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Uncovering the Development of Chevy Chase in 1918

Explore the development of Chevy Chase in Washington, D.C. in 1918, just after Armistice Day. Discover the new homes, rising prices, and the impact of the war on the area with this exploration of Fulton R. Gordon's plans for the area.
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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Ghosts of DC stories.