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Object ID 2008.12.21
Title Jarvis, Edith Claude -- CCHS OHP Transcript
Object Name Oral History
Date 07/19/1971
Creator Chevy Chase Historical Society
Description Jarvis, Edith Claude, July 16, 1971 -- Transcript of Interview with the Chevy Chase Historical Society Oral History Project

Interviewed by Paula Locker



Paula Locker: This is Paula Locker, interviewing Mrs. Edith Claude Jarvis, an authority on the history of Chevy Chase Village.The interview is being held in Mrs. Jarvis' lovely home at 9 East Melrose Street, Chevy Chase, Maryland, on July 16th, 1971.Mrs. Jarvis, I understand that you've been a lifelong resident of Chevy Chase Village, and members of your family were deeply involved in the development and life of the Village. Will you identify the members of your family who have a place in this history?

Edith Claude Jarvis: Yes, that is really quite true. My maternal grandparents came from Annapolis, Judge and Mrs. Dennis Claude. My father preceded them because he was a young civil engineer, who had an opportunity in the early development of the (street) railway, and after arriving in Washington, he very soon brought his parents and his sisters from Annapolis.My grandfather on my mother's side was here many years before that, and was really a character who is colorful, who is dramatic, and who was very interested in promoting his own ideas. His name was Col. George A. Armes, and he, after winning the Civil War according to himself, had settled in a fantastic house mid way between DuPont Circle and Chevy Chase Village as we know it today.He was a dreamer. He was very interested in the development of real estate, after his experiences in the war. And he brought to the attention of two or three Congressmen his idea for the development of a very large and interesting project which later became the suburb known today as the Chevy Chase Village.He lived on Connecticut Avenue, and he was really instrumental in developing a new suburb. And I doubt very much if the word "suburb" even entered his mind. He was really interested in increasing his own financial standing. He approached several very wealthy Congressmen with an idea that he had dreamed about, and that was to develop an area out of Washington that would be a very superior and well planned real estate development.He approached these gentlemen, one of them was Senator Stewart from Nevada, another was Congressman Newlandsfrom Nevada, who was then a Congressman but later became a Senator. And because Senator Newlands had married into the fabulously wealthy family of the (Sharons), he had access to a large amount of money. These gentlemen met at the old Shoreham Hotel, and decided to --

L: Excuse me, can you tell me what year this is?

J: This was in 1890. And they decided to buy up all of the land that they possibly could between what is now the Shoreham Hotel on Calvert Street out beyond the Columbia Country Club to what is now the Jones Mill Road.And they asked my grandfather to be the one to buy the land, acre by acre, but not to divulge his reasons, for buying the land. Now, this was a very hard thing to do, because as he purchased each farm, he had these deeds recorded and in a.very short time the newspaper reporters found out that there was much sale of land going on. But since my grandfather had been sworn to secrecy, he could not divulge why. He could not divulge his reasons of why he was purchasing this land.Finally, after a few months, the newspapers were dogging his footsteps, and he was forced to admit that he was buying land for a syndicate which was to develop an area. As soon as he divulged this Information, he was fired from his job. Thus came into being the establishment. of the Chevy Chase Land Company.This was headed by Senator Newlands, and Mr. Stellwagen became one of the officers. He later became the President of the Union Trust Company.They went forward in selecting a very famous landscape architect by the name of Nathan Barrett from New York City. Mr. Barrett's plans were very elaborate and very beautiful. His plans were for a suburb with beautiful streets, trees that were to be imported from various countries particularly from Japan and from Norway. Mr. Barrett's plans called for streets that were wide. There were to be no alleys. There were to be no commercial establishments, and generally it was just to be a residential area. I think that his plans were well accepted by everyone, and at that time they had not only to build Connecticut Avenue straight through from Washington, but they had to build two bridges the Calvert Street bridge and the (Klingle) bridge.
All in all, I've been told they spent well over $3 million in the acquisition of land and in the building of the bridges and the street railway.

L: How many farms were involved in this land acquisition, do you have any idea?

J: There were many , many small farms and small areas, and soon it became known that Col. Armes was buying up this property, and the speculators began to get to work and up their prices. Some of the land sold for as little as $200 an acre, some of it sold as high as $6,000 an acre.

L: That's quite a range. Do you have any idea who were the investors in the development other than the Senators Stewart and Newlands?

J: It was mostly Senator Newlands, Francis. G. Newlands, who later became a Senator and whose family were the fabulously wealthy (Sharon) family, who'd' made a vast fortune in developing the Comstock Lode.

L: Is it true that the Village, as we know it today, represents only part of the land originally purchased?

J: Yes, that is true. There is still a vast amount of land that is undeveloped, that the Chevy Chase Land Company still holds.

L: I see, and where are these areas?

J: Principally along Connecticut Avenue, the Van Ness Center is one of the areas, the area all along Connecticut Avenue that is unoccupied is owned by the Chevy Chase Land Company.

L: Did Col. Armes ever live in the Village?

J: He never lived precisely in the Village. He lived halfway between Washington and the Village.

L: You say that Mr. Stellwagen was the successor to your grandfather.

