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History

History Part 5

“In the ordinary real estate development too frequently everything is sacrificed for quick financial returns, but this has not been done in Chevy Chase. Back of the development, so far as it has progressed today, is a big, comprehensive plan, and the men who formulated that plan believed that the best results could be obtained only where things were done right . . . Instead of developing one small tract without regard to the surroundings, the owners acquired more than two thousand acres of land and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in street improvements and the installation of every municipal convenience. The fixed purpose of The Chevy Chase Land Company was to provide for the National Capital a home suburb, a community where each home would bear a touch of the individuality of the owner, where each home would possess an added value by virtue of the beauty and charm of the surrounding homes.”

Roderick S. French, in his study of Chevy Chase in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society (1973-1974) points out that Newlands succeeded in keeping control and holding to quality standards in a way few other developers in the nation were able to do. “Newlands had the utmost interest in shaping the form and quality of the development," French explained. "In order to achieve that control, he was willing to forgo profit for himself and his investors for thirty years. He had, or had at his disposal, the capital necessary to facilitate such a comprehensive, long-term undertaking."

His vast share of his father-in-law's estate was the cornerstone of the plan. Two other important financial and real estate alliances were also crucial. The Union Trust Company, organized in 1899, was integral to the long term financing necessary for large-scale development. The real estate mortgage investment banking firm, Thos. J. Fisher & Co., organized in 1872, became the real estate department of the Union Trust Company and the exclusive leasing agent for the Land Company. For a number of years the Fisher Company also handled all of the Land

Company business from their offices. Stellwagen, Vice President of the Land Company, was a link to both organizations - as President of Union Trust and President of Thos. J. Fisher & Co.


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