The land adjacent to Woodside Park along Dale Drive was held by two land owners. The lots now
facing the north side of Dale Drive from Crosby Road east to (and including) 1227 Dale Drive,
the lots on the south side of Dale Drive from 1320 Dale Drive east to 1230 Dale Drive (inclusive),
the lots facing both sides of Midwood Road from (and including) 9212 and 9213 Midwood Road
north to Dale Drive, and the land immediately north of the Woodside Park lots along the north
side of Dale Drive from Crosby Road west toward Georgia Avenue were owned by Jacob S.
Gruver and his wife Annie, who purchased the area from Clarence B. Hight, Jr., in 1930. The land
on the northeast side of Dale Drive southeast of 1227 Dale Drive to Colesville Road was owned
by James A. Watson, his wife, and, later, their heirs.
Jacob S. Gruver and his son Fulton R. Gruver were the first to develop land adjacent to Woodside Park. Jacob S. Gruver was an experienced Washington builder who had been born in 1870. By 1904 he had begun building "Gruver-built" homes "noted for their high standards" in Washington. He died in 1950 when he was hit by a car while walking across Connecticut Avenue at Livingston Street, NW. Fulton R. Gruver took over the development of Woodside Forest in 1937, when Jacob S. Gruver was 66. In 1939 Fulton R. Gruver built the large house on the hill at 9315 Crosby Road on five lots of the second section of Woodside Forest, which was then being developed. He lived there, overseeing the development of the neighborhood around him, until 1953.
Jacob S. Gruver subdivided almost all of his land along what is now Dale Drive and established "Woodside Forest Section One" in January 1936. Five months later Mr. Gruver and the Woodside Development Corporation jointly filed a plan to "tidy up" the lots at the boundary of their two subdivisions. Crosby Road on the north side of Dale Drive was moved approximately 105 feet west, placing the entire Crosby Road right-of-way on the north side of Dale on Woodside Development Corporation land and creating the "jog" found today on Crosby Road at Dale Drive. Six lots on the southeast corner of Dale Drive and Midwood Road were redefined to contain land from both subdivisions. The lots created, except for one, were comparable in size to the other lots in Section 1 of Woodside Forest. They ranged from a little more than 5,000 square feet to about 10,000 square feet. One of the lots was more like the lots in Woodside Park; it was over 22,000 square feet. In July 1937 the Gruvers platted Woodside Forest Section Two. This plat took advantage of the fact that Crosby Road on the north side of Dale Drive had been moved west. A new lot, which now contains the home at 1329 Dale Drive, was established between Crosby Road and the existing lots to the east on the north side of Dale Drive. The plat for Woodside Forest Section Two also contained an almost unbuildable lot on the south side of Columbia Boulevard near Dale Drive. This lot and the Woodside Park lot at the corner of Dale Drive and Columbia Boulevard were redefined a year later to make it more feasible to built on both lots.
Woodside Forest Sections One and Two were only the beginning of Jacob S. Gruver and Fulton R. Gruver's efforts to develop the area north of Woodside Park. By the mid-1950s the Gruvers had developed all of the Woodside Forest neighborhood north of Dale Drive and had built about 350 homes in the process, but the homes facing Dale Drive and those facing Midwood Road south of Dale Drive were built first and were considered by neighborhood residents to be a part of Woodside Park even though their deeds made reference to Woodside Forest.
J.S. Gruver & Son or (beginning in September 1937) Fulton R. Gruver built most of the houses along the center section of Dale Drive, although they did sell a few lots to other builders or persons who wanted to have their own house built. The Gruvers' practice of building most of the houses in their development is in sharp contrast to the practice of the Woodside Development Corporation which mostly sold lots and built very few houses itself.
Another contrast with Woodside Park was the restrictions language used in Woodside Forest
deeds. Houses erected in Woodside Forest had to cost at least $5,000 (1997 equivalent: $57,100)
unless specifically approved by Jacob S. Gruver, not the $6,000 (1997 equivalent: $68,500) or
more required in Woodside Park. Some deeds included language stating that houses had to be
built at least as far back from the street as the houses on either side; the plat for Woodside Forest
showed a 40 foot building restriction line, as was also customary in Woodside Park, so the deed
language may have been unnecessary. There were no restrictions on commercial uses as found in
many Woodside Park deeds. Racial restrictions were more blatantly stated, but equal in effect, to
those in Woodside Park. The deeds said:
said land and premises shall not be rented, occupied by, leased, sold, transferred to or conveyed
unto or in trust for any negro or colored person or any person of negro extraction.