J: Yes.

L: And did he, at one time, own any farmland in the Chevy Chase area?

J: He owned no farmland. I think that Mr. Stellwagen came from another state. I don't believe that he was a Washingtonian even.

L: And did you say that he was President of the Union Trust Company?

J: Yes, he was at one time.

L: And is the Union Trust. Company involved with the Chevy Chase Land Company today?

J: To some extent, yes. They certainly take care all of the affairs of the Chevy Chase Land Company and the Thomas J. Fisher Company, which is a subsidiary of the Chevy Chase Land Company.

L: You said in one of your articles that Chevy Chase was one of the first planned suburbs. Now, was the plan actually carried out as the landscape architect planned It?

J: Yes. I would say that almost entirely his ideas were used and, to a large extent, it was executed just as he had planned it. I've seen the original plans done in watercolor, and they're quite beautiful and they are owned by the Chevy Chase Village.

L: Where can they can they be seen?

J: They're at the office of the Chevy Chase Village.

L: I see, that's very interesting. You said in one of your articles that the Chevy Chase Land Company did a great deal for the comfort and convenience of the residents. Can you tell me what they did beyond what other real estate companies did, other development companies?

J: Yes, for one thing, they gave the land for the first church in the Village, which was the All Saints Church. They gave the land for the first school, which was the E. V. Brown School. They provided the residents with mail service, with the upkeep and maintenance of the Village. They even had a freight car that came out every day from the City of Washington with the mail and with anything that anyone had bought from the old Boston House, which is today known as
Woodward & Lothrop. Even if one needed to buy just a spool of thread, it could be brought out on the freight car.

L: A spool of thread?

J: Yes.

L: Would that we had that service today. There was a school site and a church site and landscaping and sewer and water systems?

J: Yes.

L: Can you give me some details about the sewer and water system?

J: The sewer and water was really rather primitive, but very effective. There were about 20 or 22 artesian wells that were drilled throughout the Village. They pumped the water into one single stand pipe, which no longer exists but which was very picturesque. The water of Chevy Chase was very pure and sparkling and clear. People used to drive out or ride out on the streetcars and bring bottles and pitchers to a central area where they would fill them with pure water from Chevy Chase and take them back to Washington. The water was very pure and very clean, and it was.much later that the water supply had to be turned over to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

L: Do you know when that was?

J: My guess would be in the late Twenties. Now, I may be wrong about that, but certainly the late Twenties or very early Thirties.

L: What was the atitude of the residents to that?

J: They were not too pleased about drinking water from the Potomac River, but it was more efficient and they agreed that it was the best thing because the Village was growing so rapidly.

L: You, in our previous conversations, described the trolley ride which I thought was quite interesting out to the amusement park. Could you tellĀ£me something give me something about that now?

J: Well, in the summertime, it was really a remarkable thing because the street summer streetcars were picturesque, and they would bring hordes of people from the City on hot summer nights to the Chevy Chase Lake, which was a venture that my father was interested in.
He helped to build an artificial lake, and around the lake there were electric lights and on the banks nearby there was amusement park much as we know of Glen Echo today. The Marine Band came out every evening and played semi classical music on the hillside. They played In a large shell that was glittering with electric lights and which was a sounding board for the music which thousands of people would sit on benches to hear. After about an hour of this amusement, the musics would go down to the lake where there was a large pavillion and there they would play dance music. It was interesting that all sorts of people of the day were chosen to come and exhibit their dancing, including Irene and Vernon Castle, who introduced their version of the cakewalk to the vast amusement of the onlookers.

J: and 1910.

L: born? When was this? This could have been between 1905. And you were too young to I don't remember them precisely . May I ask you in what year you were

J: I was born in 1902.

L: And was Chevy Chase Village established as a community at that time?

J: Oh, yes, indeed.

L: Now, your father settled here in what year?

J: Father came from Annapolis in about 1891. He was a young civil engineer, and he had had some experience in the building of railroads. And his Job at first was in the building of the street railway from downtown Washington to the Chevy Chase Lake.

L: And he met your mother while he was working.

J: My mother lived in a fantastic house on Connecticut Avenue, and it was her father, my Col. Armes grandfather./ who donated the land through his farm which now is Connecticut Avenue.

L: And she met your father as he was working...

J: Yes. He used to come to the house many times during the day on the excuse of wanting a drink of water, and my mother was a young and beautiful girl in her teens, and they became very much enamored of each other.

L: They were married and then he brought his parents to live here.

J: His parents were among the very rirst families to live in the very first house in the Village.

L: Where was that? N.W.

J: That was at the/corner of Connecticut Avenue and Irving Street.

L: And that is in the village?

J: That is in the Village, yes.

L: And how long did they live there?

J: They lived there a number of years and it became the first Post Office of the Village The rear part of the house had a room that was very conveniently made into a Post Office. Dennis Claude. And my grandfather/was actually the first Postmaster of the Village, and his daughter, my aunt, Miss Jessie Claude, was the first Postmistress. The post office They later moved/just a block away north of where their house was to what is today the Chevy Chase Village Hall.

