Bethesda Historical Society

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

the historical society of Bethesda, Maryland



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Category: Heritage Trail

Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market

Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market Credit: Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market Facebook page Founded in 1932, the Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market is the oldest continuously operated farm market in Montgomery County, and a pioneering example of women’s entrepreneurship. Tucked amid modern office buildings on busy Wisconsin Avenue stands a white, one story building that […]

Bank of Bethesda

Bank of Bethesda at Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue The exterior front face of the Bank of Bethesda after its 1926 relocation to its present site The Bank of Bethesda was established in 1919 by community leader Walter Tuckerman. The Bank, located since 1926 in a distinctive building at the intersection of Old Georgetown […]

Miller’s Flats

Miller’s Flats Miller’s Flats, now Bethesda Row today One of the early housing developments in Bethesda was Miller’s Flats, a Black community in what is now the upscale Bethesda Row shopping district west of Wisconsin Avenue. Black residents worked labor-intensive jobs along the industrial sites of the railroad that is now the Capital Crescent Trail. […]

Riley-Bolton House

Riley-Bolton House Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons The Riley-Bolton House at 11420 Old Georgetown Road and 3.34 acres for the Josiah Henson Park in North Bethesda are the last remnants of the 520 acres of the Riley family plantation formerly known as Willow Grove. The historical significance of the site is due to the log house […]

Bethesda Naval Hospital

Bethesda Naval Hospital: ‘The President’s Hospital’ Photo credit: Naval Photographic Center, PH1 Claude Sneed, 06/1975 Built from a sketch by President Franklin Roosevelt, the Bethesda Naval Hospital – now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center — is the largest military medical complex in the world.  Its iconic tower, opened in 1942, is listed on […]

Hiser Theater

Hiser Theater at 7414 Wisconsin Avenue Photo credit: Randy Routt from the DC Public Library Washington Star Collection The first motion picture theater in downtown Bethesda, the Hiser also housed a bowling alley.  It is remembered as the site of a 1960 demonstration demanding that it be desegregated. The Hiser Theater, originally unnamed, opened in […]

Darcy’s Store

Darcy’s Store on the 7200 Block of Wisconsin Avenue The area now known as the Bethesda Central Business District grew up along the route of an ancient Native American trail (Wisconsin Avenue). Developed as the Washington and Rockville Turnpike between 1805 and 1820, it became an important route for the transport of tobacco and other […]

St. John’s Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church at 6701 Wisconsin Avenue Original 1874 building with 1902 addition on left. Credit: St. John’s Episcopal Church The first church in downtown Bethesda, St. John’s Episcopal dates to 1873; the current building dates to 1914, after the original wood frame structure was destroyed by fire. Before 1873 the Dodges, Offutts, Drums, […]

Bethesda Presbyterian Church

Bethesda Presbyterian Church at 7611 Clarendon Road Bethesda Presbyterian Church is “the church that named Bethesda.” The current structure has been the church’s home for almost 100 years, but the congregation served southern Montgomery County at two other locations beginning in the 1720’s. Although there is little written documentation, church tradition dates the founding of […]