Unlike Woodside Park restrictions, those in Woodside Forest were essentially perpetual; they did
not expire on a specified date. They could be changed, in theory at least, but the language on who
had to agree to changes was so vague that any change was probably impossible in any practical
sense. The relevant clause said:
it being mutually covenanted and agreed that the aforegoing covenants shall be effective and
remain in force until such time as the owners of a majority of the lots of Woodside Forest and
adjacent territory shall agree to abrogate and nullify the same, such agreement to be expressed in
writing duly acknowledged and recorded among the Land Records of Montgomery County,
One of the few Woodside Forest houses that the Gruvers did not build was the home at 1320 Dale Drive. It was built in 1936 for E. Francis and Betty McDevitt by Joseph D. Clagett and Julius P. Stadler's Woodside Construction Company. Frank B. Proctor was the architect. The front portion of this lot had been owned by Jacob S. Gruver, but was not included in the Woodside Forest Section One subdivision. Gruver acquired the rear portion of the lot, which was platted as part of a lot in Woodside Park, and then platted the consolidated lot as lot 42 in block N-3 of Woodside Park.
The new Gruver homes along Dale Drive first gained major public attention in October 1936 when three of them were selected as Washington Post model homes. The home at 1314 Dale Drive was the first of the three. It was open for inspection daily until 9 p.m. A five column wide photo of the house was at the top of page 1 of the Post's real estate section on October 25, 1936. A long story described the home and the Woodside Forest development of 350 homes to be built around it. Woodside Forest was described as heavily wooded with old and stately oak, elm, and maple trees; all the homes were to be built on wooded lots. Two elementary schools were said to be nearby, as was "the largest junior high school in the county" (Montgomery Hills), and a new senior high school (Montgomery Blair) "being erected on the edge of the park, just a few blocks down Dale Drive." The Woodside Forest model home was also said to be close to the Argyle and Indian Springs Country Clubs, the "progressive Silver Spring shopping center," and bus transportation on both Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.
The home itself was described in the long article as having an "inviting portal, set in a dignified gabled arched facade of stone." The interior had a central hall and stairway flanked by a living room and dining room and kitchen. The kitchen was complete with gas appliances. To the rear was a paneled den. Upstairs were four bedrooms and two baths. There was also a garage and full basement. The price was $11,250 (1997 equivalent: $128,400).
A week later the Washington Post again described the home, but the story was almost identical to the previous week's story. The story was illustrated this time with a picture of the home's living room. The home was also featured in a Post article the following week; a photo of the dining room was published, but the article was once again virtually unchanged from the previous two weeks. J.S. Gruver and Son also ran large ads for the home each week.
On November 15, 1936, a front page story in the Washington Post's real estate section said the model home had been sold and introduced the second Gruver model home. The new one was 1310 Dale Drive, which was priced at $11,750 (1997 equivalent: $134,100). This home was described in similar terms to the home at 1314 Dale Drive although it only had three bedrooms on the second floor rather than four. A week later the Post reported that this second model home had also been sold. On November 29th the Post printed a picture of the house saying it had been sold but that the third model home was still available.
The third model was 1304 Dale Drive. The Washington Post never described it in articles or showed its picture, and it did not sell as promptly as the first two models. It was advertised in the Evening Star as well as the Post. The home was described by the Evening Star in January 1937 when it was sold to New York Yankees outfielder Alvin (Jake) Powell (a former Washington Senator). It was described as an "English" style home with nine rooms and two baths. Powell purchased the house shortly after hitting .455 in the 1936 World Series for the Yankees. He sold the home a month after he purchased it to John A. Dugan. Montgomery County land records include a substantial number of transactions by Alvin Powell, so it is likely that he purchased the home as an investment rather than to live in it.
Powell may not have been the only investor involved with the three Washington Post model homes. County land records indicate that all three houses were transferred to Russell H. Pryor two weeks before the first of the articles appeared in the Post. Land records also include a number of other transactions by Pryor in Woodside Forest Section One; some of them were purchases by Pryor from Gruver and then a resale to Gruver on the same day after Pryor secured a loan for which the property was security. Although he may have been an investor, Pryor was more likely a Gruver employee whose name was used in financial transactions and to hide the true ownership of the homes from potential buyers.
On March 14, 1937, the Washington Post printed a large picture captioned "BEGINNING AND COMPLETION--The substantial start and the artistic finish of Woodside Forest Homes are shown in this picture. In this close-in Maryland development, J.S. Gruver & Son have started an impressive building program in a lovely wooded area adjoining the Sligo Park reservation. Waple & James, Inc. is sales agent." The "completion" referred to in the caption was 1305 Dale Drive. The "beginning" was 1301 Dale Drive, which was shown with its first floor framework completed. The home at 1305 Dale Drive was first advertised that same day with additional ads throughout the spring. The ads always simply showed a large picture of the home and noted: "We can't fully describe the beauty of this new brick home, so we ask you to see it for yourself today." The ads did carry the "Carefree Comfort with Modern Gas Appliances" logo, so potential buyers had some information beyond the picture. The home had four bedrooms, two baths, and a recreation room in addition to other features. In mid-December the Evening Star ran a picture of the house and said it had been sold to Mr. and Mrs. James W. Gessford.
