Centerway and Crescent Road
Greenbelt, Maryland

Out of three New Deal-era green suburbs, Maryland's Greenbelt was the predominant project. This was due to its close proximity to the nation's capital. Construction cost overruns had undermined implementation of Ohio's Greenhills and Wisconsin's Greendale to some degree. Greenbelt, on the other hand, was built, pretty much, as planned.

At the core of the new garden city was GREENBELT CENTER. This facility commanded a 7.3 acre site, located 11 miles northeast of the United States Capitol. There were two main buildings in the original complex. In total area, they encompassed approximately 18,200 square feet.    

GREENBELT CENTER structures had 1 level of retail, with the movie theater including a basement heating plant. There were also small upper floor offices in each building, as well as a freestanding Police & Fire Station and Auto Repair Garage & Co-op Service Station. When fully leased, the civic and shopping hub housed around fourteen stores and services. 

The first transaction at the Greenbelt Co-op Food Store took place on December 15, 1937. This was followed by the grand openings of a Barber Shop, Beauty Shop and combination Co-op Drug and Co-op Variety Store. 

Greenbelt Theatre , a single-screen venue, showed its first feature September 21, 1938. The Valet Shop, a dry cleaner and laundry service, welcomed its first customers March 9, 1939. A relocated (and entirely separate) Co-op Variety Store began business January 10, 1941.

Greenbelt's Co-op Food Store proved so successful that it had to seek new quarters. A 2-level (20,000 square foot) structure was built adjacent to the GREENBELT CENTER East Building. It opened November 9, 1948 and was eventually expanded (to 40,000 square feet). The building was gutted by fire in early 1962. It was refurbished, with a combined Co-op Supermarket & Pharmacy opening in October of the same year.

By decree of a 1949 Congressional bill, America's three federally-owned and operated green suburbs were sold to residents or to the highest bidder. In the case of Greenbelt, the main transaction closed December 31, 1952.   

GREENBELT CENTER was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1980. It was renamed ROOSEVELT CENTER in 1982. National Historic Landmark status was bestowed in February 1997. 


Library of Congress /Prints and Photographs Online Catalog /
Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
"Prince George's County Historic Site Summary Sheet" / 1993
"To Make America Over; The Greenbelt Towns of the New Deal" / Julie D. Turner / Miami University term paper / 2010
"Historic American Buildings Survey: Old Greenbelt" / LaDale Curtis Winling and Sally Kress Tomkins / 2005
The Greenbelt News Review / "Greenbelt Theatre Proposal" / P & G Theatres, Incorporated-Paul Sanchez / December 1, 2014