Thirty-Five Acres in the Heart of Beautiful Chevy Chase

New Chevy Chase addition - December 14th, 1918 (Washington Times)
New Chevy Chase addition - December 14th, 1918 (Washington Times)

The Chevy Chase post last week was quite popular, so I’ll add another one for the neighborhood.

I came across an article in the Washington Times from December 14th, 1918, only a month after Armistice Day was celebrated in the District. Fulton R. Gordon — we focused on his Columbia Heights development a while back — had acquired a large tract of land in upper northwest, with plans to develop the area in the spring of 1919.

The work of grading the land and the cutting through of streets is now under way. A construction force began work on the property a few days ago. It is believed that work will be commenced on some of the contemplated homes in the spring.

The work of construction is all being done in conformance with the permanent street highway plans of the District. Government engineers have been at work for some time making a survey of the property, establishing the grades and preparing the maps. This work is now practically completed.

The land embraced in the new subdivision constitutes the only large piece of undeveloped property in the District part of Chevy Chase. Improved property surrounds the tract on all sides. With the completion of the present project the District part of Chevy Chase will be completely improved and will extend continuously from Belt road on the west to Thirty-second street on the east.

It is estimated that two years will be required for the complete development of the addition, in accordance with the present plans. However, it is expected that the property will be cleared and graded within the next several months, and it is the intention of the owner to commence the erection of houses as soon as the grades are established and building material is more readily obtainable.

The new addition presages considerable activity in Chevy Chase real estate during the coming year. Chevy Chase has built and maintained an enviable reputation as one of the city’s ideal home sites. It has shown phenomenal growth since the first lots in the suburb were placed on the market. Ten years ago there was not a home in the District part of Chevy Chase.

Today there are approximately 600 attractive homes and bungalows there. The suburb was enjoying a substantial and rapid growth just before the war. Many new homes were in the process of construction when the war boke out. Real estate men are confident of a resumption of interest on an increasing scale in this suburb as quickly as building can be commenced on a normal basis.

Fulton R. Gordon is enthusiastic about the future of the suburb. “Chevy Chase was making rapid strides just before the war,” said Mr. Gordon, “and we are now beginning where we were forced to leave off. I expect the Government to employ fully 35,000 more people permanently in the future. The unscrambling of the war will take ten years. Many new residents are daily looking around for homes here, and Chevy Chase is making its appeal to them.”

Chevy Chase was growing quickly at the time and the homes were quite nice. Both middle and upper-middle class Washingtonians were moving further out to the edges of the District, buying up the new homes for around $10,000 each.

Chevy Chase today (Google Maps)
Chevy Chase today (Google Maps)

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  • Stephen Crowley

    Thank you so much for this piece – when my grandparents were married in 1928 they lived at 3312 Quesada Street and two years later bought the brick house next door at 3314. The basement rec-room was paneled (and still is) with the trees that had been cut down to make the playground at Lafayette Elementary School, because the back of the house opens up onto the vast “field” (as my grandmother called it). Down on the corner from that was the Broad Branch Market and my grandmother would send me there to buy a pound of “the finest hamburger” on occasion. Mister Bon owned the market I think. I lived there in my grandparents house as a child during most of the 1950’s – I actually feel that I was raised there and my heart will always be there forever. My French-born grandfather was Professor Leon E. Dostert, a linguist at Georgetown University where he co-founded the school of languages with Father Walsh (as a Colonel in WW2 he was Gen. Eisenhower’s personal interpreter and he was head translator at the Nuremberg Trials). Down Quesada Street on the corner by the tennis courts (the tennis coach was a cool guy named Chico), there lived the Rosinski’s (of Rosinski Real Estate) where the mother (“Maisie”) would sit on the back porch with me and give me cookies while pointing out – “there he is – there! Didn’t you see him?” – the leprechauns who lived in the hedge and the garden. On occasion I actually think I saw them. Oh, thank you again for reminding me of such wonderful, indelible stuff. It would be wonderful for you to do a piece on Broad Branch Market or any of the old District Grocery Stores that used to dot so many neighborhoods here.

    • Stephen…thanks for your comment. This is one of the best I’ve seen yet. So happy to have brought back nice memories. Leon Dostert sounds fascinating! And the idea of posts on grocery stores sounds interesting. Stay tuned!

      • Stephen Crowley

        If you Google my grandfather you can find out much more about him – he was a very accomplished man. I only wish I could say so much more about my grandmother who raised a family as a single parent during WW2 (which every mother did so bravely) and the good times / difficult times it entailed.

  • Stephen Crowley

    Sorry to go on about this but it’s worth remembering – in the 1950’s at 3310 Quesada Street lived the great modern artist Philip Nolan, whose paintings now hang in some of the premier galleries in the world. Looked a bit strange to a kid in that era – floor-to-ceiling, every room of that huge house… His kids – the girl (named Lyndon) – Lynn – and yes, named after Senator / Majority Leader Johnson, who was a close friend of my grandfather and that’s not kidding –
    Lynn and her brother Billy used to play with me & my sisters a lot. Their mother was a darkly quiet very beautiful red-haired lady named Katie (I think the Nolans were later divorced) – they lived in THE original farmhouse that had ever been in that whole area (and it’s still there) and they had an African-American lady who was cook and housekeeper.

    Across the street from my grandparents house lived Shirley Povitch, the sports writer for The Washington Post.

    You might do well to find out what you can about that ancient original farmhouse there on Quesada Street.
    It was what remained from the time when the land was one big “field” at the beginning of the 20th Century (or earlier, perhaps). I think the number on Quesada Street might be 3308 – not sure.

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