The home at 1301 Dale Drive was completed during 1937. It was a three-bedroom, two-bath, center hall brick Colonial. The first floor contained a living room, dining room, kitchen, and paneled den. French doors led from the living room to a large screened side porch. The bedrooms were on the second floor, above which was a finished attic. The basement contained a recreation room and garage.
In mid-May 1937 the brick and half-timbered English home at 1234 Dale Drive was advertised one time by "J.S. Gruver & Son, Developers" for $12,950 (1997 equivalent: $143,100); it apparently sold quickly. Potential buyers were advised to "see the den with exposed beam ceiling, its paneled recreation room with cozy fire place. See the four well-proportioned bedrooms and two gleaming tile baths, its finished attic, and its fully equipped kitchen. Carefree comfort with modern gas appliances." The home also had a reception hall, 14' x 22' living room with a fireplace and opening to a screened porch, "guest size" dining room, kitchen, and lavatory on the first floor. It had a slate roof, copper gutters and downspouts, and a built-in garage.
From August 1937 through February 1938 the new "Tree Shaded Home in Woodside Forest" at 1300 Dale Drive (the southwest corner of Dale Drive and Midwood Road) was offered. This was the first home in Woodside Forest for which the builder was specified as Fulton R. Gruver rather than J.S. Gruver and Son. The home itself was described as "beautifully suburban, yet just beyond the city's edge." In addition to the living room, dining room, and kitchen, it had a den and lavatory on the first floor, three bedrooms and two baths on the second floor, a basement recreation room, and an attached garage. It also had a maid's room and lavatory in the basement. The living room was 13½' by 25' and had a fireplace. The master bedroom was almost as large and had two closets. The home also had "carefree comfort with modern gas appliances." The house was "furnished by Hilda Miller" and used as a model home at least part of the time until it was sold. It was purchased in May 1938 along with half of the vacant lot immediately south of the home on Midwood Road. The Washington Post printed a picture of the house in June 1938 and reported that it had been sold to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Voelker.
The new Gruver home at 1321 Dale Drive was the next Woodside Forest home advertised. It was offered from September 1937 to April 1938. Features noted were its paneled den, 2-car built-in garage, first floor lavatory, maid's quarters in basement, and paneled recreation room. The Evening Star printed a large picture of the home and reported its sale to Mr. and Mrs. Elmer G. Donaldson in June 1938.
The English style partly half-timbered brick home at 1309 Dale Drive, although never advertised in its own right, was also built during 1937. In mid-October both the Evening Star and the Washington Post printed its picture and reported its sale to Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Cobb, Jr. The Cobbs had actually purchased the home in February; theirs was the first Woodside Forest lot sale recorded in county land records. The home itself had a living room with fireplace off the entrance hall as well as a "family sized" dining room and kitchen. The second floor had four bedrooms and two baths. There was also a recreation room with fireplace, side screened porch, built-in garage, and "dormitory type" finished attic.
The house at 1230 Dale Drive was also completed about this time. It was another of the few houses in Woodside Forest Section One that was not built by the Gruvers. The brick home was built "with the finest materials and workmanship" for Mr. and Mrs. George C. Cook by W.H. Liming and Sons. It had six rooms, but one was left unfinished. The first floor included a living room with fireplace and "pine paneled bookshelves." The home also had 2½ baths, a recreation room, copper guttering and window screens, a built-in garage, and a slate roof. A photo of the newly completed house appeared on the first page of the Evening Star's real estate section in late November 1937.
The next Woodside Forest Section One home to be offered was 9214 Midwood Road, which was advertised periodically from January to July 1938. The home was furnished by Hilda Miller and apparently used as a model since some ads noted that other homes were also available; by July, however, the home at 9214 Midwood Road was listed as the only house left "of this fine medium priced group." The house had six rooms, two baths, two fireplaces, screened porch, finished room in the attic, built-in garage, "carefree comfort with modern gas appliances," and forty large trees and fifteen dogwoods on its 160 foot deep lot.
The home at 1329 Dale Drive was advertised from late April to late June 1938. The home was described as "a big center-hall brick [Colonial] located on a large corner lot amid young tall timber that took ½ century to grow." It had six rooms, two complete baths, breakfast room, double insulated attic, and built-in telephone conduit. The living room was described as running across the entire house and having an open fireplace. The home also had a screened side porch and built-in garage. Gruver had apparently abandoned the "carefree gas appliances" by this time; a special feature of this house was "the famous General Electric kitchen you've seen in pictures; flick the controls and watch it in operation; it even plays music." Included was a dishwasher and all-metal cabinets. If a kitchen that played music wasn't to your liking, you could always relax in the "square tub." Some ads for the home also listed as a feature "Curfew at 9:00 P.M." Presumably this was the time the "open house" was closed for the evening rather than a general curfew in all of Woodside Forest; there is no such restriction in Woodside Forest deeds.
