Story of the Woodlin Wizard Weather Vane

By Phil Termini

Skip back to end of the school year 2002. What happened to the Woodlin Wizards weather vane on the cupola atop our elementary school? It seems to have vanished! Bummer, “the pump don’t work cuz the vandals took the handle.”

My and my wife Patricia’s son Tony was finishing his last year there, and our two daughters attended there as well. So I got the notion to try to do something as a tribute for the school and the wonderful principal, Emily Kesser, like making a new weather vane to replace the one taken by the vandals. Having been around the block a few times in my youth, I had an idea. Signs went up around the area offering a no-questions-asked $100 cash reward for the weather vane’s return or its simply being put in our yard. Wishful thinking. No takers. These kids today don’t need any money. Too affluent a neighborhood, I suppose.

I learned that the Woodlin PTA was instrumental in getting the first Wizard weather vane made by a local metal artist, David Hubbard. I visited David and lo and behold, he still had the original full-size drawing of our Wizard. Piece of cake!! I got ahold of some stainless steel sheet metal and started cutting and welding. Metalwork is one of my hobbies—go-carts and minibikes and such. When I installed this new Wizard on top of the school—completely ignoring what the school maintenance staff said to me about going up on the roof (it’s my nature)—where it now lives, I got advice from metalworkers on how to install it in such a way as to make it just about impossible to steal again. One-way screws and a detent in the shaft did the security trick. I may have to go back up there to remove it for the rebuild if the contractors and construction personnel can’t handle it. What a fine old Wizard we have. I hope the new school has a spot planned for it.

Beacon Editor’s note: Woodlin Elementary School’s PTA President reports that the school’s cupola (including the weather vane) is to be incorporated into a “learning lawn” that will face Luzerne Ave.

Presentation on Historic Homes in Lyttonsville and North Woodside

A historic home in North Woodside

Graduate students in the University of Maryland’s Historic Preservation program have spent the last semester researching the history of eleven houses in Lyttonsville and North Woodside (and one in Woodside).

You are cordially invited to attend the capstone presentation of this historic house and local community research project, which will take place on Wednesday, December 15th at 7 pm, at Woodlin Elementary School. The students will give brief presentations on the histories of each of the twelve houses in the larger context of the history of these communities, with an emphasis on the most useful historic resources for conducting house histories. This event is sponsored by the Talbot Avenue Bridge Committee.*

Location information:
Woodlin Elementary School (cafeteria/multi-purpose room)            
2101 Luzerne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910            
Note: Use entrance at left side of building (next to school parking lot)

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Masks will be required, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of the event).

Questions?  Contact the Talbot Avenue Bridge Committee

* This activity is not sponsored by, associated with, or endorsed by Montgomery County Public Schools or Montgomery County Government.

Historical Maps of North Woodside

North Woodside in 1929. Source of Map: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Some links to a bunch of historical maps that show North Woodside in its younger days  (zoom in just above the northern tip of DC to where it says “Woodside”)

  • 1891 (year after our neighborhood was established)
  • 1893 (shows the neighborhood lies ~7.5 miles from White House)
  • 1917 (shows bridge that preceded the historic Talbot Avenue Bridge, built in 1918 and demolished in 2019) Note: if you live in one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood you should be able to find your house on this one.
  • 1918
  • 1924
  • 1929 (#1)
  • 1929 (#2) Note: many more neighbors should be able to find their houses on this one — particularly those living in bungalows and Sears Kit houses on Grace Church, Hanover, Glen Ross, Luzerne, and 2nd.

So interesting to imagine what this area looked like back then. Very little development and no Beltway yet!

