Boundaries of Bethesda CDP from U.S. Census Bureau
Location of Bethesda in Montgomery County, Maryland
|• Total||34.2 km2 (13.2 sq mi)|
|• Land||34.0 km2 (13.1 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||97 m (318 ft)|
|• Density||1,623.9/km2 (4,205.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area codes||301, 240|
|GNIS feature ID||0583184|
Bethesda ( // ) is an unincorporated, census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda. The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, in addition to a number of corporate and government headquarters.
As an unincorporated community, Bethesda has no official boundaries. The United States Census Bureau defines a census-designated place named Bethesda whose center is located at, while the United States Geological Survey has defined Bethesda as an area whose center is at , slightly different from the Census Bureau's definition. Other definitions are used by the Bethesda Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service (which defines Bethesda to comprise the ZIP Codes 20810, 20811, 20813, 20814, 20815, 20816, and 20817), and other organizations. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the community had a total population of 63,374.
Bethesda is located in a region populated by the Piscataway and Nacotchtank tribes at the time of European colonization. Fur trader Henry Fleet became the first European to visit the area, reaching it by sailing up the Potomac River. He stayed with the Piscataway tribe from 1623 to 1627, either as a guest or prisoner (historical accounts differ). Fleet eventually secured funding for another expedition to the region, and was later granted proprietary rights to 2,000 acres in the nascent colony and became a member of Maryland’s colonial legislature.Raids from the Senecas and Susquehannock resulted in the creation of the Maryland division of Rangers in 1694 to patrol the frontier.
Most settlers in colonial Maryland were tenant farmers who paid their rent in tobacco, and colonists continued to expand farther north in search of fertile land. Henry Darnall (1645–1711) surveyed a 710-acre (290-hectare) area in 1694 which became the first land grant in Bethesda. Tobacco farming was the primary way of life in Bethesda throughout the 1700s. The city avoided seeing action during the Revolutionary War, although it became a supply region for the fledgling Continental Navy. The establishment of Washington, D.C. in 1790 deprived Montgomery County of its economic center at Georgetown, although the event had little effect on the small farmers throughout Bethesda.
Between 1805 and 1821, Bethesda became a rural way station after development of the Washington and Rockville Turnpike, which carried tobacco and other products between Georgetown and Rockville, and north to Frederick. A small settlement grew around a store and tollhouse along the turnpike by 1862 known as "Darcy's Store", named after the store's owner William E. Darcy. The settlement was renamed in 1871 by postmaster Robert Franck after the Bethesda Meeting House, a Presbyterian church built in 1820. The church burned in 1849 and was rebuilt the same year about 100 yards (91 m) south, and its former location became the Cemetery of the Bethesda Meeting House.
Bethesda did not develop beyond a small crossroads village through the 19th century. It consisted then of a blacksmith shop, a church and school, and a few houses and stores. In 1852, the postmaster general established a post office in Bethesda and appointed Rev. A. R. Smith its first postmaster.A streetcar line was established in 1890 and suburbanization increased in the early 1900s, and Bethesda began to grow in population. Communities that were situated near railroad lines had grown the fastest during the 19th century, but mass production of the automobile ended that dependency and Bethesda planners grew the community with the transportation revolution in mind. This included becoming a key stopping point for the B & O railroad on their Georgetown Branch line completed around 1910 that ran from Silver Spring to Georgetown, passing through Bethesda on the way. The branch had a storage yard there and multiple sidings that served the industries in Bethesda in the early 20th century. B & O successor CSX ceased train service on the line in 1985, so the county transformed it into a trail in the rails-to-trails movement. The tracks were removed in 1994 and the first part of the trail was opened in 1998; it has become the most used rail trail in the United States, averaging over one million users per year.