At about this same time, the Gruvers finished building the house at 1325 Dale Drive. A picture of the house was printed in the Evening Star in June after its sale to Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Hutchins. This "Williamsburg Colonial" had a center hall plan. The first floor had a living room with stone fireplace, screened porch, paneled den with tile powder room, dining room and kitchen. The second floor had a master bedroom with "built-in cupboards" and a bath, two other bedrooms, and another bath. The home also had a half bath in the basement and a built-in two-car garage.
The home at 9213 Midwood Road was next. It was shown in the Evening Star in early September 1938 as having been sold by its builder, David H. Gottwals, to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Allen. It is more likely that the Allens bought the lot from the Gruvers and hired Gottwals to build their house since a reference plat filed with the Montgomery County Land Records Office in May 1938 lists the Allens as owning the lot. The rear portion of this lot was in the original Woodside Park subdivision and was sold in September 1936 by the Woodside Development Corporation to Jacob S. Gruver along with parts of what would become neighboring lots so that salable lots could be created on the southeast corner of Dale Drive and Midwood Road. The center-entrance brick Colonial home had six rooms and two baths. It featured a step-down living room with a fireplace, a "screened living porch," and "air-conditioned heat," as well as a built-in garage.
Beginning in October 1938 and into March 1939 another of the few Woodside Forest homes not built by the Gruvers was offered. John A. Helsing, the owner and builder of the new home at 1306 Dale Drive, offered his "charming French Provincial home in one of nearby Maryland's most beautiful developments with a heavily wooded lot." The home had "six large rooms and breakfast nook." It had three bedrooms and two baths. The description continued: "Large living room with marble fireplace; large dining room; air conditioned; oil heat; fully equipped kitchen; colored bathroom fixtures; full basement with lavatory; detached garage; slate roof; copper gutters and downspouting; fully insulated; screened; beautiful wooded lot."
Another home probably completed in 1938 was 1317 Dale Drive. This two-story brick Colonial home had a center hall "extending the depth of the home," a 24' by 14' living room with a fireplace and an adjacent screened porch, and a large dining room with built-in corner cupboard and a bay window. The kitchen included a breakfast alcove and a pantry. There was also a "powder room" on the first floor. The second floor included three bedrooms. In addition, the home had a recreation room, built-in garage, and slate roof.
By this time the Gruvers had turned most of their attention to the development of Woodside
Forest Section Two, along Live Oak and Red Oak Drives, but they did not neglect the area along
Dale Drive entirely and used its few remaining vacant lots to build large houses which would
attract buyers to Woodside Forest. In the spring of 1940 they completed the home at 1318 Dale
Drive. The home, which was available for $14,950 (1997 equivalent: $170,700), was selected as a
Washington Post display home and prominently featured in the Post's real estate section beginning
in late June 1940. The home was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Bert C. Gardner during the week
immediately following publication of the first article. The Southern Colonial style home featured a
two-story high columned front porch. The Post noted that the home was "erected by Fulton
Gruver, one of the city's master craftsmen and a builder and developer of some of the finest
residential projects in the city and its metropolitan area." The home had a center hall plan with
"six rooms of exceptional dimensions, including three large bedrooms, two complete tiled baths
and first floor lavatory. The living room with its adjoining broad screened porch has a hospitable
Colonial period fireplace, ideal for a family grouping. The dining room is beautifully arranged and
the kitchen is ideal in its efficient planning and appointment." The home was built among the
trees. The article continued:
Seeing the tall white pillars and the intriguing coach lights at the front entrance almost makes you pause and listen for the sound of carriage wheels or the rustle of crinoline skirts.
First thing, when you enter the living room from the foyer you have a feeling of a hearty welcome. Perhaps it is the brick-faced, white paneled fireplace that gives the note of hospitality and is a point of interest from which to work when decorating. The cream and brown paper sprinkled with woodland scenes blends in perfectly with the brown and reddish tones of the floor length drapes at the three spacious windows. A door leads from this room to an enclosed porch which can be a haven in summer. And from the "oasis" one can view the lovely trees that are in the back of the house.
Aquamarine sets the color scheme in the dining room. The paper is intriguing for, this lovely ocean-colored background is decorated with pictures of a girl and boy carrying a scythe, grasses all about, and colors of silver, yellow and gold used in this decoration. Two wall spaces--not one--have been allotted for placing the heavier pieces of furniture such a graceful old sideboard displaying the family's treasured silver. Or a rare old chest could find room as well as a drop-leaf table to aid in serving.
