Silver Spring, Maryland
"Probably the purest manifestation of the 1920s and 1930s
suburban ideal to have been built in Montgomery County"
© 1998 by Robert E. Oshel
Published by the Woodside Park Civic Association
Silver Spring, Maryland
Preface and Acknowledgments
When the Historic Preservation Planning Staff of the Maryland-National Capital Park and
Planning Commission recommended Woodside Park for designation as an historic district in 1989,
"Woodside Park was more than a typical 1920s development . . . it was really prototypical. . . .
Although there are many neighborhoods with some of the same characteristics and architectural
housing types as Woodside Park, staff has concluded that Woodside Park is not only the most
intact subdivision of the period, but also that its basic design and development is probably the
purest manifestation of the '20s/'30s suburban ideal to have been built in Montgomery County.
[Other contemporary neighborhoods do not] have the sylvan, park-like character that many
subdivisions of the period aspired to but that few actually were able to create. Woodside Park did
create this ideal sort of ambiance and has, amazingly, maintained it over the years to a great
This history is an attempt to describe how Woodside Park was established as an ideal automobile-based suburb of the 1920s and the "amazing" (and almost at times miraculous) way in which the neighborhood has remained true to the concept which guided its developers.
This history was not written as a scholarly publication. There are no footnotes. However, a printed copy with detailed source notes will be maintained in the archives of the Woodside Park Civic Association and will also be provided to the Montgomery County Historical Society. An electronic version of this history with all sources noted is available from the author or on the Internet at http://www.cpcug.org/user/roshel/history.html. This history should not be quoted before checking one of the footnoted copies (or checking with the author) to ensure that original sources receive proper credit. The author has copies of much of the source material. Interested readers may contact the author for additional information by mail at 9114 Crosby Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Information was gathered from many sources for this history. The starting point for much of the history of the Noyes Estate and the first 20 years of Woodside Park was the booklet "Early History of Woodside Park," which was published by the Woodside Park Civic Association in 1968. No author was listed on the booklet, but it was written by Evarts J. Wagg, then of 9014 Alton Parkway. Mr. Wagg died in 1977 at the age of 70. Some parts of this history could not have been written without Mr. Wagg's work; indeed, although this work greatly expands and revises the 1968 history, a few paragraphs here may still be as Mr. Wagg wrote them originally.
Much of the detail about the individuals who lived in Woodside Park and life in Woodside Park is based on oral history research by Marilyn Slatick, who conducted many interviews with long-time Woodside Park residents and their now-adult children. The detailed notes of her conversations were invaluable in the preparation of this history. Marilyn Slatick also served as photo curator, and provided extensive editing assistance. The importance of her work cannot be overemphasized. The photographic work of her husband, Eugene R. Slatick, was also a major contribution to this work, as was the historical insight and computer expertise provided by her daughter, Carol Slatick. Special thanks should also be made to my wife, Kay H. Oshel, for her proofreading and editorial assistance and to my son, Gregory Oshel, for placing the manuscript on the Internet and using the Internet for research.
Among the sources of photographs two deserve particular mention and thanks. The Lee Development Group and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce generously provided access to their archives and supplied many of the aerial photographs and Silver Spring street scenes which appear in the book. Photographs were also provided by many neighborhood residents, whose contributions are acknowledged below. Photographs in this book may not be reproduced without permission of their owners.
