Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Silver Spring Propaganda, Circa 1927

I recently came across this 1927 newspaper advertisement extolling the virtues of purchasing land in Silver Spring, or "Maryland-North-Of-Washington". The ad was placed by the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, whose membership, I presume, was at least partially made up of those that owned the land being promoted.

(click image to enlarge)

Of all the reasons given to buy into Silver Spring, this is my favorite:

You can buy property in this desirable territory as reasonably as you can buy in the poorest, undesirable, row-house sections of Washington. (Translation: "Silver Spring: as cheap as the ghetto!")
At 30 cents per square foot, I guess you couldn't go wrong long-term. I imagine the two-year return in 1927 had to be better than investing in the stock market.


Brent said...

Yeah, they seem to be saying, "The low-cost alternative to that other place in MD -- Bethesda." And so it remains.

Robert said...

There was a whole series of these "Maryland North of Washington"
ads in 1927. Others touted the widening of Georgia Avenue and its new median, the new residential neighborhoods, etc. They ran when Charles W. Hopkins, the developer of Woodside Park and a skilled real estate promoter, was President of the C of C.

At the time, Silver Spring was way out from downtown DC, on the far fringe of development; there was lots of undeveloped land in DC before you got to Silver Spring. Convincing people to move way out to Silver Spring took promotion.

Downtown Silver Spring may be a "smart growth" area now, but in the 1920 it was sprawl at its worst.

Concerning Bethesda, in a pretty comprehensive review of real estate ads in the 1920s for my book on Woodside Park history [available at the County Libraries], I didn't get the impression that Silver Spring was particularly in competition with Bethesda. Bethesda was also seen as way out in the countryside and wasn't seen as all up-scale. Both areas had both up-scale and lesser real estate development.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to read the ad from 1927, in particular the following line:
"Future development north of the Washington border includes a proposed tram line between Bethesda and Silver Spring, a downtown music hall, and a brewpub/firestation."

Sligo said...

And a library, which will ultimately be replaced by another library at an undetermined future time.

Beaker said...

I like how the map labels Georgia Ave as "to Baltimore." I understand how they label route 29 as "to Baltimore," via US 40. But MD 97 ends up someplace in bumfuck Carroll Co.

Silver Spring: Then and Again said...

Actually, MD 97 ends 50 miles from downtown Silver Spring in Westminster, MD, home of McDaniel College.

McDaniel has over a dozen structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places and two historic districts (downtown Silver Spring has two NR structures and zero NR historic districts), I would say that there is hardly anything "bumfuck" about this community or Carroll County as a whole.

WashingtonGardener said...

BeaKer: Georgia Ave IS Rt 29 up thru DC until it hits Colesville - then Georgia is Rt 97 and Colesville is Rt 29 from that point north - clear as mud?

What I like about the map is the huge heart overlay - you don't see those kinds of topographical features anymore

Sligo said...

My question is: what is Wynnewood Park?

Mike said...

Actually, 97 runs into Pennsylvania and ends in downtown Gettysburg. I've lived in both Westminster--graduated from McDaniel when it was still Western Maryland College--and Gettysburg and made that run many times.

Neither town is as quaint as the local chambers and historians would like you to believe.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, historic "McDaniel" College. YOU'RE STILL WESTERN MARYLAND TO ME!

Robert said...

Wynnewood Park was the immediate grounds around Crosby S. Noyes' mansion. Noyes was the owner/publisher of the Evening Star newspaper. His "Alton Farm" was developed as Woodside Park beginning in 1922. Woodside Park's entire Block D (the area surrounded by Colesville Road, Woodside Parkway, Fairview Road, and Noyes Drive) was sold as a unit to Thomas E. Jarrell, who subdivided it as "Wynnewood Park." Jarrell created Mansion Drive and North and South Mansion Drives in his subdivision and also had lots facing the other streets mentioned above. By the way, the house at 1000 Mansion Drive is built on the foundation of Crosby S. Noyes' mansion.

The Wynnewood Park name has pretty much been forgotten except on deeds; the area is considered to be part of the Woodside Park neighborhood today.

-- Bob Oshel, Woodside Park historian

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note that "East Silver Spring" on this map is the area where Piney Branch meets Flower while "Silver Spring" is on what some people call East Silver Spring or Silver Spring Park as origionally platted. As for what should be labled "Silver Spring" today, I'll stick with this heart as the centro historico.

Anonymous said...

So did they break the windows at American Apparel again? What happened over there?

Lescoeurs said...

Great website. I grew up in Silver Spring 1956-64.

Jeff Rollins

Joel Sparks said...

Woot! Four Corners makes it inside the heart.

Joel Sparks said...

Apparently they were planning the Ellsworth strip already. Actual quote:

This 100 to 140 foot wide paved plaza with its three-fourths of a mile stretch will be a thronged thoroughfare, brilliantly illumined.... It will be the center of commercialized activity for this entire section.

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