Chevy Chase Historical Society

Chevy Chase Historical Society Celebrating One of America's First Streetcar Suburbs. Website: www.chevychasehistory.org; Phone Number: (301) 656-6141; Email: [email protected]

CCHS is a non-profit, volunteer organization of approximately 300 members. We provide resources for historical research and sponsor a variety of activities to promote public interest in, and knowledge of, Chevy Chase's history. Our collection resides at the CCHS Archive and Research Center on the lower level of the Chevy Chase Library at 8005 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD.

Operating as usual

If you were trick-or-treating in Chevy Chase in 1936, you might have come across this "Dutch" costume.This photograph wa...
10/31/2021

If you were trick-or-treating in Chevy Chase in 1936, you might have come across this "Dutch" costume.

This photograph was donated by Eda Schrader Offutt when CCHS conducted an oral history interview with her in 2008. You can explore more images and remembrances donated by Ms. Offutt in the CCHS online catalog.

If you were trick-or-treating in Chevy Chase in 1936, you might have come across this "Dutch" costume.

This photograph was donated by Eda Schrader Offutt when CCHS conducted an oral history interview with her in 2008. You can explore more images and remembrances donated by Ms. Offutt in the CCHS online catalog.

A mere 4.5 miles down Rock Creek Park from Chevy Chase, a new house just hit the market. Affectionately referred to by i...
10/25/2021

A mere 4.5 miles down Rock Creek Park from Chevy Chase, a new house just hit the market. Affectionately referred to by its previous resident as her “little jewel, ” the butter-yellow clapboard house at 2706 Olive Street can now be yours.

2706 Olive Street is where renowned chef and television personality Julia Child worked on her groundbreaking culinary tome “Mastering the Art of French Cooking". During her ownership, Child delighted in offering cooking classes to DC’s social set – who learned how to perfect poached eggs and sautéed chicken from one of the most luminous figures in food.

As a whimsical touch, the owner retained some of the original kitchen wall from the Julia years.

https://www.redfin.com/DC/Washington/2706-Olive-St-NW-20007/home/9925637?utm_medium=share&utm_source=web_share&utm_campaign=copy

In honor of the Washington International Horse Show starting this week, we thought it would be fun to share a program fr...
10/24/2021

In honor of the Washington International Horse Show starting this week, we thought it would be fun to share a program from 1941's Washington Horse Show at Chevy Chase's very own Meadowbrook Stables.

Meadowbrook Stables is one of the oldest and last remaining urban equestrian facilities in the United States. When it opened in 1934, the “Meadowbrook Saddle Club” was recognized as one of the “finest saddle clubs in the East” and hosted local, national, and international horse shows. The club portion of the building was designed after a Charlottesville tavern. The second floor contained a ballroom.

It's back to school time in Chevy Chase.This pencil box was used at Chevy Chase Elementary Cheetah Zone in the 1960s by ...
09/22/2021

It's back to school time in Chevy Chase.

This pencil box was used at Chevy Chase Elementary Cheetah Zone in the 1960s by Sarah "Sally" Eckert, daughter of Mary Anne Donnally Eckert and Philip F. Eckert of 6813 Florida Street. The cover features a drawing of a small, red schoolhouse and tree, as well as children and a dog. Included on the front of the pencil box is "4 Grade" and the name of Sarah's teacher, Miss Quinn.

An advertisement on the inside cover of the box reads, "Distributed By Your Nearby Friendly Peoples Drug Stores Headquarters For Fine Quality School Supplies."

Today would be a good day for a swim at Chevy Chase Lake.
07/10/2021

Today would be a good day for a swim at Chevy Chase Lake.

Today would be a good day for a swim at Chevy Chase Lake.

There is probably no other architectural feature that evokes such feelings of comfort, welcome, and nostalgia than the f...
07/07/2021
CCHS 2021 Virtual Spring Gala: Party on the Porch!

There is probably no other architectural feature that evokes such feelings of comfort, welcome, and nostalgia than the front porch. Join the Chevy Chase Historical Society in learning more about our outdoor living rooms, especially after a year of using them more than ever.

