Thursday, October 10, 2013

You can't go home again if they changed the roads...

Recently, I saw a link about the movie, Lilith. It's a 1964 movie starring Warren Beatty that was partly filmed in the town of Rockville, MD which was where I lived for the greatest portion of my life.  Right away I was struck about how much at changed in 50 years  since the movie, and all at various times. To start with the mental hospital (Chestnut Lodge) , that was  depicted (but not shown) in the movie, has been closed (apparently the main lodge burned down) and the land  turned into a housing development/ Of course, much of the old Rockville town center depicted in the movie was demolished in the late 1960's. And going from that beginning, I discovered that the Giant  grocery store next to my house, that was once busy, has now been closed. (I haven't been there in few years).

The infamous Rockville Mall in the distance under construction with the old Rockville library  on the immediate left.

Rockville, MD. is in Montgomery County, a  prosperous suburb of Washington, D.C.  Rockville is far enough away from downtown D.C (15 miles) that till recently, farmland still existed in it's environs.  Since WWII , Montgomery County has been quite a rich county, largely recession proof due to it's proximity to the federal government and it's well educated workforce that comes from all over the country and the world.  Partly due to the availability of  sections   of  undeveloped or partly undeveloped land in most  of the county, there has been a constant flow of development and redevelopment  all through out  the post war period.  Thus, many of the streets, plots, buildings, highways, in Rockville have all been redeveloped since I first moved there in 1972. I moved there from a residential district in Northwest Washington D.C.called Chevy Chase. I lived in Chevy Chase in the 1960's.

Back where I used to live in Chevy Chase D.C.things haven't really changed that much, I can still visit the neighborhood I first lived in the 1960's and find many places haven't changed,my old house and  street are  the same, my church, is mostly the same , the old red brick elementary school that I attended was renovated and added too but still similar on the outside, the last time I looked the library was the same, the local grocery stores slightly renovated but similar, and  the road patterns are the same.

But ,The Rockville of 1960's is nearly almost un-findable today,  They blew up the downtown to build the Rockville Mall in the early 1970's and the renovated the mall a couple times before demolishing it. In recent years they restored some of the streets that were taken away to build the mall.

The main library was rebuilt, my elementary school built in the 1960's entirely rebuilt, the main shopping strip on Rockville Pike has been  redeveloped constantly. The main highway through Rockville, was widened to become a 12 lane parking lot.  One of the  main roads into town, Montrose Road was redirected in the 1990's. Another road,  the Wootton Parkway was slowly built as sort of a town beltway. Over time all the little bits of open land around  where I lived became developed.

Granted the area still looks nice because there is considerable parkland, and green space, but it has changed. One of the changes for the better in my immediate neighborhood, is that the trees are all mature, when I moved most of the trees were new.

Every time I go back to Rockville , I feel more and more like Thomas Hardy, or R.E.M or Bon Jovi or somebody....

Rockshire Development 1970, right before my house was built.

A closeup on the same spot after development
Related Posts at Felpin's Pond  : What happened to Roy Rogers Restaurants. What happened to Roy Rogers restaurants?

A history of Rockshire A history of Rockshire

I remember Chevy Chase

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