Bethesda Historical Society

January 23, 2024 - Bethesda's 153rd birthday!

Bethesda Milestones

1820 Presbyterians erect first Bethesda meeting house (second in 1850).
1829 Turnpike from Georgetown to Frederick opens – now Rockville Pike.
1862 Darcy’s Store becomes the first post office
1871 Settlement renamed Bethesda
1874 St. John’s Norwood Parish and Grange Hall across the road open.
1878 Bethesda Election District (7th District) created.
1891 Electric railway reaches Alta Vista, Bethesda Park opens
1894 First schoolhouse since Civil War built on Gingell’s Curve.
1897 USDA Experimental Farm in operation (closed 1935-37).
1910 B&O finally reaches Bethesda. W.E.Perry and H. Wilson open stores.
1913 Walter Tuckerman and family arrive, start development of Edgemoor.
1914 Start of Bradley Hills development and trolley to Great Falls.
1918 Northwest Park and Oakmont incorporated. WSSC founded.
1919 Tuckerman, Stock, Sacks, and others start Bank of Bethesda.
1920 Census finds 4,800 in Bethesda area. Edgemoor club rounded.
1922 Woodmont Club arrives. Battery Park starts construction.
1925 Bethesda school becomes K-8. Warrens open stores on Wisconsin.
1926 Bank of Bethesda building opens; fire dept. and Chamber organized.
1927/29/36 Wisconsin Avenue paved (west/east/ all after end of trolley).
1927 M-NCP&PC established. Kenwood platted.
1928 Tuckerman’s and Sack’s rows of stores and B-CC Jr-Sr. HS open.
1929 Madonna of the Trail dedicated. Montgomery Players founded.
1930 Census 12,000. Bethesda gets first traffic light.
1932 Farm Women’s Co-operative Market moves into new building.
1935 New high school opens on East West. Capital Transit closes trolley line.
1937 Shopping center at Leland St. opens. W. P. Allen publishes Tribune.
1938 NIH, Bethesda Theater, Woolworth’s and new post office open.
1939 Rec center dedicated. Two fire departments compete. Journal founded.
1940 Census 26,000. Library, Gifford’s, Carbert’s, and Hot Shoppe open.
1942 Naval Hospital, Jelleff’s, Palais Royal, and Bradley apartments open.
1943 Suburban Hospital built. USO and Thrift Shop start operation.
1945 Rescue squad revived. Post war boom begins.
1947 Car dealers multiply; U.S. takes Woodmont for HH; WBCC on the air.
1949 Wisconsin Ave. north of the Bank finally widened to end bottleneck.
1950 Arlington Road cut through. Woodies at the District Line opens.
1955 Perpetual Building opens, 75-feet high. Kenwood Park platted.
1956 O’Donnell’s arrives. Woodmont developed, W. Johnson HS opens.
1960 County Building replaced and war memorial dedicated.
1962 National Medical Library in operation. Walt Whitman HS opens.
1963 Cabin John Bridge opens (Beltway ‘64). Air Rights rises, Lowens arrive.
1968 Davis tract development begins. Mont. Mall opens. Fr. Hts. changing.
1973 Ford Bldg. approved. Apts. plarmed on N. Conn. Ave. Fr. Hts. revolts.
1976 New library opens. Metro downzoning fight. Resc. Sqd. to Battery La.
1980 Metro density up, R&K to develop site. Condo conversion accelerates.
1981 Leland JHS closed along with other schools. Giant replaces Arl. A&P.
1983 Beth. Ave. Row opens; Maloney pressured to leave. Eight hi-rises OK’d.
1984 Now 12 hi-rises approved near Metro. Subway arrives Aug. 24.
1997 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center opens

Source: Montgomery History (formerly Montgomery County Historical Society)