guest post: Clare Lise Kelly
Weller’s Dry Cleaning (1960) Fenton and Thayer Streets, Silver Spring
Built in 1960, this modernist structure is a great example of what is popularly known as Googie architecture. Defining features include a canted roofline and brightly colored porcelain panels—and a space age sign that looks right out of a George Jetson scene.
Incised in a brick is the name of the architect, Ted Englehardt (1898-1980), founder and first president of the Potomac Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The building is still owned by Charlie Weller who is in his 90s. This resource is not listed on the Locational Atlas or designated on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
But it is identified as a potentially eligible for historic designation in the 2002 survey of Silver Spring CBD resources.
Wellers Dry Cleaning has only recently turned 50 – the guideline for considering a building historic (note that we’re talking buildings, not people!).
A longtime planner tells me that we made the county restore the sign to its location when it was moved for Fenton Street streetscape project.
Thanks to the Silver Spring Historical Society for the historical data. For more on this resource, check out Silver Spring Singular.
Every time I go by this building I revive my fantasy of buying it and turning it into a cool cafe with an outdoor patio. All mid-century modern, of course…and in a heartbeat rip off the restaurant Rocket to Venus in baltimore’s hampden neighborhood. Great place. http://www.rockettovenus.com/index.cfm?page=gallery§ion=restaurant