Community Approves CJ Sign Design

The community gave a literal thumbs up to the Cabin John sign design unveiled at the May 25 CJCA meeting—with the meeting held on Zoom, the 25 or so participants were asked to vote with their thumbs on screen. The design, created by CJ resident Jack Mandel of Carver Rd., was unanimously approved. Jack is a stone mason with a stonework design/build business. 

As Jack explained to meeting participants, the sign design incorporates the iconic Cabin John Bridge in two ways. One is the shape of the base, which has an arched opening similar in shape to the bridge. The other bridge element is that he has acquired a piece of the Seneca red sandstone that was left over from the bridge repairs done some 20 years ago. Additional sandstone that is the same color as the bridge will also be used. The rest of the base is likely to be made of local Carderock stone. 

To reflect the community’s love of nature, a planter will be built into the base under the archway. Meeting participants suggested that native species be planted there. After consultation with CJ’s historian Judy Welles, it was determined that the established date for Cabin John should be 1878, which is the year the first Cabin John postmaster was appointed. The CJCA acquired the original appointment certificate, dated March 18, 1878, last year. 

CJCA Vice President Greg Pawlson, chair of the sign committee, detailed next steps, including approval from the shopping center, county permitting, and a more detailed cost estimate. He also noted the goal of refurbishing and lighting the existing CJ sign at the community center and of posting simple metal Welcome to Historic Cabin John signs at the various entrances to the community. 

It could cost close to $20,000 for all of these sign efforts to come to fruition and that is with Jack donating his design services. CJCA President Susan Shipp explained the 100th anniversary fundraising efforts netted some $5,000 toward the sign project. She also believes the CJCA has the reserves to provide an additional $3,000. That means additional fundraising will be needed. 

If you would like to help with the fundraising, please contact Darla Cable at or Susan Shipp at

By Susan Shipp 

CJCA President 

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