Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Silver Spring's Lost Bungalows

One hundred years ago a real estate advertisement for a nine room Silver Spring bungalow appeared in the June 18, 1911 Washington Evening Star newspaper. Owned by James H. Cissel, president of the Silver Spring National Bank (est. 1910), this new slate-roofed home featured a full basement, front porch, furnace heat, hot and cold running water, electric lights, and a fireplace.

Situated on a 50 ft. by 220 ft lot all of this was yours for $5,500. If not ready for home ownership, the bungalow could be rented for $40 per month. Adjusted for inflation, these costs would be about $127,000 and $925 respectively. Still a bargain!

Courtesy Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library

Unfortunately this house is no longer extant. It was originally located at 913 Sligo Avenue and was typical of the residences constructed in the Silver Spring Park subdivision, located on the east side of the Washington & Brookeville Turnpike (today's Georgia Avenue).

Beginning in the mid 20th century, this home and dozens of others located on Sligo, Silver Spring, Thayer, and Bonifant streets between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street were converted to commercial use or simply razed to make way for larger structures. A few of the homes escaped destruction and can be seen in the area known today as Fenton Village.  Today, a portion of the bungalow's footprint is occupied by The Nora School, 955 Sligo Avenue.

Another view of 913 Sligo Avenue (right) taken on June 21, 1917 by
Washington, DC postcard photographer Willard R. Ross.

Five homes were located on the north side of the 900 block of Sligo Avenue
between today's Mayor Lane (above the "G" in "SLIGO") and Fenton Street on
the right.  From 1931 Atlas of Montgomery County, Vol. One.  Collection of
the Silver Spring Historical Society.

1 comment:

Marguerite said...

It's too bad no one has ever documented the 700 block of Sligo Ave! There are a few houses on the north side of the block that date from the 1910's (one of them being my house) that are very nice examples of four-square architecture.

I have been trying to learn more about the area and the history of my house...only found out from a woman who lived here in the 1950's that her family rented rooms out to people.
However, I have found some fascinating items in the house, including an ancient bottle called "Solvol" that was left in the walls of our bathroom; it apparently cost 25 cents and it still had the liquid in it! We also have a very badly preserved Washington Post newspaper dated December 24th, 1917 bundled up over our window in the basement. I retrieved some pieces of it but not much.

I have always been a history buff, I'm only 22 but I love Silver Spring and it's history! I too document the area with photos and I am happy to have both of the Silver Spring history books! I document buildings that I know are in danger of being demolished (which seems to be an unfortunate trend these days) and I am a strong advocate of preserving and rehabilitating our precious historical buildings.

Thank you for making this site, it is very interesting!