On Sunday I had a look at the exterior of the Bell Atlantic (formerly C&P
Telephone) central office on Georgia Avenue (MD-97) in Silver Spring, MD.
Silver Spring is a Washington suburb with a heavily-developed urban
downtown, in Montgomery County.
I was interested in the facility because a pair of horns at AT&T's
Clarksville, MD microwave station appeared to point in its direction.
I saw that Silver Spring does have a single pair of horns, and they are
pointed toward Clarksville. Clarksville's other destinations seem to be
Monrovia and Randallstown, but these have not been confirmed.
The Silver Spring building is a large, red brick structure, with rows of
windows suggesting seven stories (actual number of floors may be less
because of the high ceilings in Bell System COs). My guess is that Silver
Spring was a combined local CO (Class 5) CO and toll office (Class 4),
providing an interface between local circuits and the Long Lines network.
As such, it might be similar to the Arlington 3 office, in Arlington, VA.
The rusting rooftop tower appears very old, and has a number of unusual
features. Its four legs are vertical - not angled like on most AT&T
towers. Only near the bottom do the legs flare outward. I believe AT&T
called this an "H-style" tower, while the kind with slanted legs was the
Also, the tower has two octagonal decks near the top, rather than the more
common square decks. Finally, it has spiral stairway up the middle,
instead of a ladder.
I don't know if this facility had any Cold War role, but given its location
I wouldn't be surprised if it did.