In many ways, the front porch represents the American ideal of family. It’s in essence an outdoor living room, where the...
05/18/2021

In many ways, the front porch represents the American ideal of family. It’s in essence an outdoor living room, where the family can retire after the activities of a long day.

In celebration of its 40th Anniversary, the Chevy Chase Historical Society is hosting its first-ever virtual Spring Gala: Party on the Porch!

Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Party on the Porch celebrates the porch, a prominent and beloved feature of so many Chevy Chase homes. Doug Kammerer, News4’s Chief Meteorologist and Chevy Chase resident will join the fun as our neighborhood host. Architectural Historian Sandy Heiler will lead a virtual tour through the surprising history of the porch. Chevy Chase designers Katy Anderson, Sarah Hayes, and Deborah Scheck will demonstrate ideas for hosting a party on your porch.

Guests will receive an access link for their households to view the event and a party basket filled with libations and hors d’oeuvres from Chevy Chase favorite La Ferme Restaurant.

http://www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/2021-virtual-spring-gala?fbclid=IwAR1v1Hf1ooXRtgWEbfrP01I9tedDrszrC5gGceIHOd5M6AtLnFwl1-e3cEM

Have you ever noticed the amazing variety of front porches that grace the Chevy Chase community? Did you know that the f...
05/15/2021

Have you ever noticed the amazing variety of front porches that grace the Chevy Chase community? Did you know that the front porch has a fascinating and fun history? Learn how the porch has been used over the course of American history at the CCHS 2021 Virtual Spring Gala, Party on the Porch!

Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Architectural historian Sandy Heiler, long-time member and immediate past chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, will lead a virtual tour through the architectural and social history of the American porch.

And to keep with tradition, guests will be treated to libations and hors d’oeuvres from La Ferme Restaurant.

http://www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/2021-virtual-spring-gala?fbclid=IwAR1v1Hf1ooXRtgWEbfrP01I9tedDrszrC5gGceIHOd5M6AtLnFwl1-e3cEM

Have you ever noticed the amazing variety of front porches that grace the Chevy Chase community? Did you know that the front porch has a fascinating and fun history? Learn how the porch has been used over the course of American history at the CCHS 2021 Virtual Spring Gala, Party on the Porch!

Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Architectural historian Sandy Heiler, long-time member and immediate past chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, will lead a virtual tour through the architectural and social history of the American porch.

And to keep with tradition, guests will be treated to libations and hors d’oeuvres from La Ferme Restaurant.

http://www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/2021-virtual-spring-gala?fbclid=IwAR1v1Hf1ooXRtgWEbfrP01I9tedDrszrC5gGceIHOd5M6AtLnFwl1-e3cEM

If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, or just wish you did, join us for the fun and surprising history of the p...
05/12/2021

If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, or just wish you did, join us for the fun and surprising history of the porch at the 2021 Chevy Chase Historical Society's Virtual Spring Gala: Party on the Porch!

Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Architectural historian Sandy Heiler, long-time member and immediate past chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, will lead a virtual tour through the architectural and social history of the American porch.

And to keep with tradition, guests will be treated to libations and hors d’oeuvres from La Ferme Restaurant.

www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/2021-virtual-spring-gala

If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, or just wish you did, join us for the fun and surprising history of the porch at the 2021 Chevy Chase Historical Society's Virtual Spring Gala: Party on the Porch!

Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Architectural historian Sandy Heiler, long-time member and immediate past chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, will lead a virtual tour through the architectural and social history of the American porch.

And to keep with tradition, guests will be treated to libations and hors d’oeuvres from La Ferme Restaurant.

www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/2021-virtual-spring-gala

109 years ago this morning, we’d be awakening to the news of the Titanic sinking overnight. Chevy Chase Hunt Club master...
04/15/2021

109 years ago this morning, we’d be awakening to the news of the Titanic sinking overnight.

