Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland (MD)


Montgomery County, Maryland

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Bethesda, a census‑designated place, shares part of its border with Northwest Washington, D.C. Zip Codes: 20810, 20811, 20813, 20814, 20815, 20816, 20817

Home in the Lyon Park Historic District

Bethesda [1] began as a 19th-century rural village at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Georgetown Road. Following the opening of the Georgetown and Rockville Electric Railway in 1891, Bethesda began grow as the center of a group of residential subdivisions. Among the subdivisions closely associated with Bethesda in this period were Sonoma (1912), Huntington Terrace (1910), Edgemoor (1912), and Bradley Hills (1912). These subdivisions generally attracted upper- middle class and affluent residents. During the period between World War I and World War II, building in Bethesda and Montgomery County boomed. Subdivisions such as Greenwich Forest (1932), Battery Park (1923), and Kenwood (1928) continued to grow around Bethesda, and the community began to develop a central business district around Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue. Construction of the National Institutes of Health in 1938 spurred further residential and commercial development into the 1940s. Continued development through the 1950s ensured that Bethesda would remain a suburban center. Following the opening of the Bethesda Metro stop in 1984, many older buildings in Bethesda were replaced with modern buildings. The central business district emerged as a regional retail and business center during the 1990s.


  • Cohasset
  • The Kenwood Condominiums
  • Westmoreland Hills
  • Al Marah
  • Alta Vista Gardens
  • Alta Vista Terrace
  • American University Park
  • Arrowood
  • Ashburton
  • Ashleigh
  • Avenel
  • Ayrlawn
  • Bannockburn Estates
  • Bannockburn Heights
  • Bannockburn Ridge
  • Battery Park
  • Bethesda Court
  • Bethesda Crest
  • Bethesda Hill
  • Bethesda Overlook
  • Bradley Hills Grove
  • Bradley Manor
  • Bradley Park
  • Bradley Village
  • Bradley Woods
  • Bradmoor
  • Bristol Square
  • Brookmont
  • Burning Tree Estates
  • Burning Tree Manor
  • Burning Tree Valley
  • Burning Tree View
  • Carderock Springs Historic District
  • Charred Oak Estates
  • Chelsea Tower
  • Chevy Chase
  • Columbia Forest
  • Cong Country Club Estates
  • Cong Forest Estates
  • Congressional Manor
  • Country Club Forest
  • Country Club Hills
  • Country Club Village
  • Courts of Wyngate
  • Crescent Plaza Condominium
  • Crestview
  • Downtown
  • English Village
  • Fairmont Plaza
  • Fairway Hills
  • Fernwood
  • Flint Hill
  • Foggys Pasture
  • Fort SumnerFox Hill
  • Fox Hill
  • Friendship Village
  • Georgetown Village
  • Glen Cove
  • Glen Echo Heights
  • Glen Mar Park
  • Glenbrook Knolls
  • Glenbrook Village
  • Glenwood
  • Green Tree Manor
  • Greenacres
  • Greenwich Forest
  • Grosvenor Mews
  • Hampden Row
  • Hampden Square
  • Hendry Estates
  • High Point
  • Hillmead
  • Huntington Terrace
  • Kenwood House
  • Kenwood Park
  • Kenwood Place
  • Lakeshore Townhomes
  • Lakeside Terrace
  • Landon Woods
  • Lionsgate Condos
  • Locust Hill Estates
  • Lone Oak
  • Longmeadow
  • Longwood
  • Madison Park
  • Maplewood Estates
  • Maplewood Manor
  • Maplewood Park Place
  • Marymount
  • Mass Avenue Forest
  • Mass Avenue Hills
  • Meadowbrook Village
  • Merrimack Park
  • North Bethesda
  • Oakwood Knolls
  • Page Hill
  • Parkside Condominiums
  • Parkview
  • Parkwood
  • Pineview
  • Pooks Hill
  • Riverhill
  • Rock Creek Highlands
  • Rosedale Park
  • Seven Locks Hills
  • Smithfield
  • Sonoma
  • Springfield
  • Springlake
  • Stratton Commons
  • Stratton Woods
  • Sumner Court
  • Sumner Park
  • Sumner Village
  • Sussex House
  • The Adagio
  • The Chase at Bethesda
  • The Christopher
  • The Crest
  • The Edgemoor at Arlington
  • The Lauren
  • The Palisades
  • The Promenade Towers Co-op
  • The River Quarry
  • Tulip Hill
  • West Spring
  • Westbard Mews
  • Westgate
  • Westlake Terrace
  • Westlake Towers
  • Westwood
  • Wheatley Hills
  • Whitehall
  • Whitley Park
  • Wildwood Estates
  • Wildwood Hills
  • Wildwood Knolls
  • Wildwood Manor
  • Willoughby
  • Woodacres
  • Woodhaven
  • Woodmont
  • Wyngate

Bethesda is generally bounded by the Capital Beltway (I-495) on the north, the Potomac River on the west, Western Avenue on the south, and Rockville Pike (Route 355) on the east.

The community was named for a local Presbyterian Church complex. Translations of the name are "House of Mercy" (Aramaic) or "House of Kindness" (Hebrew). Bethesda was first settled in late 17th century by tobacco farmers; this farming continued through the 18th century.

The coming of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad across Montgomery County in the 1880s and the electric trolley in 1891 opened the area for residential development targeted to Washington, D.C. commuters.

Beginnings [2]

The area now known as the Bethesda Central Business District, originally called Darcy's Store, was a small crossroads community surrounded by farms into the post-Civil War era. Most of the early buildings from this period were demolished as Bethesda grew, following the extension of the Tennallytown and Rockville Railroad Company streetcar line along Wisconsin Avenue to Alta Vista in 1890.

In the 1890s, the Chevy Chase Land Company began buying farmland for residential development and by 1912, very little land in the area remained in agricultural production. The B & O Railroad's Georgetown Branch, opened in 1910, further stimulated Bethesda's commercial growth and led to the development of related industries, such as coal yards, lumber yards, a planing mill and an ice plant, in Bethesda.

Bethesda's first real estate boom, from 1922 to 1926, was prompted in part by the increased popularity of automobiles as a means of commuting and led to the subdivision of more farmland and escalating land values. By the late 1920s, Bethesda had three filling stations, a drug store, a hardware store, a variety store, a grocery store, two feed stores, two barber shops and three small lunchrooms, and at the close of the 1930s, 23 auto-related businesses were located in Bethesda. About a dozen early 20th-century buildings remain to reflect Bethesda's transition in the 1920s and 1930s from a rural crossroads to an automobile-oriented, suburban community.

The development of the National Institutes of Health complex in 1938 and Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1940 spurred additional commercial activity in Bethesda during World War II. Following the war, a second wave of homebuilding took place. As Bethesda's residential areas matured, the downtown continued to grow and prosper, with a significant number of commercial buildings being constructed using various mid-century modern architectural expressions. Bethesda experienced another wave of growth in the 1980s, following the arrival of Metrorail, with many new buildings replacing post-World War II and earlier commercial structures. The emphasis of much of this development shifted from smaller commercial activities along Wisconsin Avenue, designed to serve nearby residential areas, to offices, shops and restaurants that have made Bethesda a significant downtown for the southern part of the County, as well as a regional destination.

  1. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Bethesda Downtown Plan, 2015,, accessed July, 2015.

Nearby Towns: Brookmont • Cabin John • Chevy Chase Town • Chevy Chase Vlg • City of Washington • McLean • North Bethesda • Rockville City • Silver Spring • Village of North Chevy Chase •

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