Many people were interviewed as a part of the research for this book. I particularly want to thank Nathan F. (Nate) Fuller, who supplied photographs and his extensive collection of newspaper clippings concerning Silver Spring and its residents; Mary Jarrell and Helen Dolan Sherbert who also provided photographs, clippings, and other original source documentation; and Louise Grotlisch Barnett, Mervin Conn, Mildred (Petie) Ditzler, Mary Marsh Griffin, William Griffith, Charles Horsky, Donald and Irwin Kaplan, Drew Klink, Kevin Maloney, W.H. and Virginia Packett, Jean Williams Schrider and Mildred Williams McCall, Robert Schwartz, and Stephen Weiss who also provided photographs and literature. I also want to thank the many individuals who provided information and otherwise helped in this project: Loren Amdursky and Edward Nelson, Alice Angel, Marty Apel, Joel and Jhonnie Bailey, Louise Beatty, Daniel and Patricia Berry, Joyce Battles Bond, Lynne and Jamie Blech, Bill Borwegen, Adrea Brier, Marian Brown, Peggy Buchanan, James and Ann Burke, Margaret Horsky Burns, Susan Carr, Mary Lou Carta, Robert B. Clagett, Bernetta Cole, Marie Consroe, Candace Conway, Carribelle Conway, Lillian Crawford, Grace Dahl, Ellen Dell'Anno, Mary Margaret Perry Dickson, Urban Donnelly, Irene Dorr, Fran Durako, Cathy Ellis, Debby Evans, John Fahy, James and Jo Ann Farrell, Leesa Fields, Timothy and Tonya Finton, Ruth Hunter Fountain, Alice Frandsen, Carol Crawford-Franklin, Shirley Packett Gable, Adina Gewirtz, Aldo and Alfa Giacchetti, Dean and Merrillyn Gibson, Esther Gifford, Ellin Beatty Glenn, Susan Golden, Patrick and Terry Grace, Caroline Greenwood, Claudia Hannah, Henrietta Hunter, Roger Johnson, Dorothy Kalbfus, Linda Katz, Marshall Klein, Audri and James Lanford, Gregory Lanigan, Kenneth and Ida Laws, Lee Larsen, Stephen and Barbara Leighton, Jaclyn Leimbach, Carol Levin, James Lyles, Margaret Jarrell Maderet, Christopher Madison and Jane Clark, Frances Manning, Joanne Miller McCann, Suzanne McGilvray, Joseph McPherson, Mary Miller, Lois Mitchell, Ryland and Mary Louise Mitchell, Mary Murphy, John Nazdin and Kathy Williams, David Norcross, Thelma Herriman Nordeen, Joan Patton, Wendy Perdue, Walter and Carol Petzold, Steven Raab, Betsy Reed, Betty Harlan Rice, Linda Rishe, Betty Carol Sullivan Rowan, Jane Sattler, Judy Schlecht, William and Dorothy Schmidt, J. Everett and Rachel Schrider, Stephen Schuster, Mary Scott, Marilyn Seitz, James Seltzer, Mathias and Alicia Serfaty, Denise Sherer, Paul Singleton, Rosanne Skirble, John and Peggy Speaker, Thomas & Joanne Stathes, Florence Steinberg, Mary Stephens, Warren Stewart, Jean B. Sullivan, Jeanne M. Sullivan, Jack Surine, Louise Surine, William TenHoor, Patrick Thomas, Rita Lanigan Thomas, Mary Frances Hanrahan Trudeau, Richard Tuve, James and Patricia Van Cott, Louise Walsh, Jeane Weeks, Stephanie Weldon, Richard and Karen Whitney, Carrie Wickre, Eric Wiemann, Ben Williams, Linda Williams, Ralph C. Williams, Jr., Jeff Wilson, Mona Wingo, and Thomas and Linda Wratten.
Among the most important sources of documentary information used to prepare this history: all the real estate sections published Saturdays in the Washington Evening Star between January 1, 1922 and December 31, 1952; all the real estate sections published Sundays in the Washington Post between April 9, 1922 and December 31, 1952; real estate sections for selected dates, especially during the early 1920s, published in the Washington Herald and the [old] Washington Times; Montgomery County land records and related court records; Klinge real estate atlases and Sanbourne real estate atlases published from the early 1920s into the 1960s; "The Maryland Historical Trust State Historical Sites Inventory Form" for Woodside Park prepared by Andrea Rebeck for the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission in 1987; Joyce E. Nalewajk's "Woodside: The Early Years" and a draft of Nalewajk's longer history of Woodside; Jeanne Sullivan's "Woodside Park Proposed Historic District" house tour booklet of 1988; Mildred Newbold Getty's "To Light the Way: A History of Grace Episcopal Church;" Louis N. Markwood's "The Forest Glen Trolley and the Early Development of Silver Spring;" Mark Walston's "The Commercial Rise and Fall of Silver Spring: A Study of the 20th Century Development of the Suburban Shopping Center in Montgomery County" in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1986; and Steven Lubar's "Trolley Lines, Land Speculation and Community-Building: The Early History of Woodside Park, Silver Spring, Maryland" also in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1986.
I also want to acknowledge the assistance of the Historic Designation Planning staff (especially Gwen Marcus Wright and Robert Rivers), the Archives staff (Carol Piper), the Transportation Planning staff (particularly Patricia Willard and Robert Winick), and the Information staff (David Hudgel) of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; the staff of the Montgomery County Public Libraries in Silver Spring and Rockville; the staff of the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.; the staff at the County Land Records office; the staff of the County Register of Wills Office; the staff of the State Department of Assessment and Taxation's Rockville office; the staff of the Maryland State Highway Administration's file room in Baltimore; the Consumer Relations Department of Washington Gas; the Maintenance Bureau Office of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission; the Government Relations Department of the Potomac Electric Power Company; the Lee Development Group; the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce; the National Archives and Records Administration; and Shelley Davis, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Historian.