L: How long was Miss Jessie Rostmistresrs?

MRS. JARVIS: Oh, Miss Jessie was there forever. She must have been there for 35 or 40 years. Until it became incorporated into the regular Postal system of the Washington area.

L: Did your father stay with the Chevy Chase Land Company throughout his life?

J: He did, yes. He became a Director of the Chevy Chase Land Company, and he was the Superintendent of the Street Railway Branch of the Capital Traction Company.

L: And where did you live in Chevy Chase? Where did you live first and then...

J: Well, first of all, we lived in North Chevy Chase which is not the Village, but which was where my father built the house for his bride. It was rather near the Dunlop place, called which is called (Hayes) Manor. But that house burned down in 1910, a fire which I'll never forget. And after that we came into the Village and lived on Lenox Street and Brookville Road.

L: Which is quite near here.

J: Yes, just one block away.

L: Chevy Chase Lake was beyond Bradley Lane andwas outside of the Village.

J: Yes, it was about two miles from the Chevy Chase Circle.

L: And this is where the amusement park was?

J: Yes.

L: Now, how would you characterize the people who chose to make their homes in Chevy Chase so far as education, economics, interests, so forth?

J: For the most part, they were Civil Service. They were people who had perhaps become the heads of their departments in the Civil Service, mostly government people. Not too wealth and yet not poor. Always well educated mostly" college bred people.

L: Can you remember some of the interesting people who lived in thV Village in the early days?

J: Oh, there were so many of them. The Stevens family, Eugene Stevens was among the first; the Parkers, the Dawsons, the Clephane's., the Verrill.s, the Macriiles, the Van Dyines , and many, many others.

L: What about the Northrops? I understand that they had one of the first cars.

J: Yes, the Northrops were a wonderful family. Mr. Northrop was the Chief Counsel for the Southern Railway, and each summer they would go to the mountains of, North Carolina. And one of the great treats that the neighborhood children had was in seeing them off when they started for Highlands, North Carolina. They had a Stanley Steamer that came out from town and took them down to Union Station, and the children would gather and, of course, laugh at the Stanley Steamer. It was most amusing. But that was among the first of the cars that I remember.

L: I assume that there weren't many cars that you can remember early in your life.

J: Very, very few and Mrs. Chandlee probably was the first woman driver. She lived on Lenox Street, very near Connecticut Avenue. And when she drove a car it was really a most amazing thing, because she was the first of the women drivers that I ever remember.

L: What year would you say that was?

J: That must have been just after 1910.

L: And the Corby brothers lived here?

J: The Corby brothers were a family who had established themselves in Washington as a famous bakery, and, Corby's Mother's Bread was the name of their family firm in Southeast Washington. They seemed to make a great thing of this bread which later was sold to the Bond Bread Company. And because they had a formula for yeast, the 'leishmann Yeast people bought them out at a fabulous sum; and they became one or the wealthiest families in the Village. They own the house that Senator Mewlands had built for himself, just to the north of Chevy Chase Circle.

L: Senator Newlands actually lived there?

J: Yes, he lived there a short time.

L: And then he sold it to

J: Then he sold it later to the Corby family, and they lived here for many, many years.

L: Who lives there now?

J: No one is living there now, Mrs. Corby died about three years ago, and the property was left to the Cathedral School for Girls, and we don't know what the present status of the house is.

L: And then there was Miss Given?

J: Miss Ella Given was the beloved principal of the E. V. Brown School. We loved her dearly.

L: She lived here?

J: She lived in the Village and was undoubtedly a person who molded the character of many, many of the children of the Village.

L: And Mrs. Jess'. Nicholson.

J: Mrs. Jesse Nicholson was.a fireball.' She was politically inclined, a good, earnest working Democrat. She was the leader and she really did get many, many agencies started in the Village, such as the American Red Cross, the (Pen) Women's League, the National Arts Society. And she was right in the thick of all of the politics of the day.

L: Do the Northrops still live here?

J: No. Edward Northrop is now a Federal Judge living in Baltimore.

L: And they've sold their house?

J: They've sold their house on Lenox Street.

L: Do you know who lives there now?

J: The family now is the (Winslow) family, an old Georgetown family.

L: Was there much community activity in the early days?

J: In the early days everyone was interested in either the Literary Society or in the politics of the day. The Village Hall, which we always called the Library, was the center of many activities having to do with politics and with dramatics and with dancing school activities
It was a center of activity all the time, and I remember so well the political speeches and the torchligh parades, which started from the Village Hall.

L: Was there a lot of church activity?

J: The church activity grew very steadily. The first church was the Episcopai Church, All Saints. Certainly, the Catholic Church began at a very early date, and they had their first services their first services were in the Chevy Chase Village Hall until they built their little chapel on Patterson Street. The Christian Scientists had their first services in the Village Hall. Of course, since then there have been the Presbyterians and the Baptists, who have beautiful. churches now near the Circle.

L: What about the Honorary Economical Epicurians?

