Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Silver Spring of 1969's Future

I recently got my hands on a copy of the Silver Spring Master Plan created in 1969. One of the document's highlights was a set of drawings representing how planners envisioned Silver Spring looking following redevelopment. I had meant to go around to the various locations and take a "now" photo for each, but frankly I got too lazy/busy to do so. Fortunately, Google was kind enough to send a car around to take all the photos I needed, so I've included those pics below along with each of the master plan sketches for comparison. (Unfortunately, many of the photos were apparently taken on the single sunniest day ever.)

Note that you can click on each sketch/photo to zoom in.

We'll start with everyone's favorite intersection - Colesville Rd and Georgia Ave. Relative to some of the others, this one doesn't look significantly different from what we've got today.

I F'n LOVE that the Street View captured someone jaywalking here. A perfect photographic representation of Silver Spring - and this intersection in particular.

Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street. Hey, is that the "new" library I see over there? They were probably holding charettes for it at least as far back as '69.

Looking North on Georgia Avenue at Sligo Avenue. I love the crazy Cubist skyscrapers we were supposed to have. What we ended up with is much more mundane. I hereby christen this unbuilt structure "Tetris Towers".

Colesville Rd and Fenton Street. Another view of our nonexistent skyscrapers as well as the long-defunct Hecht's department store.

North on Georgia Avenue from Jessup Blair Park. Not much to say about this one. It's a park, and it's still there.

Cameron Street at Georgia Avenue. I can't really tell from what perspective this illustration was supposed to be. All those towers makes it look a bit Blade Runner-esque.


Dave Murphy said...

Thank God they opted out of those ugly tall street lights. Those are straight off of an air force tarmac.

Melanie said...

Unfortunatley for us, our "new" Library looks like it could have come straight from that study. As a matter of fact, those drawings look like absolutley every redevelopment study of that era. Give me that pedestrian friendly smaltz of Ellsworth any day.

WashingtonGardener said...

Agree with Dave M those ugly streetlights were first thing you saw in each drawing - blech. Wish we had as much tree canopy as they portray though.

BTW on the Jesup BlairPark photo - you could do much better and show the new entrance kneel wall/signage - way better than the 69 vision of it.

Anonymous said...

Corner of GA & Colesville--the one thing the planners got right back then is that there should NOT be a parking lot in front of the shopping center. What a major mistake to keep the parking lot there for the sake of historic accuracy (I can only assume that was the silly reason, given that there are 1000's of public spaces nearby.

Kristy said...

Thanks for posting this!

Brian said...

Thanks for posting this, as well as the movie theater the other day. Judging by your postings and general knowledge, you seem to be
1. someone who has lived here along time as I ( all my life )
2. very good at searching.
3. a general interest in history and exploring as I do.

keep up the great work my friend.

cheers! Brian.


I dont know if you are interested in urban exploring in general but if you are you should check out this sight.

99% of the stuff is in MD and the photos are amazing.

tacodaemon said...

The Cameron/Georgia one is definitely looking southeast from the north side of Cameron Street between Georgia Avenue and Ramsey Avenue. I can tell because that's one of the towers of the Twin Towers apartments over there on the left edge of the picture, and that's the only place along Cameron where you'd get that perspective on the Twin Towers. (The Twin Towers building was built in 1967.)

That means that the little park and blocky cubist building in the picture's right foreground is where the Tastee Diner is now. It looks like they were planning on eliminating Ramsey Avenue altogether there.

You could get roughly the same camera angle today by going to the top deck of the Cameron-2nd Parking Garage, standing in line with Ramsey Avenue and pointing your camera southeast.

tacodaemon said...

Or actually, come to think of it, the Tastee Diner would be at the left foreground of that last drawing, while the blocky cubist building in the right foreground would be where the Cameron Hill neo-old-timey rowhouses are now, and part of the park in the middle is where Ramsey Avenue runs.

Matt! said...

I LOVE the streetlights. I bet they, um... I dunno, even provided a good downward light instead of the retro crap all over the area. And hey, they even look dark sky certified.

Douglas A. Willinger said...

No pictures of the then proposed B&O North Central Freeway along the rail-tracks?

Anonymous said...

What caused the scaleback of most of the towers in the drawing????

It would be nice if they can rebuild silver spring to look like Rosslyn, Ballston, Pentagon City, or Crystal City.........

email marketing solution said...

It is unbelievable to notice such stunning similarities between the drawings and pictures. Our forefathers could foresee the future considering their planning and designing.

direct response agency said...

It must be an inexplicable experience to view the plan and the great course of action that has given shape to this beautiful place. thanks for sharing.

Eviction Forms said...

Considering the immaculate master plan, I would dare to insist on following the footprints of our forefathers.

used auto parts said...

I'm amazed to discover that our past was so exciting and lively. It was simple, beautiful and perfect. Thanks for nice posting.

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