Where exactly does Silver Spring begin and end? The county and the US Postal Service don't do a particularly good job of defining what is or is not Silver Spring, and broad swaths of MoCo are often generically referred to as "Silver Spring" (or "Springs", of course). I once attempted to illustrate my definition of Silver Spring by sketching boundaries on a county map, but I could never really decide whether certain neighborhoods should be in or out, and my borders ended up looking like some absurdly gerrymandered voting district.
Interestingly, way back in 1949 the Montgomery County Council did explicitly define Silver Spring's borders. The following map of Silver Spring was published in the July 24, 1949 issue of the Washington Post to accompany an article about the large volume of housing construction underway here at the time.
According to the map's caption:
This is the new Silver Spring, Md., as officially defined by the Montgomery County Council at request of the Silver Spring Board of Trade. An estimated 71,500 persons live within the new borders, making it the second city of Maryland. Notice the new community embraces the Wheaton area.It's interesting that even back then no one really knew exactly what comprised "Silver Spring" and a clarification had to be requested from the county.
Within the article is provided a route for a self-guided tour of Silver Spring:
Here is a suggested route: Out 13th st. nw. to Piney Branch rd., out Piney Branch rd., left on Old Bladensburg rd. [note that this is now University Blvd.], continue all the way to Wheaton, Right on Georgia ave. extended to Glenmont; re-trace your steps to Viers Mill rd, right on Viers Mill rd. and continue as far as Connecticut Avenue Estates; back to Georgia ave. extended and south to Colesville Rd., left and continue to Four Corners.This map isn't too far off from how I generally define Silver Spring, though I might tack on one or two neighborhoods. The other exception is the inclusion of Wheaton. I don't know what it was like sixty years ago, but it's definitely it's own entity now, even if it still technically maintains a Silver Spring ZIP code.