Category Archives: Environment

Darcy’s Store: The Capital Crescent Trail (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad)

Just wanted to repost this for our new readers:(Images: Environmental Protection Agency, public domain; APK licensed under cc-sa-3.0)

Long-term Bethesda residents may remember the Capital Crescent Trail in its previous incarnation as the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O).  It’s hard today to imagine heavy freight trains passing through the buzzing yet relaxed Bethesda downtown, emerging around Barnes & Noble before crossing Woodmont and trundling past Bethesda Row Cinema in the direction of Silver Spring.  But as recently as 1985, trains regularly rumbled along our favourite local trail.

Building began on the Georgetown Branch in 1892 and reached Chevy Chase the same year.  The railroad was originally intended to cross the Potomac River just north of the DC line and connect with the B&O-controlled Virginia Midland Railroad at Fairfax.

But financial problems forced a halt to proceedings and the B&O lost control of the Virginia Midland Railroad.  Revised plans on a less grand scale finally saw the line completed as far as Georgetown by 1910.  Trains ran along the route for the next 75 years, serving the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), the Washington Mill and Federal government buildings.  But with the changing nature of Georgetown’s historic waterfront and a shift away from industry, the line became obsolete and finally closed in 1985.

In 1988, the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Silver Spring and the DC line was purchased by the Montgomery County Government under the Trails System Act of 1968.  Two years later, the National Park Service purchased the remaining 4.3 miles of the right-of-way between Georgetown and the DC/Maryland boundary and the Capital Crescent Trail as we know it was born.  On the DC side it was developed as a component of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

The abandoned Arizona Avenue Railroad Bridge was utilized and volunteers built a wooden deck over the structure for walkers and cyclists.  This was replaced with concrete decking two years later and the seven mile paved section of the Capital Crescent Trail from Georgetown to Bethesda was formally dedicated in December 1996.

A further trail bridge was added in 1996 over River Road.  Known as the Dalecarlia Bridge, the structure reused components of an original bridge that carried the Georgetown Branch over the Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad, a now-abandoned streetcar line that, despite its name, never made it as far as Great Falls and came to be known as the Cabin John Trolley.

In June 2000, Montgomery County committed $1.3 million to repair the Rock Creek Trestle, which had been damaged by arson.  The trestle was dedicated on May 31, 2003 and today, if you’re feeling energetic enough, you can begin at Georgetown, lunch in Bethesda and take tea in Silver Spring.  If the improved weather that we’re currently having holds, this could be the perfect weekend stroll.

Darcy’s Store is a weekly feature article about the history of Bethesda

Bethesda Green: First Thursday Happy Hour @ Doubletree Bethesda Tomorrow!

Hope you can attend!

The Wine Bar, in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel

Doubletree Bethesda
8120 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
Hear about Bethesda Green’s community outreach plans
Enjoy light appetizers
Happy-hour-priced beer, wine and specialty drinks
Raffle for gift card — dinner for two at The OZ restaurant

Snow on the Ground in Bethesda — Montgomery County Schools Closed!

Friends — we have snow on the ground and Montgomery County Schools are closed (see here for more).  So far the Federal Government is Open (see here for more). Please take care and if you can safely take pics send them to us at with a note in the email confirming we can post them on our website (the first from a reader is below!!). Cheers!

Water Problems in Bethesda

A reader sent this message to our MD delegates — we encourage others to ask these questions:

I am a constituent in Bethesda, MD. I am writing to find out if you have any more information about the carcinogen, Chromium-6, in our drinking water. I heard about the report from EWG at
and wanted to see what you knew about it. Is this something to be concerned about? And, if so, what I can do to protect myself and my family?

The emails for the delegates and state senator:;;;

Bethesda Green Happy Hour Thursday

Friends, just a quick reminder that Bethesda Green has its First Thursday happy hour scheduled for RiRa tomorrow from 5pm-8pm. Hope to see you there!

Purple Line’s Bike Trail Tunnel in Doubt

An interesting story on the latest Purple Line issues:

Peter Gray, vice chairman of the Coalition of the Capital Crescent Trail, favors an underground tunnel and believes an above-ground bike path would unnecessarily split the Capital Crescent Trail and the Georgetown Branch. The state and county should find a way to pay for the project, even if it is expensive, he said. “I mean, times are lean, but it would be a huge disservice to the trail and to the county to cut it in two,” Gray said.

Fall in Bethesda: Superb Picture from a Reader

Thanks to Dina Keilany for sending this in (check out her site here):

FALL HAS ARRIVED — hurrah! Can you feel it? Can you feel it?

The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are turning, and the pumpkins are ripening on the vine.  That’s right it’s autumn and the weather this long Columbus day weekend is BEAUTIFUL. As you get out and about, take your cameras with you.  Send us your best shots.   Here are a just a couple of pictures taken Friday of Bethesda in her early Autumn finest.

From a reader:

What a difference a day makes.  Today could be spring with flowers blossoming but yesterday was all about the blooming of the brolley (aka the umbrella). I have never seen so much rain!!!! But as I walked to metro there was a bouquet of different umbrellas from the cheap and cheerful to the dominant domes.  Here are just few of the ones I caught on my phone.

Bethesda Magazine Presents Bethesda Green Gala (info below)

Bethesda Green Gala
You’re invited to an evening of inspiration, celebration and community recognition of local green champions

Thursday, October 7, 2010
6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Imagination Stage
4908 Auburn Avenue

· Presentation of the 2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards.
· Seasonal menu with fare from local purveyors
· Auction including sustainable trips, gifts and services

We’ll be honoring local green champions in 7 categories.
Nominees include businesses, non-profits, communities and individuals.

Click Here for Complete Event Information.