“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Berwyn Heights in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Washington, Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad

Washington, Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kerstin Harper, January 18, 2015
1. Washington, Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad Marker
Inscription.  The Washington Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad (WSSGRR) was a streetcar that served Berwyn Heights, 1912 – 1921. Incorporated in Maryland in 1905, WSSGRR started running from 15th and H Street, NE to Bladensburg in 1910. An extension to Riverdale and Berwyn Heights opened in 1912, using novel Edison-Beach storage battery cars.

Congressman Samuel S. Yoder invested and lost a fortune building the streetcar line, which was to spur development in Berwyn Heights, where Yoder had started buying land in late 1905. The battery-powered cars had trouble climbing “The Heights” to the terminus at 58th Avenue and Berwyn Road. WSSGRR patrons filed complaints and lawsuits because the streetcar routinely failed to carry them to their destinations past Bladensburg.

WSSGRR had difficulty becoming economically viable, as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Washington Railway & Electric Company (WRECO) served the same territory. Renamed Washington Interurban Railway in October 1912, the company foreclosed in 1915, and was purchased by WRECO in 1916. The service remained substandard and buses replaced the trolleys on the extension in 1921, and on the main trunk in 1923.
Erected 2015 by Berwyn Heights Historical Committee.
Location. 38° 59.431′ N, 76° 54.962′ W. Marker is in Berwyn Heights, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is at the intersection of Berwyn Road and 58th Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Berwyn Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5719 Berwyn Road, College Park MD 20740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Waugh Avenue (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Berwyn Heights Armed Forces Memorial (about 700 feet away); Keleher Avenue (approx. mile away); Town of Berwyn Heights (approx. mile away); Origins of Lake Artemesia (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Town of Berwyn Heights (approx. 0.3 miles away); Welcome to the Luther Goldman Birding Trail (approx. 0.3 miles away); Charlton Avenue (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berwyn Heights.
Regarding Washington, Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad. The history of the Washington, Spa Spring & Gretta Railroad is described in greater detail in a pamphlet available at the Berwyn Heights Historical Committee website (
Additional keywords. Samuel S. Yoder
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars


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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2016, by Kerstin Harper of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. This page has been viewed 163 times since then and 11 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on June 11, 2016, by Kerstin Harper of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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