Bethesda is an unincorporated, census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just northwest 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. 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. As an unincorporated community, Bethesda has no official boundaries.
Important medical institutions located in Bethesda include the National Institutes of Health campus, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the adjoining Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as a number of other military medical and research institutions. Other federal institutions include the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division.
The headquarters of defense conglomerate Lockheed Martin, managed health care company Coventry Health Care and hotel and resort chains Marriott International and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. are located in Bethesda. Software company Bethesda Softworks was originally located in Bethesda, but moved to Rockville, in 1990. The Discovery Channel also had its headquarters in Bethesda before relocating to Silver Spring in 2004. On the professional services side, numerous banks (PNC, Capital One Bank) brokerage firms (SmithBarney, Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, Fidelity) and law firms (Ballard Spahr, JDKatz, Paley Rothman, Lerch Early & Brewer) maintain offices in Bethesda. Bethesda has two farmers markets, the Montgomery Farm Woman’s Cooperative Market and the Bethesda Central Farmer’s Market.
Federal Realty Investment Trust has developed much of the west side of downtown Bethesda into an area called Bethesda Row. The vibrant district includes an Apple Store, an Amazon Books location,, an Anthropologie, Bethesda Bagels, a cinema, and dozens of shops and restaurants. Also located in downtown Bethesda is one of the Madonna of the Trail monuments, erected by the National Old Trails Association working in concert with the Daughters of the American Revolution; President Harry S Truman presided over the dedication of the Bethesda monument, on April 19, 1929. Nearby is the Bethesda Post Office. Also starting in the heart of downtown Bethesda, is the Capital Crescent Trail which follows the old tracks of the B&O Railroad stretching from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., to Silver Spring, MD. Walter Reed Medical Center and the Bethesda Theater are two important Art Deco architectural structures in the suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C.
Bethesda is the home of Congressional Country Club, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious private country clubs in the world. Congressional has hosted four major golf championships, including the 2011 U.S. Open, won by Rory McIlroy. The AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods, has been played at Congressional four times. Bethesda is also home of the exclusive Burning Tree Club, Bethesda Country Club, and the Bethesda Big Train, a summer collegiate baseball team.