But one of the most pleasant surprises is the kitchen. With but a few steps from the dining room you find yourself in the most modern of kitchens. Its blithe blue color note is carried out in the linoleum floor covering, the working top of the lower cabinet and the handles of the doors and drawers of the compartments. All the arrangement is step-saving and work saving. A Detroit Jewel range and a General Electric refrigerator complete the kitchen equipment.
Climbing the stairs you will find three bedrooms you will love. The choice of color decoration, the
spacious windows that give an abundance of sunshine and air, the roomy closets for clothes,
gleaming hardwood floors all add their part for a lovely whole. A large bedroom with light green
paper decorated with white floral sprays is the type of room that beckons ruffled net curtains. A
door opens onto a sun deck. Opening from this enjoyable room is an interesting black and white
tile bathroom with a glistening glass shower door.
In the two lesser bedrooms, sunshiny yellow paper covers the wall. One is decorated with deep
rose nosegays and the other with tiny pin dots, sprinkled further with blue and rose nosegays. In
all the bedrooms, neat crustal ceiling lights diffuse light. A cream and yellow tile bath accented
with black serves these two bedrooms.
On one end of the upper hall is a roomy linen closet. On the third floor there is a room on either side of the stairs. These may be used for an emergency bedroom, a play-room, a darkroom, a sewing room, or a number of other things.
From the kitchen one can step into the garage. Also from the kitchen one goes down to the
basement fully equipped with heating and comfort master by Columbia, a Crane water heater, a
lavatory room and laundry tubs. Since the equipment is grouped on one side of the basement the
other side may be developed into a recreation room.
One of the Washington Post's display home articles also described Woodside Forest, sometimes
using language remarkably similar to that of the Post's 1936 Woodside Forest model home series
of four years earlier:
There are many advantages recommending Woodside Forest to hundreds of potential buyers seeking desirable dwellings. First among these is its beautiful location. It is a heavily wooded section where tall handsome oak, elm, and maple trees abound. All of this arboreal wealth has been conserved for the benefit of house owners in this sylvan locality.
Each of its broad home sites has an unusually profuse quantity of trees. These give protection to the house, as well as shade, coolness, and beautiful surroundings. The path of the project lies between Colesville pike and Georgia avenue northwest, each of which are important thoroughfares served by rapid and regular transportation lines.
Midway through this area goes Dale drive, one side of which faces the beautiful Sligo Valley reservation. But while the woods give a quiet, rustic seclusion to the neighborhood, it is in proximity to every convenience that could be found within a city.
New School Nearby
For example, only a short distance away is a new elementary school built by officials of Montgomery County as a model institution of learning. Conveniently close are the Argyle and Indian Springs Country Clubs affording recreational and social life. Near at hand is the up-to-date Silver Spring shopping center and all public utilities now service the growing area.
Within a few blocks of the display residence is the largest junior high school [Montgomery Hills]
in the county and a new senior high school [Montgomery Blair] has been erected on the border of
the park only a few squares down Dale drive. A parochial school in the vicinity provides for the
education up to and including the second grade of high school. Two elementary schools are also
within easy walking distance and the way to each of them is free from the dangers of traffic. Only
12 minutes away is the University of Maryland.
A few weeks after the home at 1318 Dale Drive was first offered, the Gruvers also offered the new home at 1307 Dale Drive. It was a two-story, four bedroom, two bath, brick Colonial home "built to rigid Gruver specifications and equipped for today's luxury living" on a heavily wooded lot. This home was advertised regularly until December 1940.
The home at 1318 Dale Drive was the last new Gruver-built home advertised before World War II in the part of Woodside Forest now considered part of the Woodside Park neighborhood. Only two vacant lots, 1311 Dale Drive and 9401 Columbia Boulevard, remained. The lot at 1311 Dale Drive had been purchased by a home buyer across Dale Drive and purposefully kept as a wooded view. Most of the lot at 9401 Columbia Boulevard, on the corner of Columbia Boulevard and Dale Drive, was part of an original Woodside Park lot, but was purchased by Fulton R. Gruver who redefined its boundaries along with those of the adjoining Woodside Forest Section Two lot in mid-1938. Gruver did not develop any of the lots along Columbia Boulevard until after the war.
Although the home at 1318 Dale Drive may have been the last Gruver-built home before the war in the Woodside Forest section of Woodside Park, it was not the last home completed before the war. That distinction belonged to the home built by builder William G. Irvin, Jr., at 9212 Midwood Road, which was first offered in January 1941. William G. Irvin, Jr. built a number of homes in Woodside Forest Section Two on lots purchased from the Gruvers and even jointly advertised Woodside Forest homes with the Gruvers, but 9212 Midwood Road was the only Irvin-built home in the Woodside Forest Section One. It was used as a model for other Irvin-built homes in Woodside Forest and had six rooms, breakfast room, two baths, and first floor lavatory. It was described as "quality built for a careful buyer" and "an excellent house in a community of fine homes."