J: That was a group of husbands who decided that they would like to have one day a week wherein they could do their own cooking, and it was rather interestinj because they were the counterpart of the Ladies Reading Class. The husbands gathered together and cooked one evening a week, and it must have been riotous because the stories are fantastic about what they came out with in the way of culinary efforts.

L: Did they meet at different people's houses?

J: At different people's houses each week. There were eight or ten of them and they were I have a picture of them, and they're fantastic.

L: Do you remember the names of any of the people involved?

J: Yes, Mr. Cliff Richards was one, Mr. Tom Robertson was another, Mr. Clarence Dawson was another, Mr. C. D. Parker, and there were several others.

L: And how long did they meet, how many years?

J: Oh, I suppose three or four, not more than that.

L: You were never invited to a dinner party?

J: We were never invited.

L: What about political organizations? Were there any political clubs?

J: Well, there were great fanfares about (Brooke Lee) in the early days, and many of these civilian, Civil Service government workers were Republican. And they would have their meetings at the Village Hall, but I remember only the Democratic ones. And they were colorful and very gay and quite lively.

L: And the political leaders?

J: Mrs. Nicholson was always out front in those affairs.

L: And she was a Democrat?

J: She was a Democrat.

L: Who were some of the others?

J: Well, Mr. Dawson, Mr. Parker, and Mr. Robertson, Mr. Cliff Richards, and there were many who were in that Honorary Epicurian group that were all Republicans.

L: How did the vote go?

J: Well, as I recall, Chevy Chase was always nip and tuck. One year it would be strongly Republican and the next year it would go Democratic. It never seemed to be just one sided.

L: There wasn't a pattern?

J: Never, never a real pattern.

L: What about the organization of the Chevy Chase Club?

J: The Chevy Chase Club was started not at their present location, but down on the old Bannockburn:, golf course, which was just in back of the Episcopal Church over in what is now Saks Fifth Avenue store area. They were there just a very short time, and then they bought the Bradley farm which is their present location. But they were not started actually as a golf club. They were started as a hunt club, and that meant beautiful horses and fox hunting throughout the Village.
It was colorful and it was very interesting indeed.

L: And then when did it become a golf club?

J: Well, golf became very popular after the early 1905, 1906 and the Presidents would often come out to play golf at the Chevy Chase Club, who I remember particularly President Taft /was a great member of the Chevy Chase Club, and President Wilson, Woodrow Wilson later. It became a very popular and very exclusive club, which it still is today.

L: How did one become eligible for membership?

J: I don't know the real rules about it. "first of all, one had to be a person who stood well In his public life. It was expensive. The fees for belonging to the club were very high. And the qualifications were that one had to be a very wellthougbt= of professional man. I remember there was a time when no merchants were invited to become members of the club, and ? think that the diplomatic corps was always welcomed as members. Doctors and lawyers were the largest body of membership, I would think.

L: But merchants are members now?

J: Oh, I'm sure they are, yes. Many changes have taken place since then. MS.

L: You never belonged?

J: My father was asked to be a charter member, but he, being a young married man with quite a family, said, "I'm sure I can't afford to be a member of the Chevy Chase Club," so while his dues and his initiation. fee would have been paid for, he declined the opportunity.

L: Your mother was a member of the Ladies

J: She was indeed.

L: And what did they read?

J: They read all kinds of interesting books of the day. I have a book of their early minutes, dating from about 1907. One of them I would like very much to read, on the organization of the club. This is a record of the meeting dated January 20th, 1907, and I will read just a brief section of it. They met and organized on Tuesday, January the 20th, 1907, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. The attendance numbered 18. It was decided to hold monthly meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month, October to May, inclusive. The October meeting to be the annual business meeting for the election of officers and so forth. There were to be no dues. Refreshments were to be limited to the lightest sort, and the membership was limited to the members of the Chevy Chase Association. Officers for 1907 were elected. The President, first President was Mr. R. P. (Teale), Secretary was Mrs. S. .S.Paschal , Program Committee, :ors. E. E. Stevens, Miss 1V[ackrillf,nd Mr. Tom E. Robertson.

L: This is the Ladies Reading Class?

J: No, this is the Literary Club, and they had their mixed meetings, and they had very interesting readings. For instance, in one section in 1909 they had a meeting that was most interesting. They had the first part of the entertainment which was a Harvard sketch, entitled "A Serious Situation in Burley's Room," and this as followed the "The Rivals," a translation from the French. This was done, and then they read the "lousetrap", a farce by William Dean Howell. They were always having travelogues or book reviews or dramatic sketches, and it is immensely interesting to look through these Minutes and see what sort of meetings they did have.

L: And what was the membership at its peak?

J: At its peak, it was about 35 members. But members could bring guests, and sometimes they had.

L: Now, this was the Literary group.

J: This was the Literary Club, yes.

L: Was there another one called the Ladies Reading Class?

J: Yes. That was in the afternoons, and that was just for the ladies. This other club was a mixture of men and women and took place in the evenings.

L: And did you mention before when the Library was organized?

J: The Libraryvas organized by one of the Newlands daughters, and Miss Birney, who collected a large number of books and placed them in what is now the Village Hall. I don't believe they had a librarian, as we know it today, but it was open certain evenings of the week, and one could go and borrow books, if you signed a little book.

