Friday, July 30, 2010

Greetings from Silver Spring, Maryland

During the brief, violent storm that blew through Montgomery County last Sunday, I was standing in front of my house under the porch and watched in amazement as a torrent of water flowed south down the full width of Grove Street.  Suddenly, the transformer at the top of the telephone pole on the corner of my lot exploded...a deafening, chest-thumping sound that I am all too familiar with.  I immediately thought to myself, "Well, how many days will we go without power this time?"

After three days of living and trying to sleep in a dark house where the post-storm temperature quickly climbed into the nineties, my wife and I bailed and checked into the Courtyard Marriott.  Located on Fenton Street a short three blocks from our house, I couldn't believe that we were paying $199 a night.  This was more than we paid last year at this time when we stayed at the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel off of Union Square in San Francisco!  But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I quickly decided to experience our visit as if we were first-time visitors to Silver Spring and to see how well this corporate chain hotel acknowledged the community beyond its Dryvit-covered walls.  Walking into the hotel's Fenton Street lobby across from Whole Foods we were greeted with three large framed vintage photographs of Silver Spring.  "Nice," I thought.

I should know, as the Silver Spring Historical Society provided them to the hotel when it opened in 2005.  Three more framed photographs are located up on the third floor, two behind the registration desk and one next to the fake fireplace in the lounge area.  All have descriptive labels indicating what the images show.

Other than these photos, that was it for informing a visitor unfamiliar with Silver Spring what local "attractions" were available.  The complimentary USA Today and Wall Street Journal newspapers were on the counter.  I guess having copies of the Gazette or the Silver Spring Voice would have taken up too much space.  I couldn't even find the traditional hotel rack of brochures publicizing local businesses...a perfect venue for copies of the Buy Local Silver Spring Guide.

I didn't even bother to check the postcard rack in the hotel's small gift shop for a "Greetings from Silver Spring, MD" postcard to send the folks back home.  Has it really been 70 years since the last one was published? 

Tichnor Brothers, Inc. of Boston published this 1940s Tichnor Quality View postcard.  A generic design, the postcard featured a blank pennant upon which a community's name could be overprinted.  From the collection of the Silver Spring Historical Society.

I decided to make my own postcard and hereby share it with all.

The photo was taken out of the window of Room 525 at 6:23 am on the morning of July 29, 2010. The steeple belongs to St. Michael's Church.  I was really impressed by the tree canopy of our East Silver Spring neighborhood (PEPCO blames the area's prolific trees for all of the power outages in the area that it serves...the third-densest "tree population canopy" in the US behind Atlanta and Portland, OR ).

Why, Silver Spring almost looks like a New England village!  Wish you were here.


StreetsofDC said...

Nice post, Jerry, and two very charming postcards. Yours happens to be the more professional-looking!

WashingtonGardener said...

PEPCO blaming the tree canopy really gets my hackle up - I blame PEPCO for not burying the lines once and for all!

Helene said...

Your shot also reminds me of Frederick, MD (with its "clustered spires"). Very nice!
And what a great idea - a competition to create "Greetings from Silver Spring" postcards! The sponsor could select half a dozen to be sold around town or placed in local hotels.