Silver Spring Timeline - 20th Century and Beyond!
1900 - Sligo Postmaster manages to close the rival Silver Spring Post Office.

1906 - Frank L. Hewitt becomes 2nd Postmaster of Silver Spring.

1909 - Following several years of fund-raising and passage of a special law by the Maryland Legislature to allow the County to accept donation of a school building encumbered by a mortgage, the Woodside School opens.  The school is the first consolidated elementary school in Silver Spring and replaces Sligo School and other one and two room elementary schools. It is one of the first buildings on the west side of Georgia Avenue to be built with electric lighting and fixtures.

1910 - Silver Spring National Bank opens on Georgia Avenue.

1911 - Silver Spring Armory constructed, housing Maryland National Guard Company K, which was created by Capt. E. Brooke Lee and Lt. Frank L. Hewitt.  Company K later served in World War I.

1913 - Gist Blair purchases store holding Sligo Post Office, establishing Silver Spring name.  Also, The Maryland State Roads Commission purchases the Brookeville Turnpike (now Georgia Avenue) and makes it a free road. 

1915 - Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department established, Montgomery County's first.

1916 - Seventeen street lights, the first in Silvert Spring, are installed along Georgia Avenue.  They are turned off after midnight to save money.

1922 - Woodside Development Corporation purchases Alton Farm from the heirs of Washington Evening Star editor and publisher Crosby S. Noyes and begins development of Woodside Park, "Washington's Most Beautiful Suburb" with "acre plot" home sites.  Also, Guy L. Jones, a member of Montgomery County's new 5-man police force, serves as Silver Spring's first policeman.  He patrols on a motorcycle.  Handcuffed prisoners ride behind him on the motorcycle to the jail in Rockville.

1924 - Montgomery Blair High School opens, Montgomery County's first.  Also, the trolley is "temporarily" replaced with bus service to allow construction of  "the subway" to eliminate the B&O grade crossing on Georgia Avenue.

1926 - The original Baltimore & Ohio underpass on Georgia Avenue, "the subway",  is completed.  Trolley service is not resumed, and the narrow lane which was to be used for trolley tracks is instead converted for use by north-bound traffic.

1927 - Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) created and headquartered in Silver Spring.  Maryland National Guard relocated to new Armory; old one becomes the Volunteer Fire Department #1.  Also, Silver Spring has a major commercial boom.  Many new buildings are completed.  By 1930 over 60 stores lined Georgia Avenue.  The first police station in Silver Spring opens with three cells for women and six for men.

1928 - Silver Spring Women's Volunteer Fire Department featured in a newsreel putting out a staged fire.

1931 - The Women's Development Club of Silver Spring organizes the Silver Spring Library.

1936 - New Deal-era Silver Spring Post Office opens on Georgia Avenue.

1936-1938 - Falkland Apartments, the first true garden apartments in Montgomery County and the first large-scale apartment complex in Maryland to receive mortgage insurance from the New Deal's Federal Housing Administration, are built on 24 acres of farmland belonging to the Blair family. Eleanor Roosevelt cuts the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

1937 - Mural "The Old Tavern" by Nicolai Cikovsky dedicated in Silver Spring Post Office, one of only seventeen post office murals in MD.

1938 - Silver Spring Shopping Center and Silver Theatre open.  The Washington Post publishes a special section heralding this new suburban shopping wonder.

1944 - Developer Sam Eig purchases the Silver Spring Shopping Center for $800,000.

1945 - Montgomery County opens the first public parking lot in the County in downtown Silver Spring.  By 1950 the County had created over 6,000 free parking spaces in downtown Silver Spring. 

1946 - Rebuilt Silver Spring Baltimore & Ohio Train Station constructed; Eig Building constructed.

1947 - Hecht's opens as Washington's first suburban department store.  Sears and J.C. Penney soon follow, as do many specialty retailers.  By the early 1950s, Silver Spring is the busiest retail market between Baltimore and Richmond except for downtown Washington, D.C.

1948 - Second Baltimore & Ohio Railroad underpass completed at original 1926 site on Georgia Avenue.

1951 - Suburban National Bank, originally Silver Spring National Bank, renamed Suburban Trust.  Also, Montgomery County assumes control of the Silver Spring Library and promises services at least equal to that provided by the Silver Spring Library Association at its main library and two branches.

1954 - Francis Preston Blair's home "Silver Spring" demolished for expansion of Blair Station Post Office, which opened in 1950.

1955 - Acorn Park, site of the original Silver Spring, dedicated by M-NCPPC.

1957 - TRANSORMA, a Dutch-built semi-automatic mail sorting machine, is first successfully tested in the United States at the Blair Station Post Office.

1958 - Montgomery Blair's home "Falkland" burned as exercise by the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department to make way for Blair Plaza Shopping Center.

1960 - Wheaton Plaza opens.  Within three years it is the fourth largest grossing shopping center in the country.  Downtown Silver Spring, which no longer has free parking, begins a slow commercial decline.

1961 - First section of the Washington Beltway opens in Silver Spring.

1978 - Silver Spring Metro Station opens.

1987 - Lee Building opens at Colesville Road & Georgia Avenue.

1989 - The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's Historic Preservation Planning Staff names Woodside Park "the purest manifestation of the 20s/30s suburban ideal to have been built in Montgomery County."  They also say it is the most intact subdivision of the period.

1992 - City Place Mall opens in the enlarged Hecht Company department store site.

1997 - Silver Spring Post Office mural "The Old Tavern" rededicated at the Silver Spring Community Library.

1998 - Silver Spring's 1927 Maryland National Guard Armory demolished to make way for downtown Silver Spring redevelopment.  Silver Spring Historical Society founded.

1999 - Groundbreaking ceremony held for construction of Fresh Fields grocery store, corner of Fenton & Wayne Avenues, beginning the new Downtown Silver Spring redevelopment

2000 - Silver Spring's 1945 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, located at 8100 Georgia Avenue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

21st Century

2003 - The 1938 Silver Theatre re-opens as the AFI Silver/Theatre & Cultural Center.  Discovery Communications Inc. opens its world headquarters at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.

2003Little Tavern #1, the oldest of three remaining Little Taverns in Montgomery County, is demolished by owner Pyramid Atlantic.

2003 - The Blair Station Post Office, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with TRANSORMA, is demolished by owner Patriot Group LLC.

Silver Spring Timeline contributors:
Jerry A. McCoy
Robert E. Oshel
Dana Lee Dembrow