Bust of the 'Homeless Mayor' – Silver Spring, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Bust of the 'Homeless Mayor'

A tribute to the beloved, kind-hearted "homeless mayor" of Silver Spring.  


Norman Lane was not your ordinary homeless man. He had his share of problems, but he also had an overwhelming amount of charm and luck. He was beloved by the local community in Silver Spring, Maryland. Many locals allowed him to sleep in the back of their shops and gave him food.

There are even rumors that Lane met President Lyndon B. Johnson while doing odd jobs around Bethesda Naval Hospital. The story goes that Lane was so charming, President Johnson sent him a signed picture.

In 1979, the popular reality TV show Real People staged a mock election where the citizens of Silver Spring were asked if they would elect Lane as their mayor. Unanimously, every person in Silver Spring who participated said they would vote for him. He was thereafter known as the homeless mayor.

Lane died eight years later, and shortly thereafter the local residents and business of Silver Spring raised money to erect a life-sized bust in his honor. In 1991 their vision was completed. The unassuming ally where the bust was erected was Lane’s favorite hangout. It is now unofficially referred to as “Mayor’s Promenade.” 

Know Before You Go

The alley is easy to miss. It is off Georgia Ave, on the side of the street where the buildings are closer together.

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