What could a Japanese pagoda, a Swiss chalet, a Dutch windmill and an Italian villa possibly have in common? They, along with eight other architecturally distinct homes share a 32-acre campus with 116 multifamily residences in Forest Glen, Md.

Inspired by the international theme of the 1893 Columbian exposition in Chicago, John and Vesta Cassedy opened National Park Seminary, a private girls’ finishing school in 1894. The Cassedys constructed a variety of sorority houses in numerous styles, which today The Alexander Company is converting into single-family homes within its historic community.

The Madison, Wis-based development firm has fashioned a plan to create a residential community with options for various income levels. The first stage of development will feature 219 homes, including 66 historic apartments – 100 percent of which have been leased – 50 historic condominiums, 13 single-family homes – 12 of which are historic – and 90 new-construction town homes.

The historic site encompasses 27 buildings, 23 of which date from between 1887 and 1927, that overlook a 300-ft.-wide wooded ravine. So how did such a unique architectural creation come into being?