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History

History Part 10

The Land Company's early goal was a “home suburb where every home would reflect the individuality of its owner.” Houses of all sizes were erected, and Thomas J. Fisher & Co. advertised them in the 1916 promotional brochure Chevy Chase for Homes as “each marked by the individuality of its owner.” Although Chevy Chase was planned to “meet the requirements of discriminating people”...that does not necessarily mean, in our opinion, people of great wealth. Scores of those of moderate means made their homes there. Residents have always maintained a range of occupations, from judge, senator, and physician, to teacher, bookkeeper, and accountant.

From the outset Chevy Chase was at the best of residential design. The Land Company engaged the talents of nationally known Philadelphia architect Lindley Johnson and New York landscape architect Nathan Barrett. Johnson, a successful and sophisticated Beaux Arts architect known for his large country houses and resort structures, received several key commissions in 1892, including six "cottages," a Connecticut Avenue office building, and homes for Stewart and Stellwagen. Barrett, who had been associated with Johnson at Winter Harbor, Tuxedo Park, Ponce de Leon, and other developments, devised the landscape plan in Chevy Chase. Along with local architect Leon E. Dessez, who is perhaps best known in Washington for his design of the Admiral's House (now the vice presidential residence), they set a tone of gentility with a few late Shingle style houses and Colonial style houses in vogue in the 1890's. Newlands made Dessez a director of the Land Company in 1893 and gave him the responsibility of preparing strict building regulations, as well as building two houses for sale.

Construction slowed after the panic of 1893 and did not pick up until after World War I. Then one style of architecture tumbled out on the heels of the preceding one. Virtually all of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century styles are represented today, including the Shingle, Colonial Revival, Tudor, French Eclectic, Spanish Eclectic, Mission, Neoclassical, Italian Renaissance, Prairie, and Craftsman styles. Only modernistic and international-style houses are largely missing. Bungalows mix with grand Colonial Revival mansions, and designs range from formal architect-designed houses to Sears prefabricated structures. An extraordinary mix of talented local designers are represented, including Arthur B. Heaton, George S. Cooper, Thomas J.D. Fuller, Edward W. Donn, Waddy Wood, Clarence Harding, A.M. Sonnemann, Porter & Lockie, and Dan Kirkhuff, as well as prominent builders or developers such as Harry Wardman, the Weaver Brothers, and M. and R.B. Warren.