David Fogle was born in Lexington Kentucky, right in the heart of Bluegrass Country, a region known for its thoroughbred horses in a state that now uses “Unbridled Spirit” as its slogan. Fogle loves horse racing and wouldn’t miss a Kentucky Derby or the mint julep that goes with it; he even grows his own Kentuckian mint because, as he says, it’s different. But it is the lifetime of unbridled spirit that best defines this Annapolitan Adventurer who became a leading voice for preservation both in America and around the world.
Like the thoroughbred horse of the Bluegrass, unbridled spirit exemplifies a championship mentality, where spirits are free to soar and big dreams can be fulfilled. In his 92-year lifetime, Fogle has championed architecture, planning and preservation, starting educational programs in these fields and contributing significantly to the preservation of historical properties, including estates in Maryland and in Britain that had belonged to the Calverts, the family that founded Maryland.
According to family history, Fogle’s family came to America from Bavaria, which is now a state in Germany, arriving in Maryland near Frederick. Sometime around 1750 they continued westward, settling in Kentucky territory with an unconfirmed report of bringing whiskeymaking with them, though David says his grandparents were prohibitionist in a state famous for its bourbon.
His father was a language professor at Georgetown College, the private Baptist liberal arts school in Kentucky and the first Baptist college west of the Appalachians. The school has produced Rhodes and Fulbright scholars, as well as Kenny Davis, captain of the 1972 US Olympic basketball team, that “won” — and in a three-second fiasco, unwon — the gold medal game against the Soviet Union. Davis led the team in its refusal to accept silver medals, another example of a championship mentality from the Bluegrass, refusing to give up.
In elementary school, David played the violin and the trombone that continued through junior high at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Princeton University, where he was on the rowing team.
Surrounded by historic buildings in his early years in Georgetown, such as Ward Hall, a Greek revival antebellum plantation, and Giddings Hall, with its ionic pillars, Fogle chose architecture as his major. After a tour in the Navy, The University of California at Berkeley was next. But for Fogle, something was missing. Wandering into a coffee house, he met a group of urban planning students. Harking back to his childhood dreams to save the world, the group’s enthusiasm for preservation energized Fogle. “Saving communities, that was what I wanted to do,” he said. He changed his focus on architecture to a new focus on regional planning and the start of a new career in preservation, restoration and education. His career took him to Chile where he designed buildings that 40 years later in 2010 withstood a ground-shaking 8.8 magnitude earthquake.
At the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation in Nevada, the tribe experienced economic fallout as fishermen came for Lahontan cutthroat trout in the lake. Fogle designed a lodge and an economic plan that included fishing licenses that would put them on firmer economic footing. Next, he was off to 3 years in Brazil as chief of the urban planning division of the U.S. Agency for International Development there.
By 1970 he was teaching at the University of Maryland School of Architecture. Here, his skills would take him and his students to places like Russia, Egypt, Mexico and Spain to explore “saving the communities.” He founded and directed a student summer program in historic preservation. Believing that students learned best in field work, he negotiated with private owners for student support in restoring old buildings. One of his first projects was in one of America’s oldest seaside resorts, Cape May, New Jersey, where the oldest hotel, the Chalfonte Hotel built in 1876, needed help. Students worked on its restoration for several years, saving it from a disastrous ending.
Riversdale, the museum in Prince George’s county that had been the home of Charles Benedict Calvert, a descendent of Maryland’s founders, and founder of the school now known as University of Maryland, also benefited from the students’ preservation efforts.
Maryland’s founding family are also acknowledged by the University of Maryland, thanks to Fogle’s outside of the box thinking. Kiplin Hall, in Yorkshire, England was built in the 1620s by George Calvert, first Baron Baltimore, founder of Maryland. The mansion had suffered during World War II, when it was occupied by troops and airmen, and was slated for destruction like so many others. Owner Bridget Talbot, a family descendent, refused to let it go.
She contacted Leonard Crewe, president of the Maryland Historical Society, in an effort to save the estate. Crewe reciprocated with funding for a new roof. Aware of the University’s award-winning preservation program, he contacted Fogle, then an associate dean at the school, who went off to England to view the estate. For Fogle, Kiplin Hall represented the perfect place for student study in restoration. In 1987, the first students arrived to begin saving the very neglected estate. Founded by Fogle, the Maryland Study Center at Kiplin Hall was born. Dormitories for students and staff were restored in a remodeled old farm house and stable on site. Forty years later, Kiplin shines and the study center thrives.
The study center is now endowed and has a partnership with Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Students from Annapolis High School bunked at the study center on a venture to the historic theatre in Richmond.
The David P. Fogle Travel Scholarship endowment was established to provide awards to students participating in the University’s historic preservation program. In 1998, Fogle began a scholarship program for historic preservation graduate students in honor of St. Clair Wright, the founder of Historic Annapolis. In 2020, Fogle contributed another sizable endowment managed by the University to ensure The Maryland Study Center at Kiplin continues to thrive.
Convinced that identity is linked with a place, and that preservation helps us all know more about who and where we are, David Fogle breathed life into preservation programs around the world. In following his youthful path of big dreams to save the world, his unbridled spirit has touched and enhanced our lives in ways that could inspire and energize us all.
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