Friday, August 20, 2010

"Happy" Birthday Silver Spring Armory

On this date 83 years ago, Silver Spring's Maryland National Guard Armory opened. Despite being a designated Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation structure, this community landmark was demolished in 1998 by vote of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission.

Bordered by Wayne Avenue, Fenton Street, and the no longer extant Pershing Drive*, this monumental structure was eventually replaced five years later by the Wayne Avenue parking garage.  The Armory is "commemorated" by architectural fragments scattered along the sidewalk in front of the garage.

*So much for Silver Spring's honoring of General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing.  The only segment of the drive that remains in the Central Business District is the short section that essentially serves as Whole Foods' entrance off of Cedar Street.
Regular U.S. postage stamp issued in 1961.

Summer dance program at the Silver Spring Armory. 
Photo copyright 1998 Jerry A. McCoy.
Silver Spring Armory front (west) elevation.
Photo copyright 1998 Jerry A. McCoy.

Silver Spring Armory architectural fragments placed alongside
Wayne Avenue parking garage.  Photo copyright 2005 Jerry A. McCoy.

The ultimate sacrilege committed against the Silver Spring Armory was the severing of the concrete bas-relief Maryland State flag into four quadrants. Two of the quarter sections were placed back to back, on this pylon, and erected at one of the parking garage's entrances. The other two quarter sections were similarly placed at the opposite end of the garage. This disrespect would have never been shown if this had been the United States flag. The same etiquette applies to state flags but our Montgomery County Government was/is ignorant of this fact. Photo copyright 2005 Jerry A. McCoy.


StreetsofWashington said...

Absolutely maddening that that building was destroyed. Thanks for reminding us about it Jerry--and the implicit need for constant vigilance to protect our remaining heritage.

Mike Morgan said...

How disgraceful to tear that landmark down. For shame!

Dangerfield Newby said...

In 1984 the Silver Spring Armory hosted the country’s first ever National Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show.

Rihoba said...

i moved to silver spring in 1936, i saw the first show at the silver theater "Four Daughters".i can't imagine how anyone could approve of distroying this historical land mark. it had to do with money.i would see the armory every day as i went to silver spring means nothing to me.