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

Snow Patrol: Seeking Members and Shovelers!

According to Montgomery County law, all sidewalks need to be cleared within 24 hours of snowfall, even when you’re out of town. When a neighbor isn’t able to manage this on their own, the neighborhood “Snow Patrol” is available to help out.

Would you like to be part of the snow patrol for our community? You don’t need to do the actual shoveling, but rather reach out to neighbors whose walks are not cleared to see if they are okay and if they need assistance. If you don’t know them personally, figure out who does and can contact them quickly to get this information.

If assistance is needed, we can connect them with neighbors willing to shovel for free or for hire.

Please let us know if you would like to join the patrol and/or if you would like to be added to the list of people willing to shovel sidewalks for neighbors, as an unpaid service or for hire. Neighborhood kids and others with strong backs strongly encouraged to volunteer!

And, of course, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are in need of snow shoveling assistance.

*For more info: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safesidewalks/faq.html

Talbot Avenue Bridge Design and Traffic Mitigation

Courtesy Purple Line

The traffic committee has made some headway on the Talbot Avenue Bridge design issue—the fencing will now be faux-wrought iron backed by chain-link over CSX tracks (two-thirds) and by plexiglass over Purple Line tracks (one-third). Previous designs featured plexiglass across the entire bridge and, later, only chain link over the CSX tracks. Note: The plexiglass and chain link in the current design are elements required by Purple Line and CSX standards.

We are also working with Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills to set up traffic mitigation discussions with Montgomery County Department of Transportation for when the new Talbot Bridge opens. Stay tuned for future meeting notices.

Neighbors who are interested in working on the Traffic and Safety Committee on these and other traffic/pedestrian safety issues can contact the co-chairs.

Block Parties

In September 2019, Luzerne Avenue hosted its Annual Labor Day Block party with a parade and festivities—a beloved North Woodside tradition for thirty years that always has a great turnout of kids and families. This year several residents of the 2000 block of Luzerne organized the event, including Genevieve McDowell Owen, Cheryl Copeland and Susanna Drayne.

The annual parade of kids riding their bikes and scooters down the street started the afternoon. The popular baking competition followed, with a line stretching almost to the street full of people eagerly awaiting to try the sweet treats. Eileen O’Connor’s gooey chocolate bars won the popular vote in the adult division, and Bridget Drayne won first place in the kid division for her chocolate cake.

After the bake-off, the day continued with the sticky fun jell-o fight, which is always a big hit with the younger kids. Then the talent show commenced with many little children singing their hearts out. The day ended with the potluck cookout hosted by the Dirksens on the corner of Glen Ridge and Luzerne. Overall the day was a rousing success, creating many fun and happy memories, and ended summer 2019 well.

— Ellie Owen

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

2nd Montgomery Hills Street Fest Bring Community Together

By Geoff Gerhardt

The second annual Montgomery Hills Street Fest took place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 on Columbia Boulevard. The Street Fest attracted more than 1,000 residents of the communities along Georgia Avenue for an afternoon of live music, local food, diverse vendors, and socializing.

Silver Spring brewery Denizens provided a selection of local beer and wide range of artisans, including North Woodside painter Gavin McSkean, sold art, jewelry and other handcrafts. Musical acts included Suzanne Brindamour, the Einstein High School Jazz Combo, and the Airport 77s.

The Street Fest also provided an opportunity to learn about initiatives underway to improve the Georgia Avenue corridor. The Montgomery County Planning Department discussed the draft sector plan update for the area, Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills answered questions about the state’s plan for improving Georgia Avenue, and local politicians pressed the flesh while giving their perspective on the future of Montgomery Hills.

Local elected officials in attendance included Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative Jamie Raskin, County Executive Marc Elrich, as well as county council members Tom Hucker, Hans Reimer and Evan Glass. Members of the Maryland state assembly such as Jeff Waldstreicher and Emily Shetty also gave short speeches and talked with residents.

The Street Fest could not happen without volunteers to organize and staff the event. Many thanks to the North Woodside residents who generously volunteered their time and energy at this year’s Fest. Special thanks go out to North Woodside residents Heather Lair, Genevieve McDowell Owen, and Melinda Schnare who were part of the organizing team. If you are interested in helping to organize or volunteer at next year’s Street Fest, contact the organizers.

Woody Brosnan Recognized as “Dedicated Community Leader”

County Executive Marc Elrich and Council Member Evan Glass presented longtime neighborhood leader Woody Brosnan with a proclamation on August 20, 2019 to recognize his dedication of countless hours for the betterment of Montgomery County and its residents, including through his service as NWCA President, member of the Presidents Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations (Prezco), and as a founding member of Safe Silver Spring. In these roles, he has been “an advocate for common sense solutions in the community and [played] an important role in bridging differences among his neighbors.”