North Bethesda and North Potomac “You mean Rockville and Gaithersburg?”

July 28, 2017
Alex Tsironis
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Any time you see/hear the terms “North Bethesda” or “North Potomac” you know a “You mean Rockville/Gaithersburg?” comment is not too far behind.

So do these places actually exist or were the terms recently coined for real estate purposes?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend over a decade ago when he signed a lease for an apartment near White Flint mall for what I thought was an absurd amount of money. He told me that he could have gotten an apartment 2 miles down Rockville Pike for 1/4 of the price, but was sold on “North Bethesda.” I told him he was crazy and that it was a made up place, but he assured me that the leasing office could confirm that it’s a real place and that it has been around for quite a while.

County planners used the term North Bethesda since 1970 when making plans for the area (http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/plan_areas/bethesda_chevy_chase/master_plans/north_bethesda/bg_nbeth-gar.pdf). North Bethesda was also given clearly defined boundaries at that time. It became a census designated place in 1980 (areas like Germantown and Silver Spring are also census designated places as Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Takoma Park are the only incorporated cities in MoCo).

Is there economic reason why the name has gained far more traction in the last 5 years than in the first 40 years of its existence? Absolutely, but the name itself is nothing new and the area has had clearly defined boundaries for almost half a century.

Below is a map of North Bethesda from Google

North Potomac hasn’t been around for quite as long, though it has probably been around longer than most think. It was created in 1988, but picked up steam in the early/mid 2000s (with economic reason being very likely).

When I was living in the Kentlands, another friend of mine purchased a home a little less than a mile from me. Darnestown, Gaithersburg, AND North Potomac were all listed on the deed of his home while my condo only had Gaithersburg on the deed. So while the boundaries of North Potomac weren’t as clearly defined as the ones for North Bethesda, it has still existed since the late 80s.

Below is a map of North Potomac by Google

Final Verdict:

I really don’t understand why people seem to be bothered by North Bethesda and North Potomac, but if we’re being technical…these names have been around for quite a while (there’s even a school named North Bethesda Middle School that has been around for almost 50 years…though technically it’s located just outside the North Bethesda boundaries). Neither place receives services from the cities people want to associate them with (Rockville and Gaithersburg).

North Bethesda…perfectly fine.

North Potomac…maybe not perfectly fine, but still fine.

Side note: I recently started working in North Bethesda and began referring to it as NoBe. Unfortunately, that’s not ok 😂

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