Chevy Chase Hunt Club master of hounds, Clarence Moore, was on that ship. One of the objects of Mr. Moore's trip to Europe, was to purchase a pack of hounds. For several months prior to his departure he and his men traveled for miles through Maryland and Virginia buying up the best hounds that were to be obtained. Not satisfied with the character of dogs he was able to buy here, he determined to go to England and purchase a pack. According to the New York Times on April 16, 1912 "he is said to have purchased twenty-five brace of hounds from the best packs in the north of England."

Image: Clarence Moore, Master of the Fox Hunt, Chevy Chase Club.

109 years ago this morning, we’d be awakening to the news of the Titanic sinking overnight.

Chevy Chase Hunt Club master of hounds, Clarence Moore, was on that ship. One of the objects of Mr. Moore's trip to Europe, was to purchase a pack of hounds. For several months prior to his departure he and his men traveled for miles through Maryland and Virginia buying up the best hounds that were to be obtained. Not satisfied with the character of dogs he was able to buy here, he determined to go to England and purchase a pack. According to the New York Times on April 16, 1912 "he is said to have purchased twenty-five brace of hounds from the best packs in the north of England."

Image: Clarence Moore, Master of the Fox Hunt, Chevy Chase Club.

New Research on BelmontYou may have heard stories about a portion of Chevy Chase once known as Belmont. The property str...
02/19/2021
Belmont: The Lost Plan for a Black Chevy Chase

New Research on Belmont

You may have heard stories about a portion of Chevy Chase once known as Belmont. The property stretched along Wisconsin Avenue, from where Saks Fifth Avenue is located south to approximately Western Avenue. In the early 1900s, an effort was made to develop Belmont as a Black residential community, but that effort did not succeed. The CCHS archive includes information about Belmont, but the history is opaque and inconclusive.

Extensive new research on the history of Belmont has been done by local history advocates and researchers Neil Flanagan and Kimberly Bender. They are giving an online talk on their research and conclusions concerning Belmont on Wednesday, February 24. Their announcement of the talk can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/belmont-the-lost-plan-for-a-black-chevy-chase-registration-139131531155. **Tickets for the event on February 24 are sold out** but a video of the talk will be available online thereafter. If you wish to be notified when the video is available, you may register at http://bit.ly/belmontvideo.

SOLD OUT: Belmont: The Lost Plan for a Black Chevy Chase

Though the snow isn’t amounting to a blockbuster storm, this is the first day with accumulating snow greater than an inc...
01/31/2021

Though the snow isn’t amounting to a blockbuster storm, this is the first day with accumulating snow greater than an inch in about two years.

Enjoy!

Exactly 99 years ago it was Saturday night, Jan. 28, 1922. Over 36 inches of snow blanketed the capital region. Chevy Ch...
01/29/2021
Weather History: Knickerbocker Storm 1922

Exactly 99 years ago it was Saturday night, Jan. 28, 1922. Over 36 inches of snow blanketed the capital region.

Chevy Chase’s Helen Zimmerman Tucker and her husband, Charles, undeterred by the storm decided to go to the movies that night. According to their daughter Jean, “they just got together and got their old clothes on” and headed for the Knickerbocker Theater at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW to see the new silent movie adaption of George M. Cohan’s comedy “Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford.” In spite of the weather, more than 300 other Washingtonians managed to join them.

As the orchestra played near the close of the intermission, people filed back into the theater to watch the second reel. And then, from above, came a creak, and then a hiss, and then a shuddering roar. The roof collapsed under the weight of the snow, crashing down tons of steel and bricks on the crowd below. Ninety-eight people died in the tragedy, including Charles and Helen Tucker. The disaster ranks as one of Washington's worst in history.

This storm is the biggest in the history of Washington, D.C. since 1885 when record-keeping began. It received it's name from the resulting roof collapse of ...

Did you know the Chevy Chase Historical Society should be your first stop for learning about the history of your home an...
01/25/2021

Did you know the Chevy Chase Historical Society should be your first stop for learning about the history of your home and the people who once lived in it?

Researching your house and its former residents is a time-consuming but rewarding experience. We have many resources to help you perform a house history and can guide you to further research. Below is a brief excerpt from one of the house histories in the archive. This home, at 6800 Connecticut Avenue, was site of the 2018 Chevy Chase Historical Society Spring Gala.

