Chevy Chase was unincorporated farmland in the years before 1890, during which time Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and his partners began the aggressive acquisition of land in northwestern Washington, D.C., and southern Montgomery County, Maryland, for the purpose of developing a residential streetcar suburb for Washington, D.C.. (See Washington streetcars) The Chevy Chase Land Company was founded in 1890, and its eventual holdings of more than 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) would extend along the present-day Connecticut Avenue from Florida Avenue north to Jones Bridge Road. The Chevy Chase Land Company would build houses for no less than $5,000 on Connecticut Avenueor less than $3,000 on a side street.
The name “Chevy Chase” was taken from one of the absorbed plots of land. Its name in turn, according to the Village of Chevy Chase’s official history, can be traced to the larger tract of land called “Cheivy Chace” that was patented to Colonel Joseph Belt from Lord 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.
Leon E. Dessez was Chevy Chase’s first resident. He and Lindley Johnson of Philadelphia designed the first four houses in the area.
As with many suburban towns throughout the United States during the first half of the twentieth century, Chevy Chase excluded individuals based on race and religion. Founder Francis G. Newlands was an “avowed racist” who in 1912 mounted his presidential campaign on a platform 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 lots…to negroes.”
By the 1920s, exclusionary language had begun to appear in 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.” 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.
More information on Chevy Chase can be found at its Wikipedia page.
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- 7602 Connecticut Ave Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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Chevy Chase, Chevy Chase School Data
Chevy Chase School Districts
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Chevy Chase Schools
- Chevy Chase Elementary School
- 3-6, public
- Rock Creek Forest Elementary School
- K-5, public
- Somerset Elementary School
- K-5, public
- North Chevy Chase Elementary School
- 3-6, public
- Concord Hill School
- PK-3, private
- Oneness Family School
- PK-8, private
- Lycee Rochambeau French International School
- PK-12, private