-- Robert E. Oshel, Woodside Park, February 1998
A Note on Street Names, Addresses, "Silver Spring" and "Sligo"
Unlike the names of many streets in Silver Spring, the names of streets in Woodside Park have not changed over the years except for Georgia Avenue, Colesville Road, Luzerne Avenue, Grace Church Road, Woodland Drive, and part of Dale Drive. Georgia Avenue has been known as Brookeville (sometimes spelled Brookville) Road, Seventh Street Pike and the Union Turnpike at various times. Colesville Road was the Colesville and Ashton Turnpike, Colesville Pike, and Colesville-Baltimore Pike. It was also referred to as Burnt Mills Road in some real estate ads in the 1920s. The 1500 and 1600 blocks of Dale Drive (i.e., the blocks west of Crosby Road) were originally Upland Drive. The 1500 and 1600 blocks of Grace Church Road were originally a part of Dale Drive. Then they became East Grace Church Road until the house numbers were also changed and the "East" was dropped. Woodland Drive was originally known as Woodland Road. Luzerne Avenue, which only has one house which is within Woodside Park, was originally platted as Ridge Road. Generally when a former street name is used in this history, the current name is also given to avoid confusion.
House numbers have also changed over the years. In most cases there is no easy conversion formula. Initially there were no house numbers at all except in Wynnewood Park (Woodside Park's Block D, as explained in the main text of this history), where houses were given their one or two digit lot number as house numbers. Houses in Woodside Park across the street from Wynnewood Park, such as those on the north side of Fairview Road between Noyes Drive and Woodside Parkway, also used two digit numbers. By 1929 house numbers were used throughout Woodside Park. The current numbering system was adopted in the fall of 1940, but the numbers of some individual houses were changed later.
Before the 1940 conversion, houses on Dale Drive between Colesville Road and the right-of-way for Alton Parkway were numbered in the 400 block. There apparently were no 500 or 600 blocks of Dale Drive; the 700 block began at the Alton Parkway right-of-way and extended to Crosby Road. The 800 block was from Crosby Road to Woodland Drive on what is now Grace Church Road. The 900 block of Dale Drive is now the 1600 block of Grace Church Road. Before the conversion both Highland Drive and Woodside Parkway between Colesville Road and Alton Parkway were numbered in the 600 blocks; the blocks between Alton Parkway and Crosby Road were the 700 blocks; from Crosby Road to Woodland Drive were the 800 blocks, and between Woodland Drive and Georgia Avenue were the 900 blocks. Noyes Drive between Colesville Road and Fairview Road was the 600 block; between Fairview Road and Alton Parkway was the 700 block; the 800 block of Noyes Drive was between Alton Parkway and Woodland Drive; the 900 block was between Woodland Drive and Georgia Avenue. Within the interior of Wynnewood Park with the 1940 conversion Mansion Drive became and still is the 900 block, plus 1000; North and South Mansion Drives became the 1000 blocks. The 8700 block of Colesville Road originally started at Spring Street; the 8800 block began at Noyes Drive; and the 8900 block extended from Mansion Drive to Dale Drive. Pinecrest Circle was originally numbered with one or two digits; then it became the 700 block before being changed to the current 1200 block. Woodland Drive south of Noyes Drive was the 9000 block; the street was not built south beyond the boundary of the original Alton Farm all the way to the current Burton Street until after the blocks were renumbered. The two blocks from Noyes Drive to Highland Drive were originally both the 9100 block, and the two blocks from Highland Drive to the end of the street at Upland Drive, which is now Dale Drive, were originally both the 9200 block.
Conversion formulas do work (more or less) for some streets. The pre-conversion numbers on Crosby Road were 100 smaller than the current numbers; numbers on Alton Parkway were 200 smaller than current numbers. Numbers on Grace Church Road were 700 smaller. On Fairview Road, once the one or two digit numbers (lot numbers within Wynnewood Park but arbitrarily assigned numbers for houses on the other side of Fairview Road from Wynnewood Park lots) were abandoned, block numbers were 200 smaller than the current block numbers; individual house numbers on Fairview Road changed even more since the odd-numbered side of the street became the even-numbered side and vice versa. Georgia Avenue was not renumbered when the other streets were renumbered, or if it was, it was renumbered again some time after 1948. Numbers on Georgia Avenue were approximately 100 larger on most blocks. References to house numbers in this history are always to current numbers.
Perhaps all this confusion is fitting given that Silver Spring itself is largely undefined and has evolved through the years. The area now considered the heart of Silver Spring, the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, was popularly known as Sligo at least into the 1930s; a Maryland state highway map issued as late as 1958 shows Sligo at the Georgia Avenue-Colesville Road intersection. Silver Spring was the area farther south on Georgia Avenue near the B&O Station and the railroad overpass.