The coming of World War II halted further development of the rest of
Woodside Forest. Houses under construction at the beginning of the war
were completed, but there were little or no new housing starts until after
the war. Fulton R. Gruver converted his business to support the war
effort. He established the Gruver Manufacturing Company in Silver Spring
to make pallets, shipping crates, and export packaging for fragile items
such as typewriters.
After the war, Gruver continued development of Woodside Forest. Until the new home at 9217
Midwood Road was completed in 1980, the last home built in the Woodside Forest part of
Woodside Park was the Gruver-built home at 9401 Columbia Boulevard. About 90 percent of the
lot this house is constructed on was actually part of the original Woodside Park subdivision. This
part of the lot was purchased by Jacob S. Gruver in 1937. He filed a resubdivision plat in 1938
which redefined this lot and the adjacent lot he owned facing Columbia Boulevard, making both
more regular in shape. The new home at 9401 Columbia Boulevard was first advertised by the
Gruver Construction Company in April 1952. The ad, which said Woodside Forest was "a Gruver
Controlled Community," described the white painted brick house which faces the corner of
Columbia Boulevard and Dale Drive:
House . . . contains 3 large bedrooms, 2 baths, laundry chute. First floor has large, light living
room with Virginia greenstone fireplace, powder room, and 2 large closets, large separate dining
room, large kitchen with plenty of space for breakfast table. 8' GE 2-door deep freeze
refrigerator. De luxe push-button GE stove. GE dishwasher and garbage disposal. GE fan over
the stove, and plenty of Keystone cabinets. Large screened porch, full basement with enclosed
toilet, and laundry tubs. Oil heat, garage, corner lot, with plenty of large oak trees on it and some
26 or 27 dogwoods.
With the completion of this house, Fulton R. Gruver had completed development of the
Woodside Forest area now considered to be a part of Woodside Park.
Mary C. Watson and Jacob S. and Annie R. Gruver filed "Watson's Addition to Woodside Park" on November 4, 1940. The subdivision contained about two acres and was on the eastern edge of land owned by the Gruvers and the western portion of land owned by Mrs. Watson; most of the land was Mrs. Watson's and had been purchased by her and her late husband, James A. Watson, in 1914. She owned all the land along the northeast side of Dale Drive from the Gruver property all the way to Colesville Road. Two streets were platted in Watson's Addition, Clement Road, which ran northeast perpendicular to Dale Drive and Clement Place, a cul-de-sac which runs southeast from Clement Road. There were twelve lots, all on the east side of Clement Road and all but three having frontage on Clement Place. Only one lot on the northeast corner of Dale Drive and Clement Road had any frontage on Dale Drive. The lots were considerably smaller than most lots in Woodside Park; they averaged about 7,500 square feet.
Watson's Addition deeds contained restrictions that appear to have been copied from the restrictions in the Woodside Development Corporation's deeds for Woodside Park, except that houses had to be set back only 25 feet from the street right-of-way and the restrictions expired on January 1, 1960 rather than January 1, 1950 as specified in Woodside Park deeds.
Within a few days of platting the subdivision, Mrs. Watson sold all twelve lots plus a small triangle of land she owned adjoining the Gruver property on the northwest corner of Dale Drive and Clement Road to Walter P. Baliles, who was a builder active in various Silver Spring subdivisions. By the end of July 1942, Mr. Baliles had sold all but four of his twelve lots, presumably with houses. Two of the unsold lots (at the right of 1217 Clement Place and behind 1221 Clement Place along Clement Road) remain vacant in the mid-1990s. Houses were constructed on the other two unsold lots (1210 and 1212 Clement Place) after World War II.
Only three of the pre-war Baliles houses were advertised in the Washington Post or Evening Star before their initial sale. Mr. Baliles advertised 1221 Clement Place, which is on the northeast corner of Clement Place and Clement Road, in October 1941 for $13,500 (1997 equivalent: $145,900) as one of a "new group of distinctive homes in Woodside Forest." The house was described as "a beautiful corner 6-room and 2-bath center-hall Colonial, lavatory on 1st floor, living room with fireplace, 3 large bedrooms, lovely screened porch, attached garage. Fully insulated and screened. Nicely wooded lot. The finest of materials and equipment used throughout." The home was sold to Armin G. Clement in January 1942. Mr. Clement must have been attracted by the house's address as well as by the house itself.
In May 1942 Baliles advertised the new home at 1217 Clement Place. It was described in exactly the same terms as 1221 Clement Place except that there was no reference to being on a corner lot. The house was also described as "moderately priced." The home was sold in June 1942 to George L. Woodruff.
The home across the street at 1214 Clement Road was advertised in June 1942. The description was exactly the same as that used for 1217 Clement Road. The house was said to be "moderately priced at $14,500" (1997 equivalent: $141,600). It was sold in late July to Philip J. Hoffelinger.