Built in 1920 for the Mullowny family, this home is an excellent example of the larger houses built on Connecticut Avenue in the new suburb of Chevy Chase. Its substantial proportions met the Chevy Chase Land Company’s required construction value of $5,000, and its elegant façade reflects wealth and status. While the original designer is unknown, by the late 19th century, many American architects had visited Italy and were familiar with formal, symmetrical Renaissance palazzos. They designed similar houses in the U.S. through the 1930s, with flat or low-pitched hipped roofs and classical features. With its traditional stucco finish, classic door, and window surrounds, this house displays strong characteristics of an Italian Renaissance style home.

Alexander and Marie Mullowny, Owners 1919-1948
Alexander Richmond Mullowny, born in Richmond, Virginia in 1865, grew up in the District of Columbia. He attended law school at Howard University and Georgetown University, graduating in 1887. After serving as U.S. Attorney in the D.C. Police Court, and later as Assistant U.S. District Attorney, Mullowny was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as a Judge on the District Police Court in 1905.

Two years after his appointment as a judge, Mullowny married Marie Magdalene Thomas and the couple lived on Oregon Avenue in the District.

Mullowny’s reputation as a judge is mixed. Some praised his efforts to reduce charges for those who “took the temperance pledge.” He claimed that he never fined a doctor for speeding to a patient’s bedside. But some of his decisions do not stand well under the gaze of history. In his very first trial, he fined two Black American women $5.00 (or $137 today) for talking too loudly in the streets at 2:00 am.

Perhaps the Judge’s most controversial court decisions were made in July 1917 when he sentenced a group of 16 suffragists for obstructing the sidewalk in front of the White House. He first sentenced them to jail for three days. But when they continued their protests for suffrage, he sentenced them again, this time to $25 fines or 60 days in the Occoquan workhouse. They chose jail.

The following year, Mullowny retired from the Police Court, and began private practice — and his family made plans to move to Chevy Chase. In 1919, the Mullownys paid $3,609.27 for the lot at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Rosemary Street (about $45,500 today). They constructed their family home on the lot in 1920.

Mullowny died after surgery in 1929. His wife Maria continued to live at the house with their daughter Katherine, who later studied ballet in New York with George Balanchine and developed a successful career as a prima ballerina. In 1948, Maria Mullowny sold the house and moved to the District, where she died in 1973.

Interested in discovering the history of your home? Start by looking at "Research Your Home" resources and the guide to deed research on the website, www.chevychasehistory.org. You can also search the online catalog for your address to see if the archive has material related to your home. Still have questions? Contact us at [email protected].

Images: 6800 Connecticut Avenue and Judge Mullowny.

Waiting for La Ferme Restaurant to open for its weekly carryout menu, now on Thursdays.
01/21/2021

Waiting for La Ferme Restaurant to open for its weekly carryout menu, now on Thursdays.

Did you know that the Georgetown Branch of the B&O railroad used to stop at Chevy Chase?The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co...
01/18/2021

Did you know that the Georgetown Branch of the B&O railroad used to stop at Chevy Chase?

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company (B&O) was officially charted in 1827 and its founding merchants envisioned it as a way to move goods faster between the midwest and the east coast. After the Civil War, new markets and competition spurred the B&O to expand. One expansion in 1873 included the new Metropolitan Branch to connect Washington, D.C. and Point of Rocks in Frederick County.

Two decades after the opening of the Metropolitan Branch, the Georgetown Branch of the B&O was conceived as a way for the railroad to access growing southern markets. The company planned to connect the new line at the Metropolitan Branch stop at Silver Spring, through north Chevy Chase and Bethesda, across the Potomac, and into northern Virginia. A spur to the commercial center of Georgetown would also connect the line with additional markets. In 1892, two miles of track between Silver Spring and Chevy Chase were completed, including a trestle over Rock Creek that spanned 1,400 feet. Due to financial constraints, these two miles would be the extent of the line for the next 17 years.

