Silver Spring Timeline, Part I

1632 - King Charles I grants Maryland to Lord Baltimore.  Charles County includes the land which would become Silver Spring.

1688 - Land grant of "The Girls Portion" to Henry Darnall.  This land grant contains all of what is now Downtown Silver Spring south of Colesville Road, the northern part of Takoma Park, and parts of the District of Columbia.

1695 - Charles County divided.  The new Prince George's County includes the area which would become Silver Spring.

1732 - Land grant by Lord Baltimore, the Lord Protector of Maryland, of "Labyrinth" to William Beal, James Beal, and James Edmondston.  The "Labyrinth" land grant encompasses most of close-in Silver Spring north of Colesville Road to University Boulevard in Wheaton.  Narrow portions of the land grant extend west to what is now Bethesda and into the District of Columbia.

1745 - Prince Georges County divided.  The area which will become Silver Spring becomes a part of the new Frederick County.

1776 - Montgomery County is created from the southern portion of Frederick County on October 1, 1776. 

1816 - The short-lived "Simpsonville" post office established.

1830 - Francis Preston Blair moves from Kentucky to Washington at the request of President Andrew Jackson to serve as editor of the Democratic newspaper The Globe.

1840 - Francis Preston Blair, his daughter, Elizabeth, along with their thirsty horse, Selim, discover the spring after which Silver Spring takes its name.  Sparkling flakes of mica in the water give it the appearance of silver.

1842 - "Silver Spring," a 20-room, 3-story home constructed by Blair on 250 acre homestead as country residence, in addition to Blair House, Washington residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.

1849 - Union Turnpike Co. chartered to construct a road from Brookeville, MD to Washington, DC along what is now known as Georgia Avenue.

1854 - Montgomery Blair, son of Francis Preston Blair, moves to Silver Spring at "Falkland".  At the time he represents Dred Scott in famous case before U.S. Supreme Court.

1857 - Francis Preston Blair Lee born to Elizabeth Blair and Samuel Phillips Lee, raised in Silver Spring, later to become the first popularly elected United States Senator, serving 1914-17.

1860s - Public education begins in Montgomery County.  The two-room Sligo School opens on a site that would later become the Hecht Company and then City Place Mall.

1861 - Francis Preston Blair opens the first Silver Spring post office.  The name is changed to Sligo two years later.  The area near the intersection of Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue is identified as Sligo on State Roads Commission highway maps as late as 1958.

1864 - Silver Spring was occupied by Confederate General Jubal Early's troops prior to engagement of the Battle of Ft. Stevens in Washington, DC.  Postmaster General Montgomery Blair's home "Falkland" burns to ground shortly after.

1868 - Francis Preston Blair, Jr., youngest child of Eliza and Francis Preston Blair, is the Democratic vice-presidential candidate.  The ticket was defeated by Ulysses S. Grant.

1873 - Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad completed from Washington, DC to Point of Rocks, MD, including four stops in what would become Silver Spring.

1876 - Francis Preston Blair dies.  A former member of President Andrew Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet" who presided over an organizational meeting of the Republican Party in 1856, Blair was instrumental in securing Abraham Lincoln's nomination in 1860. 

1878 - The first Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station  was constructed in Silver Spring, designed by E. Francis Baldwin.

1887 - The first suburban development begins when Selina Wilson, the widow of John C. Wilson, divides part of her farm on the northwest corner of Colesville Road and the Brookeville Road (now Georgia Avenue) into 5 and 10 acre building plots.

1890 - City of Takoma Park, MD, developed by Benjamin Gilbert, incorporates.

1893 - E. Brooke Lee, "the Father of Modern Silver Spring," born to Anne Brooke Lee and U.S. Senator Francis Preston Blair Lee.  Lee serves at age 30 in the MD state legislature and as House Speaker.

1897 - Trolley service begins on the Washington, Woodside, and Forest Glen Railway, which runs along Brookeville Road and then to Forest Glen.  The route west of Georgia Avenue is now Seminary Road.   Riders transferred to other trolleys at the District of Columbia line to continue downtown.

1899 - New Silver Spring Post Office opens, a quarter mile south of Sligo Post Office and on the other side of the toll booth.  Gist Blair, grandson of Francis Preston Blair, appointed first Postmaster. Also, Benjamin F. Leighton purchases the farm of John C. Wilson's brother Richard on the west side of Brookeville Road and subdivides it as "Woodside."  The B&O Railroad opened the Woodside Station to serve commuters to downtown Washington.  Commuters could also take the much slower, but cheaper, trolley.

20th Century Silver Spring Timeline
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