Bethesda was named in 1871 after the Bethesda Meeting House, which was built by the Presbyterians. The name alludes to a biblical pool that had great healing power. Today people seek healing in Bethesda at the National Institutes of Health and the soothing aqua vitae available in the suburb's acclaimed restaurants and bars. Bethesda has changed from a small community into an urban destination, but in certain ways time has stood still east of Bethesda in Chevy Chase, a tony town of country clubs, stately houses, and huge trees.


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