L: And how long did that last in that situation?

J: That went on for off. and on a period of perhaps eight years.

L: And your mother remained a member no, I was going back to the Reading Club, is there any other interesting thing that is in the minutes that you would like to mention? I think they are fascinating.

J: Well, it is interesting to know that they were very absorbed in music, and certain musicaleswere given throughout the year. And they really were well attended, and there was quite a lot of local talent, in playing the piano or in singing.

L: Are there any particular names that come to mind?

J: My mother was one of the ones who had a beautiful contralto voice. She sang not only at private weddings, but she sang at all the churches, regardless of their type of church. She sang in the Episcopalian Church, in the Catholic Church and numerous places. But I don't recall any of the other people who sang particularly.

L: Were there any musicians of note?

J: Not of real note, as we know them today, but there was a definite interest in good music and in classical selections.

L: Did you ever attend Maryland public schools?

J: Oh, yes now, wait a minute, Maryland public schools?

L: Yes.

J: No. I always went to the D. C. public schools just on the other side of the circle. I once enrolled myself in a Maryland public school, and when my father heard about it, he said, "Indeed, you are not going to that public school."

L: What school was that?

MRS. JARVIS: This was the old Rosemary School, which was just beginning and was in a private house. And since several of my friends were going to go, I just went up, when I was about 10 or 12 years old, and enrolled myself. And when the day for attending came about, I said, "I'm off to school." And my father said, "Where are you going?" And I said, "I'm going to the Maryland public school. "Indeed, you are not," said my father. "You're going back to the D. C. public school." And there I went, although my father had to pay tuition at that time for me to attend the public school In the District, because he was not a government worker.

L: Was this Rosemary School on the site that the Chevy Chase Land Company had given?

J: No, that was outside the Village. The Chevy Chase Land Company gave the land in the District, for the E. V. Brown School, but not for the Rosemary School.

L: I see, and you attended the --

J: And I attended the B. C. school, the E. V. Brown School, which had as its principal that marvelous Miss Ella Given.

L: And then you went to high school --

J: Then I went in town to the Central High School, and then later to the Normal School, and finally I became a teacher in my old gradeschool in the E. V. Brown School, where I taught for five and a half years.

L: Was there another little school that you went to, a little private school in the Village?

J: In the earliest days, when we lived at the Chevy Chase Lake, my mother would .put me on the streetcar with our Irish setter dog, and we would get off at Bradley Lane and Connecticut Avenue and attend the little school run by Miss Mactier. Now, there were probably no more than eight students, and I'm sure we didn't learn a great deal, because we were far more interested in the cookies on the sideboard of the dining room than we were in, learning. But I'm sure we learned a little bit of French. it was Frere Jacques: , that I remember most, but as for real learning we were of various ages, and I'm sure we didn't learn a great deal.

L: Was this pre school, kindergarten age?

J: Supposedly kindergarten age, but there seemed to be all ages, ranging up to about 12 years of old.

L: And the E. V. Brown School went from first grade through -

J: First grade through eighth grade.

L: And did most of the youngsters from Chevy Chase Village go to the E. V. Brown School?

J: Most of them did., yes.

L: And this was became of convenience or because the Maryland schools were considered inferior?

J: We though at the time certainly father did that the Maryland schools were inferior.

L: So even though you had to pay tuition, you were sent -

J: To the District school, yes.

L: Is the E. V. Brown School still in existence?

J: No, it's been replaced by the Lafayette School, and the Ben Murch School. The E. V. Brown School now is a recreation center where there is a very fine library and where there are facilities for recreation andhobby studies, but not for formal education.

L: In what year did the children from this area start going to Maryland schools?

J: Well, my guess would be about 1912 to '14, that the Maryland schools got underway.

L: And what schools did this area feed into at that point?

J: That would be the Rosemary School and later the -- Leland Junior High School and, finally, the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.

L: The Chevy Chase Village is a. special taxing area with some home rule powers given by the General Assembly in 1914. Why did the residents seek this status?

J: Well, I suspect that it was because of politics, that it seemed to be very one sided, mostly Republicans were our first mayor of the Village was Mr. William (Curtis), who had a great following of Republicans, and they were ruling without Charter and without benefit of being incorporated. And someone had the bright idea in 1914 that the Village should be incorporated.

L: And before that you had a mayor?

J: Yes, Mr. Curtis was the unannounced mayor. He sort of was a single dictator. He was more interested than anyone else, apparently; but I don't recall that there were any formal elections. It just sort of took the way of least resistance.

L: Someone was appointed?

J: It was rather nebulous, it was finally declared unconstitutional. And it was then in 1914 that they got to work on really seriously being incorporated.

L: Has there ever been any resentment against Village taxes?

J: To my knowledge, no. They have always been on the low side. They now are set up so that we have a Board of Managers numbering seven. We have an annual meeting, much like the town meetings of New England, where we set our own tax rate and where the report is given each year by the Chairman of the Board of Managers. 32 The Board of Managers serve without pay, and are elected for two year terms of office. I was on the Board for 12 years, and I felt that it was definitely non political No one asked me whether I was Republican or Democrat when I served on that Board.