Subdivisions began to appear on old farmland in the late 19th century, becoming the neighborhoods of Drummond, Woodmont, Edgemoor, and Battery Park. Farther north, several wealthy men made Rockville Pike famous for its mansions. These included Brainard W. Parker ("Cedarcroft", 1892), James Oyster ("Strathmore", 1899), George E. Hamilton ("Hamilton House", 1904; now the Stone Ridge School), Luke I. Wilson ("Tree Tops", 1926), Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor ("Wild Acres", 1928–29), and George Freeland Peter ("Stone House", 1930). In 1930, Dr Armistead Peter's pioneering manor house "Winona" (1873) became the clubhouse of the Woodmont Country Club on land that is now part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus. Merle Thorpe's mansion "Pook's Hill" (1927, razed 1948) became the home-in-exile of the Norwegian Royal Family during World War II.
World War II and the subsequent expansion of government further fed the rapid growth of Bethesda. Both the National Naval Medical Center (1940–42) and the NIH complex (1948) were built just to the north of the developing downtown, and this drew government contractors, medical professionals, and other businesses to the area. In recent years, Bethesda has consolidated as the major urban core and employment center of southwestern Montgomery County. [ citation needed ]This recent growth has been vigorous following the expansion of Metrorail with a station in Bethesda in 1984. Alan Kay built the Bethesda Metro Center over the Red line metro rail which opened up further commercial and residential development in the immediate vicinity. In the 2000s, the strict height limits on construction in the District of Columbia led to the development of mid- and high-rise office and residential towers around the Bethesda Metro stop, effectively creating a major urban center.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34 km2), of which 13.1 square miles (34 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.38%) is water.
The main commercial corridor that passes through Bethesda is Maryland Route 355 (known as Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda and as Rockville Pike and Hungerford Drive in more northern communities), which, to the north, connects Bethesda with the communities of North Bethesda and Rockville, ending, after several name changes, in Frederick. Toward the South, Rockville Pike becomes Wisconsin Avenue near the NIH Campus and continues beyond Bethesda through Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights and into Washington, D.C., ending in Georgetown.
The area commonly known as "Downtown Bethesda" is centered at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue, Old Georgetown Road and East-West Highway. This intersection is approximately two and one-half miles from Washington, DC's western boundary, making Bethesda a close-in suburb of Washington. Other focal points of downtown Bethesda include the Woodmont Triangle, bordered by Old Georgetown Road (Maryland Route 187), Woodmont and Rugby Avenues, and the Bethesda Row, centered at the intersection of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue. Much of the dense construction in that area followed the opening of the Bethesda station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro rapid transit system, also located at this intersection and the centerpiece of the Bethesda Metro Center development. The Medical Center Metro stop lies approximately 0.7 mile north of the Bethesda stop, Medical Center, which serves the NIH Campus, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
As of the censusof 2000, there were 55,277 people, 23,659 households, and 14,455 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,205.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,624.2/km2). There were 24,368 housing units at an average density of 1,854.1 per square mile (716.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 85.86% White, 2.67% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 7.92% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, and 2.11% from two or more races. 5.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 23,659 households, out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 21.8% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.0 males.
Bethesda is a very wealthy and well-educated area. According to the 2000 Census, Bethesda was the best-educated city in the United States of America with a population of 50,000 or more. 79% of residents 25 or older have bachelor's degrees and 49% have graduate or professional degrees. According to a 2007 estimate,the median income for a household in the CDP was $117,723, and the median income for a family was $168,385. Males had a median income of $84,797 versus $57,569 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $58,479. About 1.7% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over. Many commute to Washington, D.C. for work. The average price of a four bedroom, two bath home in Bethesda in 2010 was $806,817 (which ranks it as the twentieth most expensive community in America).
Bethesda is often associated with its neighboring communities, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Great Falls, Virginia, and McLean, Virginia, for their similar demographics. In April 2009, Forbes ranked Bethesda second on its list of "America's Most Livable Cities". ' list of America's most educated small towns and Time's list of top earning towns.In October 2009, based on education, income, health, and fitness, Total Beauty ranked Bethesda first on its list of the U.S.'s "Top 10 Hottest-Guy Cities." In 2009, Self magazine ranked Bethesda as the second healthiest place for women in the country, a year after ranking it number one. As of 2009, eight Pulitzer Prize winners live in Bethesda, as do several well-known political commentators (including George Will, David Brooks, and Thomas Friedman). In 2014, it placed first on both Forbes
Important medical institutions located in Bethesda include the National Institutes of Health campus, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the adjoining Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as a number of other military medical and research institutions. Other federal institutions include the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division.
