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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Montgomery Preservation, Inc., 2004
Silver Spring B & O Railroad Station
Inventory No.: M: 36-15
Date Listed: 8/31/2000
Location: 8100 Georgia Avenue (MD 97) , Silver Spring, Montgomery County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1945
Description: The Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station was designed in the Colonial Revival style and built from standardized plans developed for B&O stations in that period. The main station consists of an L-shaped hip-roofed block which is squared on the north corner by a smaller two-bay square flat-roofed block. Overall, the building is five bays by five bays, with a projecting canopy on the southwest (track-oriented) facade. The structure has an interior steel skeleton of I beams and related steel work. The walls are constructed of red brick laid in Flemish bond, with a concrete base, and limestone trim and architectural detailing. Fenestration consists of 6/6 sash windows with splayed jack arches and granite sills and keystones. Identical entrances on Georgia Avenue and the track-oriented facades feature a large door with sidelights, semi-elliptical fanlight, and a limestone surround and keystone. Aside from the Georgia Avenue entranceway, which was damaged in 1997 by an errant automobile, and the effects of deferred maintenance, the building's exterior and interior are essentially unaltered. The L-shaped main block has a hipped slate-covered roof featuring fanlight dormers on all but the track-oriented facade. An interior chimney laid in Flemish bond towers from the flat-roofed section where it abuts the north corner of the main block. The station's concrete foundation and granite thresholds lie atop the original stone-walled basement of an earlier, Gothic-styled B&O depot, demolished in 1945 to make way for the current station. The track-oriented facade to the southwest is six bays in length, with the entrance in the second bay from the southeast end. A flat-roofed canopy supported by steel beam I-girders encased in brick extends towards the tracks. On the northwest facade are a set of double doors of vertical paneled wood providing access to the baggage room, a second, narrow entrance with wood-paneled door which leads into the flat-roofed section, and one windows. The northeast facade, facing Georgia Avenue, is five bays in length, comprised of a projecting three-bay section and the two-bay flat-roofed section to the north which sets back about two feet. The entranceway, in the center of the projecting three bays, is identical to that on the track-oriented facade. The southeast facade has five identical bays consisting of windows. A fanlight dormer is centrally placed in the hip roof slopes on this side and the projecting northeast side. The interior plan of the main section consists of a large passenger waiting room taking half the floor space, and a smaller freight room, with the ticket agent's office in the center of the building, between the two large rooms. The flat-roofed section holds a gentleman's lavatory and the station master's office. A ladies lavatory stands between the waiting room and freight room on the track side of the building. The waiting room contains plaster walls, glazed terra cotta block wainscot, and a terrazzo floor. The original 1940s waiting room furniture remains in the station, as are the original recessed fluorescent lighting fixtures. Also on the property is the Eastbound Waiting Room, a five by one bay rectangular building rebuilt in the 1970s when additional tracks were laid for Metro, and a pedestrian tunnel connecting the two buildings beneath the track bed. Significance: The Silver Spring Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station is significant for its association with the transportation-related growth of Silver Spring as the key suburban connection for train and automobile traffic, and the development of Montgomery County as a suburban area with close ties to the growth of Washington, D.C. The station, which is the only 20th century railroad station in Montgomery County an done of only two 20th century B&O stations extant in Maryland, represents the evolution of Silver Spring from a small, country town centered around the railroad depot, to a major suburban transportation, retail, and residential center. Located just seven miles from the Capitol, the station served the commuter and long distance needs of suburban residents for over 50 years, and the station site represents more than 120 years of continuous passenger railroad service by the B&O, Amtrak, and MARC. The station is architecturally important as a little-altered example of standardized institutional design for railroad stations in the mid 20th century. The Colonial Revival-style station's classically simple exterior retains the hipped slate roof, fanlight dormers, and double-hung windows with granite sills and keystones of the original construction. The station's passenger waiting room contains the original recessed fluorescent lighting, modern open front ticket counter, terrazzo floor, and tubular chrome chairs from 1945, providing a rare view of how passenger railroad service was proffered during the middle of the 20th century.


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