This is the site of Ammendale Normal Institute, built to house the novitiate and school of the Christian Brothers, a teaching order of the Roman Catholic Church. It is located in an area known as Ammendale, after Admiral Daniel Ammen, inventor, author and Naval Officer. In 1880, the Christian Brothers purchased this 20-acre property from Admiral Ammen, who earlier that year had donated St. Joseph's Chapel and adjoining land.
The novitiate opened in 1880, and the Ammendale stop on the nearby Baltimore and Ohio Railroad provided easy access to and from both Washington and Baltimore. In the summer of 1883, construction began on the principal Institute building, designed by Baltimore architect Thomas C. Kennedy. One hundred feet in length, this building was completed in December 1884. Construction of the flanking wings, which eventually doubled the length of the building, was begun in the fall of 1886. The completed building, with its mansard roofs, central bell tower and outstanding Queen Anne style decorative detail, was blessed by James Cardinal Gibbons in May, 1888.
The Christian Brothers gradually increased their acreage to 400 acres and, until the 1940's, operated a farm that supplied and supported the school. In 1969, after years of decreasing enrollment, the Institute closed, but the property remained the home of the retired Brothers. On April 26, 1998, a fire severely damaged the vacant Institute building.