It’s Bethesda’s 150th birthday! On January 23, 1871, our community, then called Darcy’s Store, was renamed Bethesda. The then rural area had been originally called Darcy’s Store after the location of the prior post office at the counter of Mr. William E. Darcy’s general store. When a new post office was built near Darcy’s Store, the new postmaster, Robert Franck, had the community’s name officially changed to Bethesda, taking the name from the Bethesda Meeting House, a Presbyterian church that was founded in 1820.
In honor of Bethesda’s Birthday, Montgomery Municipal Cable (MMC) will be broadcasting a short special about the history of Bethesda and about the Bethesda Historical Society that was founded in 2019. We will also hear some stories from longtime Bethesda resident William Offutt, author of “Bethesda: A Social History.” You can watch the special program on Channel 16 on Comcast, Verizon and RCN at 6:30 p.m. on Bethesda’s 150th Birthday, Saturday, January 23, 2021. The program will also be available online here. The program will also repeat on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
To celebrate this special birthday, Bethesda Historical Society has organized a Bethesda Birthday Booster program for community members to join together to support Bethesda’s birthday celebration activities. Bethesda Birthday Boosters are listed on the Bethesda Historical Society website’s homepage for all of 2021 and will be publicized at planned birthday events throughout 2021. They also receive a special Birthday Booster decal to display to the public. To date, there are more than 60 Bethesda Birthday Boosters, comprised of individuals, organizations, businesses, schools, and houses of worship.
The Bethesda Historical Society, with the support of its Bethesda Birthday Boosters and other community members, has hung two enormous Happy Birthday Bethesda banners in downtown Bethesda. They are displayed on the two sides of the pedestrian bridge that crosses Old Georgetown Road between Edgemoor/Commerce Lane and Woodmont Avenue.
Programs and activities that will take place in 2021 are in the works and will focus on a variety of Bethesda history topics. These events will be publicized through the Bethesda Historical Society website and social media. The organization is always looking for new members, Birthday Boosters, volunteers, and donations of Bethesda memorabilia, visit bethesdahistoricalsoc