Chevy Chase Citizens Association: Nov. 8, 2017

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The development at 5333 Connecticut Ave. NW was controversial in the Chevy Chase community. (Brian Kapur/The Current/July 2017)

Our monthly public meeting next Tuesday evening will feature the organization Historic Chevy Chase DC. The group’s mission is “to promote the architecture and history of Chevy Chase DC by doing research and educating our neighbors about our community’s past.”

The group views itself as the memory of our neighborhood, helping define who the Chevy Chase D.C. community has been and who we are today. In 2010, under the leadership of Joan Janshego, the organization started an oral history project, which offers a diverse set of perspectives from several dozen people who have lived in the area. It can be found on the group’s website, historicchevychasedc.org.

Four years ago, the website started a series of “History Now” articles. The most recent describes a homeless shelter for men operated since 1992 in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Connecticut Avenue NW south of Nebraska Avenue. Other articles cover topics such as the debate over the proposal to rename the fountain on Chevy Chase Circle and the controversy over the property at 5333 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Group leaders decided in the early 2000s that given a surge in real estate activity and prices, the character of the community might be harmed by speculative purchases, razes and construction of inappropriate structures. The group took inventory of the housing stock and proposed to designate part of the neighborhood as a historic district. It decided not to pursue the issue with the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board after a survey by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G with the backing of our association found that 77 percent of residents were opposed. Dick Teare of Historic Chevy Chase DC will review the effort next Tuesday.

The organization runs a project in which Realtor Catarina Bannier has helped prepare a web-accessible inventory of kit houses in our area. Other programs include annual walking tours offered by Realtor Keene Taylor and historic house plaques obtained for residents by the group’s Evelyn Wrin and Jordan Benderly. Kurt Flack, who wrote a history of his home at 3125 Northampton St. NW, will speak Tuesday.

Please join us at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Chevy Chase Community Center, Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW. Light refreshments will be served.

— Ted Gest