Chevy Chase, Maryland

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Chevy Chase is the name of both a town and an unincorporated census-designated place (Chevy Chase (CDP), Maryland) that straddle the northwest border of Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. Several settlements in the same area of Montgomery County and one neighborhood of Washington include "Chevy Chase" in their names. These villages, the town, and the CDP share a common history and together form a larger community colloquially referred to as "Chevy Chase".

Primarily a residential suburb, Chevy Chase adjoins Friendship Heights, a popular shopping district. It includes the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, which hosts the National 4-H Conference, an event for 4-Hers throughout the nation to attend, and the National Science Bowl annually in either late April or early May.[1] Chevy Chase is also the home of the Chevy Chase Club and Columbia Country Club, whose members include many prominent politicians and Washingtonians.[2]

The name "Chevy Chase" is derived from "Cheivy Chace", the name of the land patented to Colonel Joseph Belt from Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore on July 10, 1725. It has historic associations to a 1388 battle between Lord Percy of England and Earl Douglas of Scotland, the subject of the ballad entitled "The Ballad of Chevy Chase". At issue in this "chevauchée" (a French word describing a border raid) were hunting grounds or a "chace" in the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland and Otterburn.[3] Chevy Chase was noted as "the most educated town in America" in a study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education, with 93.5 percent of adult residents having at least a bachelors degree.[4]


Before 1890, Chevy Chase was unincorporated farmland, during which time Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and his partners began acquiring land in the area, for the purpose of developing a residential streetcar suburb for Washington, D.C. during the expansion of the Washington streetcars system. Newlands and his partners founded The Chevy Chase Land Company in 1890, and its holdings of more than 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) eventually extended along the present-day Connecticut Avenue from Florida Avenue north to Jones Bridge Road. The Chevy Chase Land Company built houses for $5,000 and up on Connecticut Avenue and $3,000 and up on side streets.[5] The company banned commerce from the residential neighborhoods.[6] The streetcar soon became vital to the community; it connected workers to the city, and even ran errands for residents. Toward the northern end of its holdings, the Land Company formed a manmade lake, called Chevy Chase Lake, to service a local hydroelectric power plant, and provide a venue for boating, swimming, and other activities.[7]

Leon E. Dessez was Chevy Chase's first resident. He and Lindley Johnson of Philadelphia designed the first four houses in the area.[8]

Part of the original Cheivy Chace patent had been sold to one Abraham Bradley, who built an estate known as the Bradley Farm.[9] In 1892, a group of men from the Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C., including Newlands, founded a hunt club called Chevy Chase Hunt, which would later become Chevy Chase Club. In 1894, the club located itself on the former Bradley Farm property under a lease from its owners. In 1895, the club introduced a six-hole golf course to its members, and in 1897, purchased the 9.36-acre Bradley Farm tract.[10][9][11]

Lea M. Bouligny founded a school for young women at the Chevy Chase Inn (7100 Connecticut Ave), called Chevy Chase College and Seminary for Young Ladies. In 1927 the name was changed to Chevy Chase Junior College. In 1951, the National 4-H Club Foundation purchased the property.[12]

Racially restrictive covenants

During the first half of the 20th century, Chevy Chase was a sundown town that excluded individuals based on race and religion. Founder Francis G. Newlands was an "avowed racist"[13] who in 1912 introduced a plank to the Democratic Convention that called for a constitutional amendment to disenfranchise black men and limit immigration to whites only. Three years earlier, the Chevy Chase Land Company had brought suit against a developer who had begun to sell lots to black people in a planned subdivision called "Belmont" on the grounds that the developer had committed fraud by proposing "to sell negroes."[13]

By the 1920s, restrictive covenants were added to Chevy Chase real estate deeds. Some prohibited both the sale or rental of homes to "a Negro or one of the African race." Others prohibited sales or rentals to "any persons of the Semetic [sic] race", to the exclusion of Jews.[13] By World War II, such restrictive language had largely disappeared from real estate transactions, and all were voided by the 1948 Supreme Court decision in Shelley v. Kraemer.



In addition to the Maryland villages listed above, the United States Postal Service uses Chevy Chase for postal addresses that lie in Somerset, Maryland and the Village of Friendship Heights which lie outside historical Chevy Chase. USPS also uses Chevy Chase addresses for the part of Silver Spring, Maryland east of Jones Mill Road and Beach Drive and west of Grubb Road.


Chevy Chase is served by the Montgomery County Public Schools. Private schools in Chevy Chase include Concord Hill School and Oneness-Family School. Residents of Chevy Chase are zoned to either Chevy Chase or North Chevy Chase elementary, Silver Creek Middle School, and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High-school.

Notable people

Current residents

Former residents

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy, National Science Bowl®". United States Department of Energy.
  2. ^ "Obama to Join Maryland Country Club". Washingtonian. 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  3. ^ "The Naming of Chevy Chase". Chevy Chase Historical Society.
  4. ^ "Affluent Md. suburb named nation's most educated". WTOP. 2015-01-07. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  5. ^ Ohmann, Richard Malin (1996). Selling Culture: Magazines, Markets, and Class at the Turn of the Century. Verso.
  6. ^ DRYDEN, STEVE (1999). "The History of Chevy Chase and Friendship Heights". Bethesda Magazine.
  7. ^ "The History of Chevy Chase and?Friendship Heights". Bethesda Magazine. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  8. ^ Benedetto, Robert; Donovan, Jane; Vall, Kathleen Du (2003). Historical Dictionary of Washington. Scarecrow Press. p. 53.
  9. ^ a b "The Naming of Chevy Chase | Chevy Chase Historical Society". Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  10. ^ Early Days at the Chevy Chase Club, The Montgomery County Story, Montgomery County Historical Society, November 2001
  11. ^ "Chevy Chase Club - Club History". Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  12. ^ "The Schools of Section Four - Chevy Chase Historical Society". Chevy Chase Historical Society.
  13. ^ a b c Fisher, Marc (February 15, 1999). "Chevy Chase, 1916: For Everyman, a New Lot in Life". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ a b c d e Neate, Rupert (December 4, 2015). "Chevy Chase, Maryland: the super-rich town that has it all – except diversity". The Guardian.
  15. ^ a b c d "Bethesda, Chevy Chase Homes of The Rich and Famous". Bethesda Magazine. October 10, 2012.
  16. ^ Arsenault, Raymond (2006), Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  17. ^ "Hilary Rhoda - Fashion Model - Profile on New York Magazine". New York Magazine.
  18. ^ Richards, Chris (May 31, 2013). "Peter Rosenberg: From Montgomery County to top of the hip-hop heap". The Washington Post.
  19. ^ Giannotto, Mark (February 4, 2011). "Danny Rubin goes from Landon to Boston College walk-on to ACC starter". The Washington Post.

External links