Silver Spring, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland
Census-designated place
Clockwise from top: AFI Silver, Veteran's Plaza and the civic building, Downtown Silver Spring from the Metro station, Acorn Park, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station
Clockwise from top: AFI Silver, Veteran's Plaza and the civic building, Downtown Silver Spring from the Metro station, Acorn Park, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station
Location of Silver Spring, Maryland
Location of Silver Spring, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°0′15″N 77°1′8″W / 39°0′15″N 77°1′8″W / 39.00417; -77.01889
Country United States of America
State Maryland
County Montgomery
Area
 • Total7.92 sq mi (20.5 km2)
 • Land7.92 sq mi (20.5 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation341 ft (104 m)
Population (2013[1])
 • Total76,716
 • Density9,022.9/sq mi (3,483.8/km2)
Time zoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes20901, 20902, 20903, 20904, 20905, 20906, 20910
Area code(s)301, 240
FIPS code24-72450
GNIS feature ID0591290
HighwaysI-495, US 29, MD 97, MD 193, MD 390, MD 410

Silver Spring is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located inside the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 76,716 according to 2013 estimates by the United States Census Bureau, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.[2] Silver Spring consists of the following neighborhoods: Downtown Silver Spring, East Silver Spring, Woodside, Woodside Park, North Hills Sligo Park, Long Branch, Montgomery Knolls, Franklin Knolls, Indian Spring Terrace, Indian Spring Village, Clifton Park Village, New Hampshire Estates, Oakview, and Woodmoor.

The urbanized, oldest, and southernmost part of Silver Spring is a major business hub that lies at the north apex of Washington, D.C. As of 2004, the Central Business District (CBD) held 7,254,729 square feet (673,986 m2) of office space, 5216 dwelling units and 17.6 acres (71,000 m2) of parkland. The population density of this CBD area of Silver Spring was 15,600 per square mile all within 360 acres (1.5 km2) and approximately 2.5 square miles (6 km2) in the CBD/downtown area.[3]The community has recently undergone a significant renaissance, with the addition of major retail, residential, and office developments.

Silver Spring takes its name from a mica-flecked spring discovered there in 1840 by Francis Preston Blair, who subsequently bought much of the surrounding land. Acorn Park, tucked away in an area of south Silver Spring away from the main downtown area, is believed to be the site of the original spring.[4][5]

Geography

The boundaries of the Silver Spring CDP (in dark orange) as of 2010

As an unincorporated area, Silver Spring's boundaries are not officially defined. As of the 2010 Census the United States Census Bureau defines Silver Spring as a census-designated place with a total area of 7.92 square miles (20.5 km2), all land; however, it does contain numerous creeks and small lakes. This definition is a 15% reduction from the 9.4 sq. mi. used in previous years. The United States Geological Survey locates the center of Silver Spring at 38°59′26″N 77°1′35″W / 38.99056°N 77.02639°W / 38.99056; -77.02639, notably some distance from the Census Bureau's datum. By another definition, Silver Spring is located at 39°0′15″N 77°1′8″W / 39°0′15″N 77°1′8″W / 39.00417; -77.01889 (39.004242, -77.019004).[6] The definitions used by the Silver Spring Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, etc., are all different, each defining it for its own purposes.

Residents of a large swath of South-Eastern Montgomery County have Silver Spring mailing addresses. This area extends roughly from the Washington, D.C., Prince George's County, Maryland and Howard County, Maryland lines to the west, north and east, and Rock Creek Park and Players Mill Road to the west and north-west. This postal code even includes nearby towns such as Four Corners, Wheaton, Glenmont, Forest Glen, Aspen Hill, Hillandale, White Oak, Colesville, Colesville Park, Cloverly, Calverton, Briggs Chaney, Greencastle, Northwood Park, Sunset Terrace, Fairland, Lyttonsville, and Kemp Mill. Surprisingly, even a tiny portion of the Langley Park and Adelphi neighborhoods have Silver Spring Zip Codes, though they are in Prince George's County. These boundaries make Silver Spring larger in area than any city in Maryland except for Baltimore. Some notable landmarks are the world headquarters of Discovery Communications, the AFI Silver Theatre, the NOAA headquarters, the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the headquarters of the US Food and Drug Administration,[7] and the national headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Downtown Silver Spring in February 2005, as seen from downtown Bethesda

Parks and recreation

Acorn Park, site of the "silver spring"

Rock Creek Park passes along the west side of Silver Spring, and offers hiking trails, picnic grounds, and bicycling on weekends, when its main road, Beach Drive, is mostly closed to motor vehicles.

Sligo Creek Park follows Sligo Creek through Silver Spring; it offers hiking trails, tennis courts, playgrounds and bicycling. The latter is facilitated on weekends, when parts of Sligo Creek Parkway are closed to automobiles. The bike trails are winding and slower than most in the region. Recently, rocks have been spread along either side of the road, providing a hazardous bike ride, or skating leisure.

Acorn Park in the downtown area of Silver Spring is believed to be the site of the eponymous "silver spring".

The 14.5-acre (59,000 m2) Jesup Blair Park was recently renovated and features a soccer field, tennis courts, basketball courts, and picnic area.[8]

Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre (20 ha) park within Wheaton Regional Park, in "greater" Silver Spring. It is located on the original site of Stadler Nursery (now in Laytonsville, Maryland).

Northwest Branch Park is a 700-acre (280 ha) park surrounding the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River.[9] The park includes hiking, equestrian, and cycling trails on the Northwest Branch and Rachel Carson Greenway Trails. This park is part of Silver Spring and extends farther within Montgomery County. Note that the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail is named after Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and former resident of Silver Spring.[10]

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