Bethesda Historical Society

Heritage Trail in Downtown Bethesda

BHS downtown Bethesda map cropped

Bethesda Presbyterian Church at 7611 Clarendon

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.

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C&P Telephone Building at 6925 Wisconsin

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Darcy's Store on 7200 block of Wisconsin

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Dr. Perry's Office at 7349 Wisconsin

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Hiser Theater

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.

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Little Tavern at 8100 Wisconsin

The second Little Tavern restaurant in Bethesda, built in 1955, retains much of its original appearance. It was designated an historic site by Montgomery County in 1994 as a “culturally significant representation of a type of restaurant which would become symbolic of the American lifestyle in the late 20th century.”

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Madonna of the Trail Statue at 7400 Wisconsin

The Madonna of the Trail in Bethesda is one of twelve identical monuments from Maryland to California along a key route of Western migration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929, the eighteen-foot-tall granite statue of a stoic pioneer woman with her two children, holding a rifle, commemorates the strength and determination of pioneer women.

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Pumphrey Funeral Home and Old Stone Tavern at 7557 Wisconsin

Pumphrey Funeral Home, reputedly the oldest business in Montgomery County, occupies a house on which once stood the “Old Stone Tavern”, the first commercial structure in what is now Bethesda.

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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.

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Wilson Store aka Community Paint and Hardware at 7250 Wisconsin

The Community Paint and Hardware building, constructed in 1890 on the site of the original Rockville Pike Toll Booth, is probably the earliest commercial building left standing in the Bethesda Commercial District, and the only surviving structure truly reminiscent of the initial development of the area. It was moved to 4538 Middleton Lane in 2017.

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Wilson Store (new home) at 4538 Middleton Lane

The Community Paint and Hardware building, probably the earliest commercial building left standing in the Bethesda Commercial District, was moved from 7250 Wisconsin Avenue to 4538 Middleton Lane in 2017.

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