In 1840, Francis Preston Blair, along with his daughter Elizabeth, discovered a “mica-flecked” spring near Washington D.C. (Mica is a type of mineral that flakes easily and is known for its glittery silver color.) He liked the location so much that he bought the surrounding land and created a summer home for his family which he called “Silver Spring.” The city of Silver Spring, Maryland took its name from Blair’s estate. Acorn Park, tucked away in an area of south Silver Spring away from the main downtown area, is believed to be the site of the original spring. Francis Preston Blair (1791 – 1876) was an American journalist and politician. His son, Montgomery, served as Postmaster General in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet.
The region grew to considerable size and importance at the end of the 19th century when the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opened its Metropolitan Branch in 1873, which spanned from Washington, D.C. to Point of Rocks, MD — running through Silver Spring.
Since its founding, the city has grown in population and become an extension of the nation’s capital while still developing its own identity.