Farewell Woodside Deli

The original Woodside Deli on Georgia Ave—a much-loved neighborhood institution for 72 years—closed suddenly in early October due to a disagreement with the landlord on renewing the lease. Many neighbors expressed shock and sadness over the closing on the neighborhood email list. A Woodside Deli memory from a long-time neighborhood resident:

When I lost to Doug Duncan in the 1994 Democratic primary for County Executive, he was nervous about who I might support in the November general election. The Republican nominee was a smart, popular elected official (in those times, the County GOP was a real player—we had Republican Councilmembers and our Congresswoman was Republican) and Doug ran poorly in this area of the County.

So after the primary election we met at the Woodside Deli to discuss specific issues we differed on, the coming campaign, and my potential endorsement. The Woodside was a popular spot for politicians and reporters alike and remained so to its very unfortunate demise. Just yesterday (October 10), I got an e-mail from a prominent reporter saying, “ Oh no, now where can we meet and talk over breakfast?”

I shall miss the Woodside mightily.

— Gus Bauman

Farewell to a Historic Bridge

Talbot Avenue Bridge Candlelight Vigil, on eve of the century-old bridge’s final closure before demolition.

On June 4, 2019, the Purple Line Transit Constructors closed and began demolition of the historic wood and steel Talbot Avenue Bridge. Built in 1918 from an overturned train turntable from West Virginia, the century-old Bridge was the last remaining historically-significant structure of the historically African-American community of Lyttonsville, founded in 1853 by free man of color Samuel Lytton. Originally two-lane, the Bridge served as a lifeline to Lyttonsville residents through a significant portion of the 20th Century, when Silver Spring was very starkly racially segregated and ~50 neighborhoods in Silver Spring, including North Woodside, had racially restrictive deed covenants that prohibited African Americans from owning property or living in them, except as domestic servants. In recent years, current and former Lyttonsville residents have shared visceral memories of racial bigotry they experienced in North Woodside, and how they viewed efforts by North Woodside residents to permanently close the Bridge in the 1990s as racially-motivated.

A year ago, Lyttonsville, North Woodside, and Rosemary Hills neighbors came together to organize the Talbot Avenue Bridge Centennial Celebration at which NWCA President David Cox presented a unanimously-passed NWCA Board resolution acknowledging and strongly denouncing racial bigotry in all its forms, past and present. North Woodside is the first (and only so far) neighborhood in Montgomery County—and one of only a few in the U.S.—to publicly acknowledge and denounce racist deed covenants of the past. Read the resolution in full and view its presentation.

Over the past year, neighbors connected by the Bridge have continued to collaborate, organizing a number of Bridge-related social and educational community events. At sunset on the eve of the Bridge’s closing community members gathered on the Bridge one last time for a Candlelight Vigil to mark this transition and enjoy a final moment in the historic space.

On July 5, 2019, a small crowd gathered for the much anticipated lifting of the Bridge’s steel girders. The girders are currently being stored by the County, along with other saved parts, for eventual placement along the Capitol Crescent Trail in a new County park that will be created in Lyttonsville following Purple Line construction.

For photos, videos and more info about Talbot Avenue Bridge events this past year, go to: talbotbridge100.org (click on “Events”).

Thanks to all neighbors, too numerous to list, who have contributed in one way or another to Bridge-related events this past year!

For more information about the history Talbot Avenue Bridge and racial segregation in Silver Spring, watch Silver Spring: A Sundown Suburb in the Capital’s Gateway, a presentation by public historian David Rotenstein or check out his collection of writings on the the topic.

On June 13, 2019, County Executive Marc Elrich presented Montgomery County Civic Federation’s Wayne Goldstein Award to the Talbot Avenue Bridge Centennial Committee for their work for racial reconciliation and preservation of elements of this historic bridge to educate future generations about segregation in Montgomery County’s history: Alan Bowser, Marcie Stickle, George French, Charlotte Coffield*, Joel Teitelbaum†, Pat Tyson*, Elmoria Stewart*, Merrie Blocker‡, Eva Santorin†, Anna White‡. Not pictured: David Rotenstein, Laura Hussey. *Lifelong resident of Lyttonsville; †Rosemary Hills resident; ‡North Woodside resident