property, looked out over Rockville Pikeand pointed out land he thought wouldbe perfect for a proposed Naval MedicalHospital. At its completion in 1942, theNavy Medical Center, along with NIH,would inscribe a northern limit to theexpansion of Bethesda’s commercial dis-trict, and would eventually bring thou-sands of new workers to the area’s busystreets—and thousands of new home-owners to the suburban communities.
A;er World War II, Bethesda’s boom
continued. But geographical restric-
tions—the circling of the business dis-
trict by stable residential communities,
The “Old Blacksmith Shop” sat on
the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and
Old Georgetown Road in about 1910.
The phone company’s
switchboard in 1941
country clubs and federal lands—wouldwork to contain the downtown’s outwardexpansion. Development was forcedupward, and by the 1960s, eight-, nine-and 10-story o;ce buildings had begunto cast longer shadows on WisconsinAvenue.
In 1972, the intersection of WisconsinAvenue and Old Georgetown Road waschosen as the site of the Bethesda Metrosubway station. Again, the progress oftransportation—from turnpike to trolleyto automobile to subway—seemed des-tined to direct the town’s future. In 1984,Bethesda’s Metro station opened—one
At the Boro
theater’s opening in
1938, local papershailed it as “atriumph inmodern theaterconstruction.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
In 1862, the town was named
“Darcy’s Store,” after the general store in
which the ;rst post of;ce resided. The town
was of;cially renamed “Bethesda”
in 1871, after the meetinghouse
that can still be seen from
year a;er the county had approved plansfor 14 medium- to high-density build-ings surrounding it, in a package rede-velopment plan unprecedented in thecounty’s history. ■