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History

History Part 7

Research to date suggests that the first houses in the Village were built by or for officers of the Chevy Chase Land Company. An article in the November 1920 issue of the Chevy Chase News, written by Chevy Chase's first school mistress, Ella Given, names the first houses and their residents. According to her account, the four original homes, all in the vicinity of Connecticut Avenue and Irving Street— were designed by Lindley Johnson of Philadelphia, with Washington architect Leon E. Dessez as his associate.

Dessez was the first resident, moving into the house known today as the Lodge, just northwest of the Circle, in May 1893. Senator Newlands was the resident of a grand house (originally built for Senator Stewart) on the northeast side of the Circle; this house later became known as the Corby mansion for its owner, William S. Corby, who patented the first dough-molding machine. Howard Nyman, Secretary of the Land Company, moved into the residence at the northeast corner of Connecticut Avenue and Irving Street, and Herbert Claude moved into the house at the northwest corner of Connecticut Avenue and Irving Street. As described in Ella Given's article, “These four houses, artistic and homelike, struck the keynote for the community which was to grow up around them.”

Newlands and the Land Company provided every comfort and convenience within their control, including water from artesian wells and attractive surroundings. Under landscape architect Nathan Barrett's direction, a gracious landscape plan, with shade trees and ornamental shrubbery, was devised and partially executed. In addition to native trees such as the tulip, poplar, oak, and locust, he specified many imports such as English elms, Japanese boxwood, pin oak, linden, and sycamore. Distinctive double rows of trees lined major streets.

The belief that, "The best suburban section is always surrounding or adjacent to the leading suburban clubs" was expressed by Thos. J. Fisher & Co.'s 1916 real estate brochure. Land Company officers organized the Chevy Chase Club in 1890 soon after the formation of the company itself, with Newlands as its first president. It was a country club devoted mainly to riding and the hunt, in the days when it was the custom to ride to the hounds two or three times a week in season. The club adopted golf when that sport became popular. The old Bradley farmhouse on Connecticut Avenue served as the first clubhouse and was later remodeled into a guest house, incorporating portions of the old farmhouse.



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