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Downtown Bethesda Walking Tour
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This store is Bethesdas earliest surviving commercial structure and the only remaining store from before the 20th century. It was built around 1890 on the site of the old Rockville turnpike tollbooth and was originally known as Wilson's store. During Bethesda's early days, Wilson's Store also was host to the local Post Office and was Bethesda's only store, containing groceries, dry goods, hardware, and fuel. Later, the building housed the Community Paint and Hardware store. The two-story building is typical of the times commercial architecture and has commercial space on the first floor and residential space above. The building has been moved twice before, once in 1988, and once in 2017.

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Bethesda was first a crossroads, between Rockville turnpike (now MD-355) and Old Georgetown Road. Wilson's Store was constructed on the site of a tollbooth on the Rockville turnpike by Alfred Wilson, a former teacher. Stock in Wilson's store was bought in from DC by the Wilsons since no one would deliver to Bethesda. From 1895 to 1905, the store was also Bethesda's Post Office. In addition, Wilson's Store was the location of the telephone for Bethesda, the only for miles around. The store supplied wood for fires, feed for chickens, tools for farms, oil for lamps, and clothing.

In 1922, Wilson sold the store to George Bradley and in the mid-1920s, the building held Bethesda's first public library. Bradley was forced out of business in 1931 due to the Great Depression, but his clerks, the Broadhurst's assumed control of the business. It became Community Paint and Hardware until closure in 1986.

The building itself is 3 bays wide and 3 bays deep, although it was originally 9 bays deep. It is covered in stucco, which was added when Bradley took over, as stucco was popular during the time. The storefront has large plate glass windows.

In March 1988, the area around the store was redevloped into the Apex building development, and during this time, the building was cut to 3 bays and moved about 50 feet to the south. Until 2017, the building was used as a bank. In 2017, as part of demolishing the Apex building for the Purple Line, Wilson's store was moved to Middleton lane in an old parking lot.

Clare Lise Kelly, Places from the Past: The Tradition of Gardez Bien in Montgomery County, Maryland (Silver Spring, Md.: Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, 2001), 254, accessed April 1, 2021, https://montgomeryplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Places-from-the-Past-web_with_cover.pdf.

Memorandum, "Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Trusts Form, M: 35-14-7," n.d., accessed April 1, 2021, https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Montgomery/M;%2035-14-7.pdf.

Community Paint & Hardware Store, Chevy Chase Historical Society. Accessed April 1st 2021. https://chevychasehistory.pastperfectonline.com/photo/B1BCAAD8-5A20-48BA-87F9-559840389022.

Metcalf, Andrew. Historic Former Hardware Store Building Moved, Bethesda Magazine. August 21st 2017. Accessed April 1st 2021. https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/development/historic-former-hardware-store-building-moved/.