After seeing this old photo of Georgia Avenue at ThayerAvenue.com, it got me to thinking – I’d really like to have some photos of Silver Spring in the late 80’s and early 90’s to be able to help certain people appreciate what it was like before the wicked developers came in and “ruined” everything.
I still hear a surprising number of people talking about how terrible the redeveloped downtown is, how it was so much better before, and how the chains have destroyed Silver Spring’s character.
Bullshit. It sucked. I was there.
For those of you who weren’t around or don’t remember, the block of Ellsworth where DTSS is now located had on one side a filthy McDonald’s with a parking lot where homeless people congregated and on the other side a lot for the Rite Aid and various other businesses that took turns occupying portions of the decrepit shopping center. (You can still see what’s left of these lots on this outdated Google Maps image of the area.) I seem to recall there being a Mr. Goodwrench auto repair place on that street as well. There were not some great independent, mom ‘n pop businesses evicted in order to make space for another Starbucks. (Side note: a Wall Street Journal study last year showed that the addition of a Starbucks in a neighborhood actually HELPS independent coffee shops; many even try to lease the space next door.)
I’d really like to find photos of Silver Spring during this time period, but the problem is that most people would never bother to take photos of crappy stuff like that. Doug Duncan did use some last year in his aborted campaign for the governorship of Maryland. There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that the protesters are fighting the development company whose efforts resulted in that block being worth photographing.
Anyway, my point is that I’d appreciate it if anyone who has digitized (or can digitize) photos of downtown during this period would email them to me so that I can assemble a photo gallery of pre-redevelopment Silver Spring. I will post them online if and when I receive them.