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.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

I'm at work today at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G Street, NW in Washington, DC.  I just went outside to mail some letters and the temperature is approaching 100* F.  Out on the library's plaza I came upon this site.

I felt so sorry for these dogs. The black puppy looked absolutely lethargic.  There was a bowl of water.

The owner was certainly inside the library.  Gotta wonder where he is peddling from and where he is going.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Acquisition - Silver Spring Society of Model Engineers B&O RR Station Arch. Drawing

The Silver Spring Historical Society recently received this reproduction of an architectural drawing of the 1945 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, located at 8100 Georgia Avenue.

Donated by Mr. Frederick Dorsey, the 17 1/2" x 23 1/4" copy was drawn by C. F. Wilding in September 1950 for the Silver Spring Society of Model Engineers.  The scale is 3.5mm = 1'0" "Full Size for HO Gauge."  The location of the original rendering is unknown.

Nothing is known about the Silver Spring Society of Model Engineers, Mr. Wilding, or for what purpose this copy was created.  It could have possibly been a souvenir of the station for the members of this society.

If anyone has additional information, please post it to the comments section.  Thank you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

See the Fake Children...

I was pleased to see this recent commentary written on the backside of a LONG FENCE metal sign that had been bent backwards. The sign is attached to the chain link fence that surrounds the empty lot in the 900 block of Thayer Avenue.

The fake children refers to an art installation that appeared in this lot last month and surprisingly is still on display.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"This Used to be a Helluva Town, Officer"

These were the last words uttered by Lloyd Nolan's character to a Los Angeles police sergeant played by George Kennedy in the 1974 camp disaster flick Earthquake.

Silver Spring may not have been destroyed, but based on all the anecdotes posted on various area listserves, the 3.6 magnitude rumble felt by many this morning at 05:04:47 AM left quite an impression.

Help add to the historical record by taking a few minutes to recount your experience at the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program.