Bethesda Historical Society

We're celebrating the 150th birthday of Bethesda in 2021!

Thank you Bethesda's 150th Birthday Boosters!

Bruce Adams
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Ada’s Grandparents
Al Marah Riverway Association
Dan and Nancy Balz
Fred Berner
Bethesda Chocolates
Bethesda Community Garden Club
Bethesda Crab House
Bethesda Metro Area Village
Bethesda Presbyterian Church
Bethesda Urban Partnership
Jane Boynton
Brookdale Citizens Association
Ralph Buglass
Campaign for Bethesda’s Madonna of the Trail
Carriage Hill Bethesda
Jan Cary
Central Farm Markets
Christ Lutheran Church
Carol Clausen
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County
Alice Daniel
David Munson State Farm Agency
Reid Detchon
Dan Dwyer
John Ewers
Gail Humphries Ewing
Jodie Fine
Arlene Krimgold Fleming
Griffin Cycle
Ronald Grim
Brenda & Dwayne Holt
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Ozgur Karaosmanoglu
Steven J. Karr, AIA Inc.
Wendy & Steven Kaufman
Henry B. & Jessie W. Keiser Foundation

Kiwanis Club of Bethesda
Delegate Marc Korman (MD-16)
Senator Susan C. Lee (MD-16)
Bob & Jane Levey
Matthew Logan
Maria Longo-Swiek
Susan Riggle LoPresti
Jack Marshall
Matthew Marshall
ZKL Martin Family
Eileen McGuckian & Phil Cantelon
Metro Bethesda Rotary Club
Greg & Karyn Miele
Minuteman Press Bethesda
Kevie Niland
O’Donnell’s Market
Fred & Barbara Ordway
Ourisman Jeep Bethesda
Piccoli Piatti Pizzeria
Porsche Bethesda
Quattro Auto Body Inc.
Gordon Riggle
St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church & School
Aletta Schaap
Strosniders Hardware
Suburban Florist
Sullivan & Company, CPAs
Ann Suydam
The Barking Dog Bar & Restaurant
The Bethesda Montessori School
The Blue House
The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
The Jane Fairweather Team
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
The Nighthawks
The Woman’s Club of Bethesda, Inc.
Edwin Weiner
Howard Weiss
RoseMarie & Ronald Winiewicz

The History of Bethesda

by Mark Walston

The Society loves to receive historical memorabilia of Bethesda.

Here are some more of our recent acquisitions.

Advances in transportation over the course of two centuries transformed Bethesda from a rural wayside stop into a bustling metropolis. But for much of its early existence, Bethesda was little more than “a wide spot in the road,” as one early resident put it.

That road (today’s Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road) began in the far past as a ridgeline trail through ancient woods, carrying the first settlers, the Native Americans, as they hunted game in the land among the Potomac, Patuxent, and Monocacy Rivers. 

At the end of the 17th century it brought Dutch fur traders, who built a one-story granite trading post dominated by a great stone chimney rising up through the middle of the roof (part of which still stands) near the intersection of present-day River Road and Little Falls Parkway. 

Continue reading

Lightly edited to reflect changes in Bethesda in the decade since it originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine on September 27, 2010.  The Bethesda Historical Society is grateful for Mark’s permission to reprint it here.

Do you have historical photos of Bethesda? Let us scan them and post them on this website for everyone to enjoy!

Do you like to plan events, collect memorabilia, research, or fundraise? We are looking for fellow volunteers to help us preserve Bethesda memories while having fun at the same time! 


Two New Videos!

Play Video

Bill Offutt, local historian and author of “Bethesda: A Social History” remembers Bethesda from the 1940s to the present day. A 19-minute video from Montgomery Municipal Cable.

The story of the Bethesda Historical Society with Society President Wendy Kaufman. A 6-minute video from Montgomery Municipal Cable.

Upcoming Events 

Monday May 3
7:30 pm

Bethesda Historical Society Meeting by Zoom
Contact us for more information

May 2021 

Bethesda history now on display
Saturdays 11-3 during May!

Be sure to view the Bethesda Historical Society’s first public Bethesda history exhibit in the windows of Triangle Art Studios, 7711 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda.  This is located a block from Old Georgetown Grill and the Diamond Exchange on the same side of the street.
Thank you Bethesda Urban Partnership for loaning us this special downtown Bethesda space!

Our Mission

The Bethesda Historical Society, established in 2019, is an organization of volunteers dedicated to sharing and reflecting on the history of the Bethesda, Maryland area and its diverse residents. 

The Society plans to develop events and educational programs focusing on significant locations and important moments in our history. 

We are now a 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are tax-deductible!

Become a Society member here

The Society loves to receive historical memorabilia of Bethesda.

Here are some more of our recent acquisitions.