At the same time as the construction of the tracks between Silver Spring and Chevy Chase, the suburban development of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was beginning. In 1892, the Rock Creek Railway developed the streetcar line that connected Washington, D.C. to the new suburb, running north on Connecticut Avenue and terminating at Chevy Chase Lake, near today's 8401 Connecticut Avenue. This terminus of the streetcar line was located at the end of the newly-built railroad line. This close proximity was ideal as shipments of coal arrived by train and were offloaded to the nearby powerhouse that provided the electricity for the streetcar line. Building materials for the new Chevy Chase homes also arrived via the railroad and could be loaded on and delivered by the streetcar.

In 1910, B&O completed the line between Chevy Chase and Georgetown, foregoing the Potomac crossing as it now had access to southern markets through Alexandria, Virginia. As it had in Chevy Chase, the line provided coal and building materials along the branch, including coal for the Capital Traction Company streetcar power plant in Georgetown. In 1914, the line was extended for a short time to carry limestone and materials for the building of the Lincoln Memorial.

Beginning in the 1930s, streetcars gave way to buses, and in 1935 the Connecticut Avenue streetcar line stopped running in Chevy Chase. With its closure, the need for coal to fuel the powerhouse was eliminated. Other lost coal and freight contracts led to a sharp decline in the need for the Georgetown Branch. Nevertheless, the line continued to operate through the 1980s, fueling a federal government heating plant in Georgetown.

In 1981, a merger between B&O, Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O), and Seaboard Coast Lines, created the CSX Corporation and, in 1986, CSX proposed abandonment of the Georgetown Branch. In November 1988, Montgomery County purchased the Maryland portion of the line with plans for, according to a Washington Post report, "a light-rail line on the track side-by-side with a biking and hiking trail or...a recreational trail only."

The Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, formed in 1986, advocated for a hiker-biker trail along the right-of-way. In 1990, the National Park Service purchased a portion of the abandoned Georgetown Branch, running from Georgetown to the Maryland border, and developed the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT). In Maryland, the CCT was completed between the District line and Bethesda in the 1990s, and an interim trail was completed between Bethesda and Silver Spring with the repair of the Rock Creek trestle in 2003.

Plans for public transit along the abandoned line between Bethesda and Silver Spring were introduced as early as 1988 and were included in the 1990 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Master Plan. In the early 2000s, light rail was proposed to include the University of Maryland and New Carrollton, extending into Prince George's County. Due to funding and litigation, these plans did not move forward until recently, with construction on the light rail system, the Purple Line, breaking ground in 2017. Currently under construction and slated to open in 2023/2024, the Purple Line will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton and the CCT will be completed between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Images: Freight cars on the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad cross Columbia Country Club Golf Course, February 23, 1947, Evening Star.

Composite map developed and drawn by William Duvall, based on engineering maps, representing Chevy Chase Lake, 1892 to 1935.

Looking north on Connecticut Avenue, near today's intersection with Chevy Chase Lake Drive. To the left of the streetcar, you can see the "B&O" on the freight car as it crosses Connecticut Avenue. To the right of the streetcar is the trolley car barn and the powerhouse with the smokestack. Image from Electrical World, January 14, 1893, print from LeRoy O. King, Jr.

Purple Line construction east of Connecticut Avenue, image taken from the CCHS Archive and Research Center, August 2020.

Address

8401 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1010
Chevy Chase, MD
20815

Telephone

(301) 656-6141

Products

Chevy Chase, Maryland: A Streetcar to Home
An award-winning 32-minute documentary about the history of Chevy Chase.
http://www.chevychasehistory.org/chevychase/store

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Our Story

In 1890, a new kind of neighborhood began to take shape on former farmland at the edge of Washington, D.C. The modern planned community of Chevy Chase, Maryland was designed to take advantage of a revolutionary mode of rapid transit: the streetcar. This electric-powered conveyance made commuting from a home in the country to work in the nation’s capital fast, easy and convenient. Residents of Chevy Chase enjoyed the best of both worlds – and they made the most of each!

Today’s residents and members of the Chevy Chase Historical Society protect and treasure the character of their community while they welcome the best aspects of the future. We welcome you to join us – and to explore our history.

www.chevychasehistory.org

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