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Object ID 1998.11.01
Title "The Met: A History of the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad, It's stations and towns"
Object Name Pamphlet
Author Susan Soderberg
Published Date 1998
Description "The Met: A History of the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad, It's stations and towns"
May 1998
Historic Train Wrecks
Schedules
list of stations and agents
History
suburbs

p. 8 and 9
Railroad Suburbs
In the southern part of Montgomery County the railroad not only changed the lives of the nearby residents, but also brought many new residents and created a whole new way of living. Takoma Park, Linden, Woodside, Forest Glen, Capitol View, Kensington, and Garrett Park were all part of a brand new concept in the 1880s railroad suburbs.

Before the Industrial Age the suburbs, or outskirts of the city, were where the poorer people lived. The rich and the middle class all lived in the middle of the cities, which were small and compact with everything within walking distance. It wasn't until industrialization moved the workplace out of the home and into factories and office buildings that the cities became very noisy, congested and polluted, and the value of living downtown began to be questioned. People with means wanted to move away from the center of the city, but their work was still in the city. They couldn't move very far until a faster means of transportation was invented.

The trains literally brought a breath of fresh air to people living in the cities, who now had a fast and easy way to get out of the noise and noxious gases of downtown and experience the serenity and fresh air of the countryside. Since the idea of actually living in the country and working in the city was so new, some of the first railroad suburbs were built not as bedroom communities for those working in the city, but as resort communities with summer homes. As people discovered how fast and easy train travel was, and the wives and children of city businessmen stayed longer and longer in the comfort of the country, permanent homes were built and stable communities were established in these new railroad towns. The B & 0 Railroad encouraged the establishment of these new railside towns by offering half the usual freight rate for delivery of household goods or building materials.

Speculators were planning these new communities even before the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad was completed. They bought up land around the new railroad line and laid out plots for residences, making sure to allow plenty of property for gardens for each home, and designing winding roads to retain the rural atmosphere. Some of the developers built a huge resort hotel surrounded by a large park for recreation to attract home buyers. When it became obvious that these towns were becoming popular as residential areas for commuters, speculators began planning railroad towns for the middle class as well although anything further along the line than Woodside did not appeal to the those working in regular jobs in Washington, because it was too far oul for them to get to work on time riding the train in the morning. Planned developments at Windham, Halpine, and Brown's failed for this reason.

The financial panic of 1893 and the coming of the streetcar lines in the 1890s put an end to further development of railroad suburbs, bpi I hose built in Montgomery County along the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad still exist and prosper today, and have been made into couoly historic districts.