West Side Development
— Silver Spring Heritage - Georgia Avenue —
Silver Spring's First Movie Theater,
the 500-seat SECO (Suburban Electric Company), which opened on November 7, 1927 with the silent film "Fireman Save My Child," was located at 8242-8244 Georgia Avenue. The theater, renamed Roth's Silver Spring in 1953, closed on May 31, 1991. with a 99¢ screening of the 1990 comedy "Home Alone." Next door sat the Cissel Building which orginally housed an automobile showroom on the first floor and several businesses on the second. Last occupied by the Silver Spring Restaurant, a fire circa 1972, destroyed the structure.
Located across Bonifant Street was the Silver Spring Liquor Dispensary at 8400 Georgia Avenue. Here a crowd of 1,500 gathered late on Dec. 6. 1933 to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, initiated in 1920 to prohibit "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors" in the U.S. (the policy had been in effect in Montgomery County since 1880). In 1946 a second story was added to the structure and it was named the Kessinger Building. Guardian Federal Savings and Loan Association became the primary tenant of the building in 1953 and it was renamed the Guardian Building. Razed in the late 1970s for the widening of Bonifant Street a portion of the buildings vertically stacked quoins remain as part of the building next door.
(Sidebar) Sparkling Spring to Community
Welcome to Historic Silver Spring. Georgia Avenue, one of our two original main streets, was constructed in the early 19th century as the Seventh Street Turnpike, a dirt road connection Washington City to Brookeville, Md. A village named Sligo, established in the 1830s by Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Workers from County Sligo, Ireland, was located at the corner of Georgia and Colesville Road, our other main street.
A mica-flecked spring discovered in 1840 by U.S. presidential advisor Francis Preston Blair while riding his horse Selim, inspired the name of Blair's estate Silver Spring, constructed near the Spring's site.
Silver Spring's original Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station, built in 1878, formed the nucleus from which today's community radiated. The majority of these early-to-mid 20th century buildings still grace Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road and their many side streets. Explore the area and discover the fascinating history of the pioneering entrepreneurs, businesses, and institutions that developed our vibrant and diverse community.
Learn more about Historic Downtown Silver Spring at www.sshistory.org