The headquarters of defense conglomerate Lockheed Martin, managed health care company Coventry Health Care and hotel and resort chains Marriott International and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. are located in Bethesda. Software company Bethesda Softworks was originally located in Bethesda, but moved to Rockville, in 1990. The Discovery Channel also had its headquarters in Bethesda before relocating to Silver Spring in 2004. On the professional services side, numerous banks (PNC, Capital One Bank) brokerage firms (SmithBarney, Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, Fidelity) and law firms (Ballard Spahr, JDKatz, Paley Rothman, Lerch Early & Brewer) maintain offices in Bethesda. Bethesda has two farmers markets, the Montgomery Farm Woman's Cooperative Market and the Bethesda Central Farmer's Market. In the summer of 2021, Fox Television Stations relocated the facilities of its Washington-area television stations, WTTG and WDCA, to Bethesda.
Bethesda is the home of Congressional Country Club, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious private country clubs in the world. Congressional has hosted four major golf championships, including the 2011 U.S. Open, won by Rory McIlroy. The AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods, has been played at Congressional four times. Bethesda is also home of the exclusive Burning Tree Club, Bethesda Country Club, and the Bethesda Big Train, a summer collegiate baseball team.
A number of ambassador residences are in Bethesda, including Bangladesh, Haiti, Cape Verde, Guyana, Honduras, Lesotho, Morocco, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
Also located in downtown Bethesda is one of the Madonna of the Trail monuments, erected by the National Old Trails Association working in concert with the Daughters of the American Revolution; President Harry S Truman presided over the dedication of the Bethesda monument, on April 19, 1929. Nearby is the Bethesda Post Office. Also starting in the heart of downtown Bethesda, is the Capital Crescent Trail which follows the old tracks of the B&O Railroad stretching from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., to Silver Spring, MD. Walter Reed Medical Center and the Bethesda Theater are two important Art Deco architectural structures in the suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C.
Federal Realty Investment Trust has developed much of the west side of downtown Bethesda into an area called Bethesda Row, incorporating principles of new urbanism and a mixed-use district including residential apartments and condos (100,000 ft2), retail (300,000 ft2), dining, office space (100,000 ft2), hotels, entertainment, public art and fountains, forming the new core of the revitalized Downtown.Retail stores include an Apple Store, Amazon Books, Anthropologie, and popular bagel store Bethesda Bagels.
Michael Kindzierski served as Lead Architect for the project, which kicked off in 2000. Awards for Bethesda Row include:
It is within Montgomery County Public Schools.
Public primary schools located in Bethesda include:
Public middle schools located in Bethesda include:
Public high schools located in Bethesda include:
Private schools located in Bethesda include:
Bethesda is also home to a federally funded and operated health science university, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). The primary mission of USU is to prepare graduates for service in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Public Health Service. The university consists of the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, a medical school, and the Graduate School of Nursing, a nursing school. National Intelligence University is also in Bethesda.
The Washington Japanese Language School (WJLS, ワシントン日本語学校 Washington Nihongo Gakkō), a supplementary weekend Japanese school, holds its classes at the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda.The WJLS maintains its school office in North Bethesda, adjacent to Garrett Park. The institution, giving supplemental education to Japanese-speaking children in the Washington, D.C. area, was founded in 1958, making it the oldest Japanese government-sponsored supplementary school in the U.S.
The Writer's Center in Bethesda publishes Poet Lore , the longest continuously running poetry journal in the United States.
Notable companies based in Bethesda include:
Downtown Bethesda is managed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, a non-profit organization established in 1994 by Montgomery County.
