intern, for her research and writing in preparation for our tour. Ellen grew up in Columbia and believes that her upbringing in the historically diverse Columbia has shaped her passion for social justice work within the field of public history and she hopes to channel that passion into her future work as a public historian. Ellen is currently an MA candidate at Loyola University Chicago studying Public History. Learn more about our intern program here: presmd.org/waxter.