L: When was that?

J: From 1950 until 1962.

L: I understand that in 54 years there have been only six women elected to this office?

J: That's about right, I would guess.

L: Is that because residents don't believe in equal opportunity for women or --

J: I don't think so. I think It's because there are not too many women who are interested in projecting themselves as Village managers.

L: In your term, were there any particularly crises?

J: We had many zoning problems. We also added to the Village the section first known as Section 1 and 1 A, which included the area down below the Circle, on the Grafton Street extended section over to Wisconsin Avenue over to what is the Chevy Chase Center. That area was added to the Village during my administration. During my administration we had quite a squabble over the Saks Fifth Avenue store coming into the Village, which was resolved, and I'm glad to say that the Saks Fifth Avenue has proven to be a very successful venture as far as the Village goes.

L: In what respect?

J: Well, I think that they have brought more tax money into the Village, and I think they are a very dignified and well run store, and certainly they take up a large amount of space that would otherwise perhaps be given over to rather honky tonky places of business. I am very glad that the Saks Fifth Avenue people are so well thought of and so well managed.

L: And is this the general feeling of the residents?

J: I'm sure it is, although there were bitter fights about it, principally by the people who lived in the area of the Saks Fifth Avenue store.

L: I remember those. Were there any other particular crises that you had to deal with?

J: Not at the time. I think that during my term of office things went along very smoothly; there were no big problems. We didn't have as much crime in the Village then. We had the use of one policeman on a part time schedule, and I don.'t believe that there were any outstanding problems in that period at all.

L: How many policemen do you have now? .

J: I think there are now three. We have had to expand.

L: How many members are on the Board of Managers?

J: There are seven members and their terms are staggered. They're voted for for terms of two years, and each year there will be three that are retiring and four that are to be elected. And the next year there will be four to be elected and three that will be retiring.

L: And they are elected at a

J: At the annual meeting, usually in April.

L: And the residents are all invited.

J: All are invited to come to that meeting, and It's always very well attended.

L: There is a big turn out?

J: Yes, yes.

L: And is this a vote by ballot?

J: Yes.

L: You are Director of the National Garden Club?

J: It's the Garden Club of America with headquarters in New York.

L: And you were President of the Garden Club in the Village?

J: Are very civic minded. interested in conservation of Chevy Chase, I was. And they are very active? Yes, they are very active, and they Right now they are tremendously tion, ecology and in recycling of paper, recylcing of glass, I think they are doing a very noble and very good job.

L: And a very important one. Who are some of the residents who have given civic'' leadership to the Community in recent years?

J: Well, certainly r. Carroll (Morgan) who died about a year ago was an outstanding member of the Board of Managers over a long period of time. He was particularly interested in the trees of the Village. He was very unhappy over the Dutch elm disease, which we had for so long a time, and he was interested in the finances of the Village. He was a very, very keen and astute businessman and very much dedicated to affairs of the Village. Mr. Arthur Lambert was the Village Chairman of the Board of Managers for many years. He's now on the building Council, and he, too, has had the interest of the Village very much at heart. Mr. Edward Northrup, who is now Federal Judge in Baltimore, was once Manager of the Village, and then the Legal Advisor to the Board of 'Managers; and then he became our State Representative in Annapolis. He was an outstanding person in the Village. Mr. Arthur Defender was Chairman of the Board for 17 or 18 years, and he was very aware of the needs of the Village. Mr. George (Ferris) served the longest time of any on the Board of Managers, retiring only about a year ago. He was excellent in all of his viewpoints and :interests in the Village. There have been many others. Mr. Donald Kistler, who is the President of. the Board of Managers right now, is earnestly and sincerely interested in the affairs. Mr. Leonard Humphrey has been a member. o f the Board for a long time. But of the earlier ones, I would say that Col. ;lephane` % was tremendously interested in the affairs, as was Mr. William S. Garland, Mr. Herbert Hoover rather, not Herbert Hoover, George Hoover I'm sorry. Mr. 3eorge B. Hoover served as.a Manager on the Board of Managers. Mr. William Corby, Mr. (Gottlieb) were among the early members. Judge Pealle was perhaps the first Manager of the Village, the first Chairman of the Board of Managers.
There have been many. Of the women, I would say Mrs. (Ord), Mrs. (Platt), Mrs. Olive Cobb, Mrs. Jessie Nicholson, she was very interested in all of the affairs of the Village. I hope I haven't left any out. It's always true that I might skip someone.

L: Are there any families who were living in the Village when you were a child who are still here today?

J: Oh, very, very few. I think the VanDyne sister is on ,Kirke Street. Carroll Morgan was here for many years, but he died last year. His wife is still on Quincy Street. But there are very few of the real old families of the Village that I can recall now.

L: What kind of newcomers seem to be attracted to the Village?

