Bethesda MD Homes for Sale
Bethesda is a census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, just northwest of the United States capital of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem‘s Pool of Bethesda. (In Aramaic, ܒܝܬ ܚܣܕܐ beth ḥesda means “House of Mercy” and in Hebrew, בית חסד “beit ḥesed” means “House of Kindness”.) The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, as are a number of corporate and government headquarters.
Bethesda is one of the most affluent and highly educated communities in the United States. In 2014 it placed first in Forbes list of America’s most educated small towns and first on Time’s list of top earning towns.
As an unincorporated area, Bethesda has no official boundaries. The United States Census Bureau defines a census-designated place named Bethesda whose center is located at . The United States Geological Survey has defined Bethesda as an area whose center is at , slightly different from the Census Bureau’s definition. Other definitions are used by the Bethesda Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service (which defines Bethesda to comprise the zip codes 20810, 20811, 20813, 20814, 20815, 20816, and 20817), and other organizations. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the community had a total population of 63,374. Most of Bethesda’s residents are in Maryland Legislative District 16.
Bethesda is situated along a major thoroughfare that was originally the route of an ancient Native American trail. Henry Fleet, an English fur trader, was the first European to travel to the area, which he reached by sailing up the Potomac River. After staying for two years with the Piscataway tribe—either as a guest or prisoner—he returned to England, spoke of potential riches in fur and gold, and won funding for another North American expedition.
Most early settlers in Maryland were tenant farmers who paid their rent in tobacco. The extractive nature of tobacco farming meant that colonists continued to push farther north in search of fertile land, and in 1694 Henry Darnell surveyed a 710-acre area that became the first land grant in present-day Bethesda. Rural tobacco farming was the primary way of life in Bethesda throughout the 1700s; while the establishment of Washington D.C. in 1790 deprived Montgomery County of Georgetown, its economic center, the event had little effect on the small farmers throughout Bethesda.
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