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guest post: Clare Lise Kelly

Weller’s Dry Cleaning (1960) Fenton and Thayer Streets, Silver Spring

courtesy Silver Spring Singular


Montgomery Modern

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.

courtesy Silver Spring Singular


Thanks to the Silver Spring Historical Society for the historical data. For more on this resource, check out Silver Spring Singular.

Montgomery Modern explores mid-century modern buildings and communities that reflect the optimistic spirit of the post-war era in Montgomery County, Maryland. From International Style office towers to Googie style stores and contemporary tract houses, Montgomery Modern celebrates the buildings, technology, and materials of the Atomic Age, from the late 1940s through the 1960s. A half century later, we now have perspective to appreciate these resources as a product of their time.

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