J: They are mostly with the government. There some who are retired service people, Army and Navy and Marine Corps, but I would say, generally speaking, they are people who are coming to work for the government. But we have many lawyers in the Village. A great number of doctors are living here, and scientists we have always had a goodly number of scientists.

L: And what do you think are the particular attractions?

J: I think the privacy of the Village is the main one. No one is gossiping about you. There is a great deal of letting people alone, letting then follow their own way of living. I don't think that there's a great deal of communi spirit, but perhaps that's a good thing. Each one is here just as a little island unto himself. I don't think that many people want to congregate and fuss and fume over issues. I think that they prefer to be left alone, and it's privacy that they really desire.

L: And the wide streets and beautiful homes.

J: And the quietness of it.

L: Have the property values been sustained?

J: Oh, I'm sure they've gone up all the time. I think that anyone owning property in the Village is very apt to be very happy about it, because it can't help but always be desir able. There are no vacant lots on which one can build in the Village now. The Village now has finished its building completely.

L: So this i.s the capacity.

J: This is the capacity.

L: There won't be any more houses built -

J: I think not.

L: Which in itself would be an attraction, because they know exactly what the character of it will be.

J: Yes.

L: Are there any particularly difficult problems that face the Village today?

J: Well, of course, the chief one perhaps Is crime. We're all very aware that we're so close to the District line that we are apt to have people who come from the District to commit crimes in the Village, and that's what we are constantly guarding. against. I feel that zoning, not within the Village itself, but on the areas that border on the Village, is one of the prime interests of the Village. We don't want to see vast high rise apartments and large business centers adjoining the Village. I think we would like to keep our residential atmosphere.

L: One constantly hears that the land on which the Chevy Chase Club is will probably someday will be sold for development. Do you think there is any validity to that?

J: In the earliest plans of the Village, it's true that the streets that are now on the east side of Avenue Connecticut/were continued through the Chevy Chase Club grounds. For instance, Oxford Street, Primrose Street, Quincy Street were extended through what is now the Chevy Chase Club; that is, in the original plans. But unless the Club finds it too expensive to stay within the Village, I doubt there will be any changes in the next ten or twenty years.

L: And what other areas which are continuous are in danger of being rezoned?

J: Well, that section down to the west of Wisconsin Avenue, where there is to be a terminal from the subway coming out from Washington, it's apt to be very changed in the future; and that is something we are hoping will not bring great traffic jams and great parking problems. But it's bound to be one section in which there will be changes in the next few years.

L: What are the boundaries of the Village?

J: Well, the boundaries of the Village actually are only from the Chevy Chase Circle west to Wisconsin on which the Chevy Chase Club is will probably someday will be sold for development. Do you think there is any validity to that?

J: In the earliest plans of the Village, it's true that the streets that are now on the east side of Avenue Connecticut/were continued through the Chevy Chase Club grounds. For instance, Oxford Street, Primrose Street, Quincy Street were extended through what is now the Chevy Chase Club; that is, in the original plans. But unless the Club finds it too expensive to stay within the Village, I doubt there will be any changes in the next ten or twenty years.

L: And what other areas which are continous are in danger of being rezoned?

J: Well, that section down to the west of Wisconsin Avenue, where there is to be a terminal from the subway coming out from Washington, it's apt to be very changed in the future; and that is something we are hoping will not bring great traffic jams and great parking problems. But it's bound to be one section in which there will be changes in the next few years.

L: What are the boundaries of the Village.

J: Well, the boundaries of the Village actually are only from the Chevy Chase Circle west to Wisconsin Avenue, north to Bradley Lane, east to Brookville Road, down Brookville Road to the Chevy Chase Circle again.

L: The Chevy Chase Circle is a part of the Village?

J: Yes, it is. The boundary line goes half through the Chevy Chase Circle, between the District and Maryland, but the whole area of the circle is administered by the District Government, because it was dedicated as a part of the public parks of Washington., So it is maintained by the Capital Parks Association.

L: But it is actually part of...

J : It is a part of the Village.

L: And was this dedicated to Senator Newlands?

J: The circle the fountain in the circle was dedicated to him in 1933, the memorial fountain. Thecircle itself was dedicated many years prior to that to the D, C, Government because of the maintenance that is required.

L: When was this? When was the fountain dedicated to Senator Newlands?

J: In 1933.

L: Going back to the earlier times, you described the fire service in a charming way to me the last time I met you. Could you tell me about it?

J: Well, the earliest fire equipment was very primitive. It consisted of just a little four wheeled vehicle that I remember so well, because it had to be drawn by the men of the Village. It was purely voluntary, and when there was a fire, there was a great gong; outside of the Rost Office which was a large circular ring of iron and there was a great mallet that one would use to strike this ring. And it made a tremendous sound that one could hear all over the Village.
Then those who were a part of the voluntary fire department would rush over to the village office and, in the basement of the Village Hail there was this strange littl vehicle that had nothing more than a garden hose wound around it. And these men would rush it down the street to the fire. I'm sure it was completely inadequate. In the earliest days the nearest fire service that we had was from Tenleytown, which is near Sears Roebuck, and that would be, oh, at least a mile and a half away from the Village on Wisconsin Avenue at Tenley Circle. And nor, in more recent years, we have the very up to date and excellent fire department just opposite the Columbia Country Club on Connecticut Avenue, which is very suitable and very adequate who And we have a member of our Board of Managers/is appointed a delegate to the Fire Board or some other member from the Village is appointed by the Board to be a delegate to the fire department.

