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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Modern Banking

Landmark Architecture

 

—Silver Spring Georgia Avenue Heritage Trail —

 
Modern Banking Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
1. Modern Banking Marker
Inscription. The 1958 Perpetual Building Association office at 8700 Georgia Avenue is the finest example of Mid-Century Modern architecture in Silver Spring. The University of Maryland study Modern Movement in Maryland extols Perpetual as a "pristine and superior example of the statewide and national output of the Bank Building and Equipment Corporation of America...one of the best examples of commercial modernism from the 1950s in the Mid- Atlantic region."

Designed by BB & EC and leading Washington, D.C. architect Robert O. Scholz, Perpetual's glass, limestone, and Carnelian granite exterior symbolized permanence and protection of depositors' funds. This landmark building's construction marked the birth of Silver Spring as a suburban financial center. Its presence attracted additional banking establishments to the intersection of Georgia Avenue an Cameron Street, culminating in The Evening Star dubbing the corner in 1961 as "...fast becoming Silver Spring's Little Wall Street..."

Perpetual was founded in 1881 in Washington D.C. by the St. George's Society a group of poker-playing Englishmen who pooled their resources to help members purchase new homes in the nation's capital. Perpetual's long-lived success was pioneered and nurtured by President Edward C. Baltz.

With the motto "Dedicated to
Modern Banking Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
2. Modern Banking Marker
Thrift," Perpetual evolved into the Washington area's largest savings and loan, and for nearly two decades the nation's largest. It was the first S&L to provide loans to African-Americans to purchase homes in any neighborhood, and the first (1970) to appoint an African American to its board, William S. Harps.
 
Erected 2013 by The Silver Spring Historical Society.
 
Location. 38° 59.848′ N, 77° 1.796′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of Georgia Avenue (Maryland Route 97) and Camron Street when traveling south on Georgia Avenue. Click for map. Marker is on the northwest corner of Camron Street and Georgia Avenue, just south of the SunTrust bank at 8700 Georgia Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8700 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 24-Hour Service (here, next to this marker); Building Blocks (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Silver Opportunity (about 800 feet away); Silver Spring in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington
Opening 1958 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
3. Opening 1958
Perpetual's opening was announced in this January 12, 1958 Evening Star half-page advertisement. A unique feature of this "public-spirited institution" was a civic auditorium. A "Sputnik"-styled clock still adorns the two-story bank hall.
Close-up of image on marker
(Star Collection, DC Public Library, Washington Post)
(approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Silver Spring Shopping Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Silver Spring Armory (approx. 0.3 miles away); Springing Up (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Silver Spring.
 
Also see . . .  Perpetual Building Association Silver Spring Branch. report by EHT Traceries, Inc. (Submitted on July 22, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansIndustry & Commerce
 
E Street flagship image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
4. E Street flagship
The progressive design of Perpetual's flagship office served as the model for the Silver Spring branch. Opened to much fanfare in 1953 at 1111 E Street NW, Washington D.C., It was incomprehensibly razed in 1990.
Close-up of photo on marker
(Circa 1957 BB & EC advertisement photo.
Silver Spring Historical Society Collection)
Branding and Branching image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
5. Branding and Branching
BB & EC's Motto was "Creators of America's Outstanding Office Buildings." Pioneers incorporate "branding" and "branching" it partnered with Perpetual and used unified architectural design to represent the banking business.
Close-up of photo on marker
(Walter Gates photo, March 4, 1961.
Evening Star Collection, DC Public Library, The Washington Post)
Robert O.Scholtz image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
6. Robert O.Scholtz
(1895-1978), master architect and builder, designed D.C.'s Alban Towers (1928) and Virginia's Arlington Forest Subdivision (1939), both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He also designed numerous historically designated Art Deco Buildings. Scholz served on Perpetual's Board if Directors for decades.
Close-up of photo on marker
Washington Post
William S. Harps image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
7. William S. Harps
(1916-2009) was the first African-American president American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (1960), member D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment (1963), and president Washington Board of Realtors (1976).
Close-up of photo on marker
Chase Photo, Evening Star, Washington Post
Camron Street Elevation image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
8. Camron Street Elevation
Perpetual's Cameron Street Elevation features unique trapezoidal-shaped windows on the ground floor encased in Carnelian granite with Indiana limestone ornamentation. "Geometric modernist" in design, Perpetual presents four monumental facades wrapped in stone, and it National Register eligible.
SunTrust Bank<b> image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
9. SunTrust Bank
8700 Georgia Avenue
SunTrust Bank Building image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
10. SunTrust Bank Building
From the rear parking lot
Knock on Wood Tap Studio<br>Tappers with Attitude image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
11. Knock on Wood Tap Studio
Tappers with Attitude
Map -- You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
12. Map -- You Are Here
Close-up of map on adjacent "24-Hour Service" marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 612 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   10, 11, 12. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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