Since You Asked: July-August 2012

Since You Asked: July-August 2012

Questions and answers about the Bethesda area.

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What is the oldest restaurant in Bethesda?
—A reader from Olney

The Tastee Diner on Woodmont Avenue has been in business since 1935, making it the oldest restaurant identified by Ginanne Italiano, president of The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce.

On the Beltway, just to the north and west of the Connecticut Avenue interchange, there’s a field studded with small poles or tubes. It’s been there for years. What is it?
—A reader from Silver Spring

Each of the 634 plastic tubes on that field is protecting a tree—an 18-inch sapling, to be precise. The trees were planted by the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) in 2010 as part of the agency’s plan to replace trees lost to the construction of the Intercounty Connector (ICC), MSHA spokeswoman Lora Rakowski says. The ICC is an 18.8-mile highway connecting Interstate 95 in Laurel to I-370 in Gaithersburg.

Photo by Stephen WalkerThe 1-acre field at the Connecticut Avenue interchange is among 19 acres of similar sapling fields along the Beltway and I-270, and among 500 total acres of saplings and larger trees planted on sites stretching from Clarksburg to Bowie, Rakowski says. The tubes at the site near Connecticut Avenue will be removed in a few years, when the trees have grown taller.


Who was Father Hurley of Father Hurley Boulevard in Germantown?
—A reader from Chevy Chas

Father Leonard Hurley, 81, founded Mother Seton Parish in Germantown in 1974, and was instrumental in building a sense of community in what was then a tiny, but fast-growing community, according to Susan Soderberg, president of the Germantown Historical Society.

In 1976, Hurley co-founded the Germantown Alliance to address community needs. The partnership of business owners, church leaders, governmental officials and residents still exists, Soderberg says.

Hurley started Mother Seton Parish in a two-bedroom bungalow. The congregation moved to other sites in the community as it grew, landing at its current location in 1981 on what was then known as Germantown Drive.

When Hurley was reassigned in 1987—the same year construction was scheduled to extend Germantown Drive to I-270—the congregation successfully lobbied the Montgomery County Planning Board to rename the road for him, Soderberg says.

Hurley now serves as chaplain at the Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, D.C.

Have a question you’d like answered about someone or something in the Bethesda area? Or know of a restaurant in Bethesda older than the Tastee Diner? Email Please include your name and the city in which you live.

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