In February 1941, three months after platting her first subdivision, Mrs. Watson filed another subdivision plan. This one added three lots facing Dale Drive to the east of the lot on the northeast corner at Dale Drive and Clement Road in her previous subdivision. The back of these lots adjoined the back of four of the lots on the south side of Clement Place. The new lots averaged about 9,200 square feet.
The plat shows two houses already constructed. One was on the farthest east of the new lots (1209 Dale Drive); the other was in the lot on the northeast corner of Dale Drive and Clement Road (1221 Dale Drive) which had been part of the first Watson's Addition subdivision. According to tax records, the brick Colonial home at 1209 Dale Drive had been built in 1939. The first floor had a 28' living room with a fireplace and large screened porch in addition to a large dining room, kitchen, and powder room. The second floor had three bedrooms and a bath. The basement had a recreation room with a bar. There was also an attached garage. The home was sold to G. Earl Mantz in January 1941, shortly before the plat for the subdivision was formally filed.
The home at 1221 Dale Drive was also built in 1939 according to tax records. It was later described as having six rooms and two baths plus a lavatory on the first floor. Three bedrooms were on the second floor. There was also a finished room in the attic and an attached garage.
The lot at 1213 Dale Drive was sold to Samuel J. Barber in March 1943, but it was not the site of a house until 1961.
The home at 1212 Clement Place was one of the first post-war homes in the neighborhood. According to tax records, it was completed in 1946. The brick home was of a center hall Colonial design and had a 13' by 22' living room with a fireplace, an 11' by 12½' dining room, a large kitchen, half bath, and a 10' by 20' screened porch on the first floor. The second floor had a master bedroom with a bath and two closets. There were two other bedrooms and another bath and a linen closet on the second floor. The home also had a slate roof, copper gutters, and a built-in garage.
The last remaining lot in the second of Mrs. Watson's subdivisions, 1211 Dale Drive, was sold later. A house built on this lot was offered in 1949 for $29,500 (1997 equivalent: $197,200). Ads for the home were headlined "A Rambler in Woodside Park." The house was described as an "attractive brick rambler located in one of the most exclusive areas. It features an entrance hall, large living room with fireplace and picture window, dining room with picture window, fully equipped kitchen, three spacious bedrooms with double closets and two baths. There is a stairway to storage attic. Full basement, recreation room with fireplace, lavatory, attached garage. Gas hot-water heat, slate roof. Situated on a lovely lot with patio in rear."
Woodside Park was the only established neighborhood adjacent to Watson's Addition. As houses were built, new residents were welcomed into the Woodside Park Civic Association. The area has been considered part of Woodside Park since then, despite the fact that Woodside Forest, which later extended Clement Road, was developed around it on three sides.
Less than a year after Mrs. Watson's second subdivision plat was filed, the United States entered
World War II. Suburban development came to a sudden stop as all attention shifted to the war
Sections Seven and Eight, Woodside Park
In a sense, the development of "Section Seven, Woodside Park" began in 1928 when James A. Watson and his wife Mary C. Watson, who owned all the land on the northeast side of Dale Drive from Colesville Road to the land later bought by Jacob S. Gruver just west of what is now Clement Road, subdivided the portion of their land from Colesville Road one block west to what is now Summit Road. Since the Woodside Development Corporation had filed its plats for Woodside Park in six sections of several blocks each when it subdivided Alton Farm, Mr. Watson called his adjoining subdivision "Section Seven, Woodside Park." He had purchased the land along what became Dale Drive in 1914 from Charles W. Prettyman. Only one lot was created along Dale Drive, in the half of the block nearest Summit Road. A forty foot set-back restriction was established along Dale Drive, matching the set-back in Woodside Park. The set-back along Summit Road was thirty feet.
The half of the block nearest Colesville Road was not divided into lots, probably because it was essentially unusable since it contained a large grey rock. The above ground portion of this rock, which was across Colesville Road from Mrs. K's Toll House, was described as being the size of a bus; even more was below ground level. Although Greyrock Drive, one block northeast of Dale Drive in the new subdivision, might have been named for the rock, the street was more likely named after "Grey Rocks," the home on the land between the Watson property and Sligo Creek. This large home now faces Watson Road at the foot of Greyrock Drive.
The lots in the new subdivision remained unsold and no further development activity took place for twenty years, until 1948. In the meantime, James A. Watson died, his widow established Watson's Addition to Woodside Park, and then died herself. One son, Robert C. Watson, had been deeded one acre of land along Dale Drive, more or less between where Watson Road and Harvey Road are now. Robert C. Watson and the other two sons of Mr. and Mrs. James A. Watson, James A. Watson, Jr., and Harold F. Watson, inherited the remaining property. The other two sons became part owners of Robert C. Watson's acre as well. In 1948 they subdivided the property into additional blocks by establishing rights-of-way for Watson Road and Alton Parkway northeast of Dale Drive. Watson Road was established in its present location. Alton Parkway intersected Dale Drive at the Alton Parkway right-of-way in Woodside Park. In 1949 they divided the long block between Watson Road and Alton Parkway by establishing a right-of-way for Harvey Road. In 1948 Robert C. Watson had become the sole owner of the property from Harvey Road northwest to Watson's Addition. He established the lot on the northwest corner of Harvey Road and Dale Drive in April 1948.
