The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad entered Montgomery County in late 1867 buying and condemning a contiguous strip of land 66 feet wide from the District of Columbia line to Frederick County. It needed the right of way for a new rail line — The Metropolitan Branch — connecting Washington and the railroad’s main line to the north. In the vicinity of the area now known today as Silver Spring, the railroad acquired two acres from Margaret, Samuel and Edwin Cissel. The Cissels declined the company’s original offer and the railroad exercised its authority under Maryland law to set a price and seize it for $1,370.
The Metropolitan Branch opened in 1873 and by 1890 land records filed in Montgomery County included descriptions of a bridge across the tracks where the current Talbot Avenue Bridge is located. The earliest published illustration of a roadway adjacent to the Metropolitan Branch appears in a map produced by the railroad in 1890. The road appears as an unnamed route connecting Brookville Road with a road passing through James Fenwick’s 35-acre property into the District of Columbia. A subdivision called “The Pilgrim Tract” created by Kansas Senator Bishop W. Perkins and Michigan Representative Julius C. Burrows in 1890. Neither Lyttonsville nor other Perkins and Burrows subdivisions are labeled in the Metropolitan Branch map. Continue reading “145 years of bridging the Metropolitan Branch”