Our association’s area was one of the nation’s first commuter suburbs, developed when trolley cars began running on Connecticut Avenue NW in 1892 to Chevy Chase. The Chevy Chase Arcade was one of the first indoor malls in the United States.
Last week, we learned these and other facts about of our section of the city from members of Historic Chevy Chase DC, which was founded in 1990.
The group’s Carl Lankowski introduced speakers who described the group’s projects. Richard Teare spoke about an effort to photograph and document the area’s original homes and structures. Evelyn Wrin and Jordan Benderly discussed house plaques that display the construction date of local homes.
Keene Taylor reported on a recent walking tour of Chevy Chase, D.C., which attracted more than 50 people to learn about the oldest parts of the neighborhood. It was part of Cultural Tourism DC’s annual WalkingTown DC program. Future tours are being planned.
Historic Chevy Chase DC’s Joan Janshego described an oral history project that interviews longtime residents about growing up in Chevy Chase. The group’s “History Now!” project tells stories about neighborhood institutions, traditions and the like.
Kirk Flack and Cate Atkinson spoke about the House History project, which collects stories about local houses and their occupants. For example, Gen. John J. Pershing lived in the neighborhood on an estate named Highwood. A marker for the house can be seen near Rittenhouse Street NW. Earlier this year, historian Mitchell Yockelson discussed his book on Pershing in a speaker series sponsored by Historic Chevy Chase DC.
Chas Cadwell spoke about the kit house project, which has gathered information on hundreds of kit houses that were ordered from catalogs and built in our area in the 1920s and 1930s. An inventory will soon be available at historicchevychasedc.org.
On another subject, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G (Chevy Chase) has scheduled two public meetings with D.C. officials about the future of the Chevy Chase Community Center, which is slated for renovations in the coming years. The first one, focusing on possible uses of the site, will be held next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the center, located at Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW. The second, at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, will involve funding issues.
— Jory Barone