North Bethesda is located just north-west of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. Among its 14 neighborhoods, the centrally-located, urbanizing district of White Flint is the commercial and residential hub of North Bethesda. The WMATA White Flint metro station and Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station serve the region. Four of the National Institutes of Health as well as other federal agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, are headquartered in North Bethesda. A number of corporate headquarters are headquartered in North Bethesda, as well as nonprofits such as the American Kidney Fund, the Society of American Foresters and United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The region is also known for a number of its long-standing institutions, such as the Neo-Georgian Mansion at Strathmore and the Georgetown Preparatory School. The Music Center at Strathmore is also located in North Bethesda.
North Bethesda shares a common history with most of its Montgomery County neighbors. Archaeological evidence suggests that Paleo, Archaic, and Woodland Native Americans lived nearby, along the banks of the Potomac River. These peoples traveled along an ancient route known as the Seneca Trail (which is today approximately followed in North Bethesda by Old Georgetown Road). Like many ancient roads, the Seneca Trail followed a ridge line – in this case, the high ground between the Potomac River and Rock Creek. Much later, development would spring up along this route. The recorded history of the area commences with the colonial era. Settlements formed along Rock Creek and the Seneca Trail in the 17th Century, with recorded land grants in this area known originally as “Dan” and “Leeke Forest.” The far southern edge of the North Bethesda CDP was originally the country estate of the Grosvenor family, whose lineage includes Alexander Graham Bell and a former President of the National Geographic Society. That region continues to bear the family’s name, and is the location of the headquarters of the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation. Also in the southern sector of the census designated area, located in the triangle between the two limbs of I-270 and I-495, is a business district that includes several corporate and government agency headquarters.