L: Were there many fires in the early days?

J: Well, not many, but I remember the few that there would be. There was always great excitement, and usually frame buildingsbecause nearly every house is a frame building in the Village.

L: Still?

J: Yes, I would say that the majority of the houses are wooden houses. Some are stone, a few are brick.

L: How many houses are there, do you know?

J: I would guess somewhere between 450 and 475.

L: In the entire --

J: In the Village itself; that is, in 1 and Section 2.

L: And the lots have still been inaintaine~ as large, fairly large.

J: Yes. There is a restriction, no lot can be less than 60 foot frontage. We made a change in the laws about that when I was on the Board of Managers, new saying that no/lot could be less than 75 foot frontage, because people were inclined to subdivide their lots; and we felt that that was a bad thing, and that we wanted to make the lots much make them wider. So I think now one has to have a lot no less than 75 feet.

L: I don't think we talked about the did we talk about the organization of the Women's Club of Chevy Chase?

J: I don't know a great deal about that, because it's just outside the Village.

L: Oh, it's not in the Village?

J: It's not in the Village itself. Many belong of my friends who live in the Village/and the building is so beautiful. It is very near the fire house Columbia and hear the library just opposite the/Country Club.

L: I don't know what made me think that was part of the Village. But you would say that quite a few of the women --

J: Oh, I'm sure there are many here in the Village who are members.

L: Well, I think that we've covered must of the political, cultural and economic history. Are there any other things that you would like to add?

J: I can't think of anything else now. It's been a great joy to live here now for more than 65 years. I hope I live another 20 years in the Village.

L: I'm sure you will. Thank ; you very much.

J: Well, you're most welcome. It's been my great pleasure.





Bradshaw, Officer (early policeman), taught young to drive, 50
Brainard, Sylvia, believed in fairies, 34
Chevy Chase, Maryland, 8, 10, 39, 49
communication between neighbors nowadays less, 39
crime, very little crime in early days (1915), 49
land covenants prevented Jews, blacks and Iranians from buying in parts of Chevy Chase, 10
outside Washington, DC, so that residents could vote, 8
Chevy Chase, Village of, 43, 45, 47, 63
Board of Managers, 43, 45
problems for Board, 45
Oliver Street sidewalk, 45
Saks Fifth Avenue, 45
secretary always a woman, 43
boundary runs down middle of Grove Street , 47
changes over time, 63
higher taxes, 63
more landscaping and maintenance, 63
Chevy Chase Club, 67
used by presidents, 67
Chevy Chase Land Company, 4
spent $3 million on transport for Chevy Chase, 4
Chevy Chase Inn (4-H Center property), 7, 9
built 1893 to promote Chevy Chase Land Company., 7
served dollar dinners 5-8 pm, 9
Chevy Chase Garden Club, 52
started 1926 in Mrs. Corby's house, 52
Chevy Chase Land Company, formed about 1893, 1, 7-8
Claude, Mr., 57
Connecticut Avenue, 69
used to sleigh across, 69
Corby family, 51-52
mother's bread made money, 51
covenants, 10
land covenants prevented Jews, blacks and Iranians from buying in parts of Chevy Chase, 10
Fisher Company, Thomas J., 14
held mortgages, 14
Grove Street, 47


INDEX
Jarvis, Edith Claude, 23-24, 43

career of, 3, 21, 23-24, 27, 32-33,38-39, 57, 43

Chevy Chase, Village of, on Board of Managers 12 years 1950-62, 43

ran teachers' agency plus, school advisory bureau 7 years, 24

worked as messenger in RFC after WWII, 23

family of, 3, 21, 27, 32-33, 57

Aunt Marie went to pieces, lived with sister in Chevy Chase, 33

children of, 27, 57

came to stay, sometimes scared at loneliness, 27

children, aged 7, lost: found at Pinehurst Circle by Mr. Claude, 57

grandfather chosen to build tramway 'all the way out," 3

had freedom of Village and more, 32

husband of, 21

married 1940, 21

meeting with Mr. Jarvis and watermelon, 21

games of, 38

"Sheep, sheep, run" a communal game played by children, 38

neighbors of, 39

Key, Francis Scott, ceremony in Frederick June 7, in 1987, 7

Literary Club, 1907-8, met monthly in next-door house, 4

Northrop family, 58

had Stanley Steamer car and private car on train, 58

Octagon House, 16

names of original architects of Octagon house downtown, 16

Oliver Street, sidewalk, 4

Pinehurst Circle, 5

Saks Fifth Ave., 45

Taft, President, 67

Taft Bridge built about 1910, 34

Trolley, 6

Underground in first part, then trolley to Chevy Chase Lake, 6

Union Trust Company, 14

held mortgages, 14

Wilson, President Woodrow, 67

World War II, 23