Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Time Had By All at B&O RR Station

With temperatures hovering in the high 90s, better attendance than expected greeted the 13th Annual Montgomery Heritage Weekend at Silver Spring's historic 1945 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, June 26-27, 2010.

Returning again this year was the Northern Virginia N-Trak Model Railroad Club with their impressive scale model train layout.

This year they added a dramatic trackside building in flames that all too much reminded me of my place of employment, the Georgetown Branch Library, when it went up in flames in 2007!

Musician Rick Franklin performed and sang wonderful acoustic Blues music on his impressive 1929 guitar and old timers (L-R) Rick Nelson and Robert Davis discussed trains.

The highlight of Saturday was the opening of the Moose Lodge "time capsule."  Stay tuned for the results!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time Capsule Reveals Further Silver Spring "History Mystery"

Today's time capsule opening was reported by the Associated Press.  If you didn't attend, you'll just have to wait until the video is posted here (and on YouTube) to see what was inside!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Love a Local Business (Kefa Cafe)

Intuit Small Business is sponsoring Love a Local Business, "Where praise pays your favorite local business."  Please vote for Kefa Cafe on Bonifant Street!

•Voting is easy.  Just share a few brief sentences about why you love the business.

•Your vote is like a raffle ticket. The more voes a business gets, the more chances they have to win one of three grants awarded each month that are worth $5,000.

•Your words matter! Our judges will review the 9 businesses who win between April and June to select one who will win the Grand Prize, small business grants worth $30,000.
Since 1996 Kefa Cafe has occupied a wonderful 1928 structure located at 963 Bonifant Street.  This organic coffee/tea and sandwich business has become a beloved neighborhood institution, offering not only drink and food but art displayed in the connected “Space 7:10” gallery, named for the clock on the wall perpetually stopped at 7:10.  Owned and operated by (L-R) sisters Lene and Abeba Tsegaye, the below photograph of them will appear in my new book, Downtown Silver Spring.
Please vote for them!
                                                      Photo Jerry A. McCoy, copyright 2010.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Elysian Fields

Sometime over the past week four whimsical foam core and cardboard figures were placed in the empty lot on the south side of the 900 block of Thayer Avenue. Considering that there is a chain link fence around most of the property, someone scaled the 6 ft. cinderblock wall at the rear of the lot (as I did to take these photos) to install figures of three Dick and Jane era figures as well as one Man in the Gray Flannel Suit businessman.

What does this art installation mean?  Perhaps pending loss of green space represented by the children running through grass (well, actually weeds) while being observed by the businessman in the distance who personifies continued redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring.

A year ago this same field really represented its natural potential.  Two Mallards appeared to have set up home in a pond that formed in a depression in the lot after heavy rains.  The "pond" was where two wonderfully maintained early 1920s bungalows (razed in 2007) used to be located.  This free duck lodging was short lived when debris from brick and cinderblock garages, that were located around the corner on Mayor Lane, was used to fill in the low spots.

The rest of this lot was occupied by an important piece of Silver Spring's history.  Located  at 958 Thayer Avenue was a rare example of an intact 1946 pre-fabricated facade designed by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.  The Silver Spring Historical endeavored to have the facade preserved and installed, complete with Roadhouse Oldies sign and 45 rpm records displayed in the windows, in the new Silver Spring Library.  This effort was greeted with disinterest by library officials.  SSHS disassembled all of the aluminum trim and still has it in storage for recreation of the facade elsewhere.

I'd  like the thank the artist who brought a smile to my face with their figures and for a moment made me forget about all of the lost Silver Spring history that this empty lot represents.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rolling Down the River...

Today I did something I never did before in the 32 years I've lived here...kayaking on the Potomac River.  My friend Patty and I  launched from the delightful Jack's Boathouse in Georgetown.

 I knew immediately where I wanted to head, Analostin Island/Mason's Island, known today as Theodore Roosevelt Island.  What I particularly wanted to see up close are large outcroppings of rocks on the north side of the island (facing Georgetown).  This was the location of a well-known Civil War photograph taken by George N. Barnard that shows Union soldiers sitting and standing on the rocks as well as riding on the Georgetown ferry-boat. 

The ferry-boat is leaving the the island and transporting a couple of wagons.  The docking site was at the foot of High Street, today's Wisconsin Avenue.  In the far background is the Aqueduct Bridge, an amazing feat of structural engineering (1833-43) that transported canal boats across and above the river from the District of Columbia side to Virginia.

What is even more amazing is what the wagon on the left is transporting.  Not military armaments or supplies, as one might think, but snacks!  Stenciled on the side canvas flap of the wagon is:


There is an address underneath that appears to be somewhere in Washington, DC but is not legible.  Perhaps some later research will reveal the location of this important war-time purveyor of victuals.

Not all of the rocks appear to have survived 150 years, but most of them are still there.  The Aqueduct Bridge survived until 1933 when it was removed.  One of its rusticated piers remains near the Virginia side and on the DC side the bridge's abutment that includes two of its arches is intact (left of the green Potomac Boat Club).

Patty and I heading ashore after our two hour tour.