Sunday, August 26, 2012


Readers, by the end of this weekend, you may be an armchair expert on the history of downtown Bethesda.

Yesterday, I told you about an artifact of Bethesda's past being auctioned off on eBay.  But there's another piece of history up for bid there, as well:  a signed print illustration of one of Bethesda's oldest buildings, Community Paint and Hardware - as it appeared in 1880.

I knew something about this building, but I had no idea it was around in 1880.  You know it today as a bank on the left side of the driveway you take down to the Apex Building garage, on Wisconsin Avenue.  The building is in a different spot, and only the front portion remains.  When I was a kid, what you now know as the Apex Building wasn't there.  On the Elm street side, there was a car dealership parking lot.  About where Food, Wine and Co. is, and the driveway, was a bridge.  Down below were the CSX railroad tracks.

In the print by Joan Zwack, you can see how big the original building was.

Well, that's our downtown Bethesda history lesson for the day.

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