This lane of trees once led to the Madeline Waters House, built by Lloyd Dorsey in 1902 (see historic marker on Wisteria Drive north of Maryland Route 118). This house was typical of villa-style homes built on the outskirts of rural railroad towns at the turn of the century.
When the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad was completed in 1873, houses immediately began to surround the little Germantown station. This rural railroad village was different than railroad suburbs like Kensington and Garrett Park because it was considered too far away at that time for commuting into Washington, D.C. Instead, Germantown Station catered to the local farmers, providing shelters along the tracks for milk cans, and a warehouse to store crates of fruit and bags of flour so that they could be easily transferred to the train. The businesses that grew up around the station included a carriage shop, two general stores, a harness maker, and a livery stable to provide transportation to the country side for tinkers (traveling salesmen/repairmen) and vacationers. A steam-powered flour mill was built next to the tracks in 1888, and a Presbyterian chapel in 1896.
The homes close to the station had larger lots than those usually found in railroad suburbs (1/2 to 1 acre) and were generally simpler in design. These were homes for the carpenters, mill workers, livery stable workers, railroad telegraph operators, as well as the more well-to-do mill manager, minister, and general store owner. Larger estates such as that of the Waters family, and Andrew Baker, the banker, lay on the outskirts of the town, but still within walking distance of the stores and station.
[Map of Germantown in 1922, and photo of houses in 1906]