Washington Metro's Red Line services two primary locations in Bethesda: the downtown area at the Bethesda station, and the area near the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Medical Center at the Medical Center station. The Maryland Transit Administration's Purple Line, a light rail line currently under construction, will provide a direct connection from Bethesda to Silver Spring, the University of Maryland, College Park, and New Carrollton.The Purple Line will allow riders from Bethesda to move between the Red, Green, and Orange lines of the Washington Metro transportation system, as well as to MARC and Amtrak trains, without needing to ride into central Washington, D.C.
Local buses include:
Long-distance buses include Vamoose Bus and Tripper Bus,both of which provide service from downtown Bethesda to the proximity of Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Montgomery County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland, located adjacent to Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 971,777, increasing by 8.1% to an estimated 1,050,688 in 2019. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville, although the census-designated place of Germantown is the most populous city within the county. Montgomery County is included in the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn forms part of the Baltimore–Washington Combined Statistical Area. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, of which the most urban are Silver Spring and Bethesda, although the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers, as are many smaller but significant places.
Rockville is a city that serves as the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. The 2010 census tabulated Rockville's population at 61,209, making it one of the largest communities in Maryland and the third largest location in Montgomery County, after Silver Spring and Germantown.
Silver Spring is a census-designated place (CDP) in southeastern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, near Washington, D.C. Although officially unincorporated, in practice it is an edge city which had a population of 81,816 residents as of 2018. This makes it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown, and the second most populous in Montgomery County after Germantown.
Garrett Park is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was named after a former president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Robert W. Garrett. The population was 992 at the 2010 census. Garrett Park is home to Garrett Park Elementary School, located just outside the town proper.
Wheaton is a census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, situated north of Washington, D.C. and northwest of downtown Silver Spring. Wheaton takes its name from Frank Wheaton (1833–1903), a career officer in the United States Army and volunteer from Rhode Island in the Union Army who rose to the rank of major-general while serving before, during and after the Civil War.
Darnestown is a United States census-designated place (CDP) and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland. The CDP is 17.70 square miles (45.8 km2) with the Potomac River as its southern border and the Muddy Branch as much of its eastern border. Seneca Creek borders portions of its north and west sides. The Travilah, North Potomac, and Germantown census-designated places are adjacent to it, as is the city of Gaithersburg. Land area for the CDP is 16.39 square miles (42.4 km2). The Darnestown CDP has a population of approximately 6,400, while the village of Darnestown is considerably smaller in size and population. Washington, D.C. is about 25 miles (40 km) away.
North Bethesda is an unincorporated, census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just north-west of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. Among its 14 neighborhoods, the centrally-located, urbanizing district of White Flint is the commercial and residential hub of North Bethesda. The Pike & Rose development and the Pike District is an initiative of Montgomery County to brand and market this region as "North Bethesda's Urban Core". The WMATA White Flint metro station and Grosvenor-Strathmore metro station serve the region.
North Potomac is a census-designated place and unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It is located less than 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the Potomac River, and is about 20 miles (32 km) from Washington, D.C. It has a population of approximately 25,000.
Travilah is a United States census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland. It is 17.28 square miles (44.8 km2) located along the north side of the Potomac River, and surrounded by the communities of Potomac, North Potomac, and Darnestown—all census-designated places. It has a population of nearly 12,000.
McLean is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. McLean is home to many diplomats, military, members of Congress, and high-ranking government officials partially due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is the location of Hickory Hill, the former home of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. It is also the location of Salona, the former home of Light-Horse Harry Lee, the Revolutionary War hero. The community had an estimated total population of 53,673 in 2015, according to estimates prepared by the United States Census Bureau. It is located between the Potomac River and the town of Vienna. McLean is often distinguished by its luxury homes and its nearby high-profit shopping destinations: Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. The two McLean zip codes – 22101 and 22102 – are among the most expensive ZIP Codes in Virginia and the United States. In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that McLean was the 3rd wealthiest city in the United States, based on its poverty rate of 2.6% and its median household income of $190,258.
Chevy Chase is a census-designated place (CDP) in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. The population was 9,381 at the 2000 census.
