Repost from summer 2010: (Remains of) Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad

Ventured into Washington, DC yesterday after deciding to walk the Capital Crescent Trail and take advantage of the fantastic weather.  Admittedly the starting point wound up being the metro station rather than the trail, but while we’re on the subject of abandoned railroads, I thought I’d post these items that might be of interest to the local history fanatics out there!

While walking through Georgetown, we stumbled across this old railroad trestle just west of the university towards Foxhall Road:


Clearly an old railroad bridge, some post-walk research told me this was the remains of the Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad.  Not strictly a Bethesda issue, although the railroad, also known as the “Cabin John Trolley” (where it eventually terminated, never actually being extended to Great Falls!), ferried passengers through Glenn Echo, where they could board a Bethesda-bound streetcar.  We covered this previously in relation to the Bethesda North Trail (read more here).

Further exploration in the woods along Foxhall turned up further remains, while the old track bed was still clearly visible across the road.  The old track bed today is a pleasant right of way that is well preserved in certain sections along the route.  This is also not the only trestle that remains intact, with others further down the line in Maryland.

railroad 2

The Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad was incorporated in 1892 and opened in 1895, beginning in Georgetown at the junction of 36th and Prospect Streets.  It was bought by the Washington Railway and Electric Company in 1902 and finally dismantled during the 1960s.  Running along a private right of way, the journey must have been extremely pretty on its vantage point along the hillside above the Capital Crescent Trail.  Original photos here.

TD Bank Growth in Bethesda!



It has been interesting to see the growth of TD Bank in Bethesda and the surrounding area. At a time when many banks are closing down branches or limiting their hours, it makes a nice change to see a bank opening new offices and increasing their hours of operation.

We have been wondering what TD Bank is seeing that their competitors are not – is this a recognition that there is a market for face to face banking? Hopefully.

Is this a smart play at a time when money is cheap and real estate acquisition opportunities are available? Possibly.

Any insights would be appreciated but regardless of the rational we’d like to welcome TD Bank to the neighborhood and note that we appreciate their LEED certified builings:



New Tennis Courts at Battery Park

DSC00081Just wanted to write a quick note and give thanks for the terrific tennis court upgrade at Battery Park. It really is a big upgrade and the courts get a lot of use. The tennis wall is a nice addition!


Max Brenner Closed but Bethesda Chocolates Opening Soon

Bethesda Chocolate fans don’t despair – while Max Brenner has closed down but it looks like Bethesda Chocolates is going to be open very soon! The new chocolate shop on Woodmont ave promises to be a “must visit” spot for everyone with a sweet tooth in our neighborhood. Here at Bethesda Actually we can’t wait for it to open!



Target Coming to Bethesda

SO it seems that Target is going to open one of its urban style stores on the first floor of The Shops of Wisconsin – better known as the Trader Joes complex.  While the Target will certainly provide some advantages to the community, it will also pose a challenge from a parking perspective. Things are already tough there and Target will increase the pressure for spaces. Now, it is true that the Bethesda shuttle runs to that spot – perhaps there is a way to increase the number of shuttles running particularly during peak shopping times? The real estate space being secured by Target is approx 35,000 it seems. What do you think? Benefit? Problem?


600 Unit Building Near Bethesda Marriott Pooks Hill?

We just heard that there is a fairly detailed proposal for a 600 unit residential building to be developed between the Bethesda Marriott and the Promenade Coop Building on Pooks Hill.  My friend and colleague, Peggy Bresler, just mentioned that there is an application for development with the county as well as a sketch plan (see below). We will provide more info as we get it.

Please let us know if you have any more details and feel free to get in touch if this is of particular interest. My email

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Good Piece on Apex Building Redevelopment

Just wanted to share this article and add that I am really concerned by the disruption this project will create — could be a real mess to be honest.

Bethesda Blues Jazz Supper Club Building: Foreclosure Auction?

This is a story that needs clarifying a bit — it seems that the foreclosure is against the company that owns the real estate not the company that leases the space for the Supper club. Unclear what the duration of the lease is and whether a foreclosure sale would impact the ability of the Supper club to remain in place over the long run.

Good Works in Bethesda/ MoCo

Hi friends, I wanted to take a moment to post some info on a terrific group called Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.  RTMC is doing wonderful and important work by providing safe, warm and healthy homes to some of the most vulnerable residents in Montgomery county.
A colleague just let me know about a fun fundraising event that is coming up for RTMC called “The Playhouse Project.” The essence is that 8 amazing one-of-a-kind playhouses (built and donated by local custom home builders) will be auctioned live on June 11.
My colleague forwarded the info and the link below:

Reflections on Last Weeks Shooting

I wanted to let a few days pass before I posted a note on the tragic shootings last week in Bethesda and Silver Spring. First, and most importantly, our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Such senseless acts of violence have become all too common and, after last weeks acts, it is clear we are not immune here in Bethesda. 

When you have been through a scary situation like this I feel that it is important to note that there were many people who stepped up and tried to make things a bit better. In particular there are 3-4 groups of people who deserve our thanks:

1. law enforcement – who acted quickly and bravely to bring the accused to justice

2. school teachers and administrators throughout the county who quickly implemented lock downs to try and protect our children

3. medical staff – dealing with the victims of the shootings to try and save lives

4. security staff throughout the county that assisted law enforcement in locking down gov buildings, schools etc.

It is very hard to see anything good coming out of this incident…maybe it will encourage our elected officials to push for better mental health care and tighter gun laws? I hope so but am not sure.

So I will end this post by thanking those who reacted and hoping those who can reduce the number of these incidents will do their jobs a little bit better.