History Part 9
Despite all of the amenities, the sale of land in Chevy Chase went slowly. The first section, the Village, opened in the panic year of 1893. Only 27 houses were occupied by 1897, and it required all the long-term financial solidarity of Newlands and his company to withstand the collapse of the boom of the previous decade. In fact, disbursements exceeded receipts for years. The Land Company would pay no dividends to stockholders until 1922. Accounts of growth patterns in Chevy Chase are varied; however, one source states that Chevy Chase Village had only 49 families in 1903.
The Land Company was perfectly situated, however, to benefit from the expansionary period that followed World War I. Between 1918 and 1931, sales totaled more than $7.5 million. By 1916, Thos. J. Fisher & Co. had reported that Section II, Section III, and Chevy Chase, D.C., were practically sold out, with sites still available in Section IV and Chevy Chase Heights.
Because Chevy Chase's commercial development was strictly limited and controlled, the Land Company arranged for goods to be delivered to early residents. The Chevy Chase News of November 1920 described the system:
“Coal was ordered through the Land Company, and during the summer months a wagon was sent into the city for ice several times a week. If medicine were needed it could be telephoned for and delivered to a car conductor at Fifteenth Street and New York Avenue, or anywhere along the route . . . The conductor would get off the car at Connecticut Avenue and Irving Street and put the medicine into a small box erected for that purpose.”
Newlands did, however, plan for a small shopping area south of Chevy Chase Circle on the west side of Connecticut Avenue. Among the earliest stores to open there were W.B. Follmer's Grocery Store at 5630 Connecticut Avenue and Doc Armstrong's Drugstore, adjacent to it. Sonnemann's store flourished on Brookville Road.