Medical Center is an island-platformed Washington Metro station in Bethesda, Maryland, United States. The station was opened on August 25, 1984, and is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Providing service for the Red Line, the station serves the National Institutes of Health campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and is located at Rockville Pike and South Drive. Since there is little retail in the area and no commuter parking lot, this station is used almost exclusively by employees and visitors to those two institutions.
Wisconsin Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Washington, D.C., and its Maryland suburbs. The southern terminus begins in Georgetown just north of the Potomac River, at an intersection with K Street under the elevated Whitehurst Freeway. The section of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown was called High Street before the street names in Georgetown were changed in 1895 to conform to those of the L'Enfant plan for the federal city.
The Bethesda Trolley Trail, at one time known as the North Bethesda Trail, is a 5.9-mile (9.5 km) long rail trail from Bouic Avenue next to the Twinbrook Metro Station in the city of Rockville to Battery Lane Park in Bethesda, Maryland.
Maryland Route 355 (MD 355) is a 36.75-mile (59.14 km) north–south road in western central Maryland in the United States. The southern terminus of the route, Wisconsin Avenue, is located in the Bethesda CDP, at the Washington, D.C. border. It continues south into Washington, D.C. as Wisconsin Avenue NW. The northern terminus is just north of an overpass with Interstate 70 (I-70)/U.S. Route 40 (US 40) in the city of Frederick in Frederick County, where the road continues north as Market Street through Frederick towards MD 26.
Maryland Route 187 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. Known as Old Georgetown Road, the highway runs 5.32 miles (8.56 km) from MD 355 and MD 410 in Bethesda north to Executive Boulevard in North Bethesda. MD 187 is a four- to six-lane highway that runs parallel to MD 355 through suburban areas of southern Montgomery County. The highway was paved through Bethesda by 1910. The remainder of MD 187 was constructed in the mid- to late 1920s. The highway was relocated at its northern end and expanded to a divided highway over most of its length in the late 1960s. MD 187's interchanges with Interstate 270 (I-270) and I-495 were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, respectively; the former interchange was reconstructed in the early 2000s. The northern terminus was cut back from MD 355 to Executive Boulevard in 2016.
Charles W. Woodward High School is a former U.S. high school located in North Bethesda, Maryland, near Rockville. The building housed a middle school until the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent relocation of the school.
Seneca is an unincorporated community in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It is located near the intersection of River Road and Seneca Creek, not far from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Potomac River. Its history goes back before the American Revolutionary War and it thrived when the canal was operating—having several warehouses, mills, a store, a hotel, and a school. Fighting occurred in the area on more than one occasion during the American Civil War. The community declined as the C&O Canal declined.
The I–270 Express Line, designated as Routes J7, J9, was an express bus route that was operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority between Bethesda station of the Red Line of the Washington Metro and Lakeforest Transit Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The line operated every 25–30 minutes during rush hours only with J7 trips taking roughly 25 minutes and J9 trips roughly taking 45 minutes. The route was discontinued due to low ridership and arrival of Ride On extRa on October 2, 2017.
The Bethesda–Silver Spring Line, designated Route J1, J2, is a daily bus route operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority between Silver Spring station of the Red Line of the Washington Metro and Westfield Montgomery Transit Center. Route J1 operates in the weekday peak direction only while route J2 operates daily. J1 trips roughly takes 45 minutes while J2 trips take roughly 55 minutes.
Administrative Offices 9600 Forest Rd Bethesda, MD 20814[...]BRADLEY CAMPUS - AGE 2 THROUGH KINDERGARTEN[...]7108 Bradley Blvd., in Bethesda, MD 20817[...]FOREST ROAD CAMPUS - 5TH GRADE THROUGH 12TH GRADE[...]9600 Forest Road, Bethesda MD 20814[...]NEW PRIMARY CAMPUS - AGE 2 THROUGH 5TH GRADE[...]Address: 9650 Rockville Pike, in Bethesda, MD 20817
documents, which list Rooney as living in the capital suburb of Bethesda, Maryland...
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