Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Silver Spring Heritage Trail Map

The Silver Spring Heritage Trail was dedicated on April 17, 2010 and is Montgomery County's first trail dedicated to the exploration of a community's local history.  The first six of twenty planned signs are located on a four block stretch of historic "Main Street" Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring.  Each sign relates unique stories of the men, women, and places that contributed to making Georgia Avenue a rare surviving example of an early to mid 20th century commercial street scape.
Click on the map to make larger.

"Early Family Businesses" heritage trail marker located in front of
8223 Georgia Avenue.  Photo by Jerry A. McCoy

Dedication day crowd gathers around the "Lumber, Lunch & Lyrics" heritage trail
marker at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Ripley Street.  Photo by George French.

(Left to right) Charlotte Coffield, Jerry A. McCoy, and Patricia Tyson pose next to the
 Maryland News/Gifford's heritage trail marker at the corner of Georgia Avenue and
Sligo Avenue.  Photo by George French.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Loyal Order of the Moose "Time Capsule" Uncovered!

You have probably walked or driven past 926 Wayne Avenue lots of times and never realized that the former 1938 house was the longtime headquarters of the Loyal Order of the Moose Silver Spring Lodge 658.  The house and several other structures was recently demolished to make way for construction of the new Silver Spring Library.
I was inside the lodge only once to hear live music being performed.  While I enjoyed the "down home" atmosphere and camaraderie, I didn't enjoy the smoking and never returned.  A few weeks before the headquarters was demolished a couple of Silver Spring Historical Society colleagues and I toured the inside to take photos and to search for any Moose artifacts for the society's archives (with permission of the Montgomery County government, owner of the building).
The bar was covered with signatures left by, I presume, lodge members who had raised a toast at truly the last last call.  The pool tables had been left in place, water pouring through the holes in the ceiling (it was raining the day of our visit) that had been made by the Silver Spring Fire Department as part of their training exercises.

One item that I really would have like to have acquired for SSHS was the large Loyal Order of the Moose logo that had been painted onto a sheet a opaque Plexiglas.  It would have been extremely difficult to remove from the wall and besides, with no place to store it, was left to the wrecker's ball.
SSHS was fortunate to be able to retrieve the 1969 cornerstone that had been set into the rear addition added onto the original house.  This was where the bar, pool hall and dance floor was located.  I suspected that there might have been a "time capsule" placed behind the corner stone and, sure enough, workmen found a small metal band-aid box wrapped with black electrical tape (shown sitting on top of the cornerstone).  Something is inside
As part of the 13th annual Montgomery County 2010 Heritage Days weekend, join the Spring Historical Society for our community's first time capsule opening in the 21st century!  The time capsule's big reveal will take place on Saturday, June 26th, 3:00 pm, at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, 8100 Georgia Avenue.  Come and see what has been hidden for 41 years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Historic Silver Spring Building Feaured on New Web Site

The 1958 Perpetual Building Association building (aka SunTrust Bank) at 8700 Georgia Avenue is featured on the new web site, Defining Downtown at Mid-Century: The Architecture of the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America.  Perpetual appears under the Architecture tab in "Featured Buildings."

Co-designed by BB&ECA architect W.G. Knoeble and Washington, DC architect Robert O. Scholz, this structure is the finest example of postwar International Style architecture in Silver Spring.  The building is currently threatened with demolition as the owner has submitted a project plan to construct a 14-story apartment building on the site.  To learn more about this important structure, click HERE.

This Walter Oates photograph appeared in the March 4, 1961 Evening Star. Photo courtesy Star Collection, DC Public Library, © The Washington Post.

Monday, May 17, 2010

R.I.P. Winsor the Plaza Art Cat (1992-2010)

I was saddened to see the pictured flier hanging in the front door of Plaza Artist Materials (8209 Georgia Avenue) when I walked by this morning. Even if you've never patronized this businesses (Shame!) but only walked past the store front, you have undoubtedly seen either Winsor or his sister Newton lounging in the display windows.

Named after the manufacturer of art materials founded in London in 1832, Winsor was the one who had a patch of white on his chest while Newton's coloration is all orange. Suspecting that no other Silver Spring business has a resident cat so visible to the public, I always enjoyed seeing either one lounging on the counter while a purchase was being made.

When I asked an employee if Newton, who was sleeping in the front window, was acting differently the response was that she seemed "happy!" Perhaps sibling rivalry extends to the animal kingdom as well.