In October 1954 all three Watson brothers subdivided the jointly owned land from Watson Road to Colesville Road, re-subdividing their father's original block from Summit Road to Colesville Road in the process. Five lots were established along Dale Drive from Watson Road to Summit Road, but only one lot was established on the northeast corner of the Summit Road and Dale Drive intersection in the block between Summit Road and Colesville Road. The area with the large grey rock remained unplatted. It was sold in 1963 to Robert A Paulson, who built the large house and dentist's office now on the site after blasting out the large rock. The forty foot set-back requirement along Dale Drive was maintained. Set-backs of twenty-five feet were established along Summit and Watson Roads.
In December 1954 Robert C. Watson established additional lots in the block west of Harvey Road. Only one of these lots faced Dale Drive. Almost simultaneously the three Watson brothers re-subdivided the block between Watson Road and Summit Road. There were only minor changes in the lots facing Dale Drive. The existing forty and twenty-five foot set-backs were maintained.
In January 1957, Robert C. Watson subdivided the block between Watson Road and Harvey Road along Dale Drive. He had acquired his brothers' interest in the block in 1948. Five lots were created along Dale Drive, where the set-back continued to be forty feet. Set-backs along Harvey Road, Watson Road, and Edgevale Road (the fourth side of the block) were thirty feet.
Alton Parkway was never built northeast of Dale Drive, just as it had not been constructed between Highland Drive and Dale Drive. On the northwest side of Dale Drive, however, the right-of-way was vacated. In 1965 the land between the lot at the corner of Dale Drive and Harvey Road and a lot that had been sold by Robert C. Watson just southeast of his mother's Watson's Addition (now 1207 Dale Drive, the site of a house constructed in 1993) was included in the new Section Eight, Woodside Park subdivision. Section Eight included a lot previously established by Robert C. Watson immediately northwest of the lot at the corner of Harvey Road and Dale Drive. By the time of this re-subdivision, a house (1119 Dale Drive) had been built on the lot, which was redesignated as Lot 1, Section Eight, Woodside Park.
Section Eight, Woodside Park was established by the Watsons, Thomas C. Oyster and his wife Dorothy C. Oyster, Otto A. Atzert and his wife Anna M. Atzert, and Theresie Ultman and Hermine Liberts. It is primarily the site of the modern style houses built facing the Edgevale Road cul-de-sac northwest of Harvey Road. These homes were developed as a group in the mid-1960s by Contemporary Homes, Inc., which purchased the lots from the Atzerts in late 1965. Four of the lots in Section Eight, Woodside Park, including the lot with the existing house at 1119 Dale Drive, were established with Dale Drive frontage. The lot immediately to the northwest of 1119 Dale Drive remains vacant and is probably unbuildable because of storm sewer rights-of-way through the lot. The next lot, which contains one of the Contemporary Homes, Inc. modern style houses, has a narrow connection to Edgevale Road and bears an Edgevale Road address; the rear of the house faces Dale Drive. The last of the Section Eight lots along Dale Drive, 1205 Dale Drive, also has a narrow connection to Edgevale Road, but its Contemporary Homes, Inc., house faces Dale Drive.
With the completion of Section Eight, Woodside Park, all of the lots facing Dale Drive had been established.
Additions on the Southern Edge of Woodside Park
Woodside Park has grown toward downtown Silver Spring as well as away from it. The first of
these additions began about the same time development began on the north side of the
neighborhood. The largest, however, came after World War II.
The first addition on the southern edge of Woodside Park was platted in July 1936 by Howard and Elizabeth Griffith. Griffith's Addition is the approximately 7 acre tract bounded by Colesville Road, Spring Street, Fairview Road and a line drawn along Noyes Drive going straight to Fairview Road along the rear property line of 1010 Noyes Drive and the south property line of 8917 Fairview Road. At the time of the subdivision, the area contained one large house near the circle where Cameron Street now ends. This house had been the residence of patent attorney Julian C. Dowell, who had purchased seven lots (10½ acres) of Selina Wilson's 1887 "Wilson's Addition." Later it was the home of a Dr. Greer. It was abandoned by the early 1950s. In the 1960s the house and remaining grounds were known as the Ragonnet property, after the family of that name which then owned it. Access to the house was originally by way of a driveway that intersected Colesville Road about where Noyes Drive is now.
In 1921 the property was purchased by Howard Griffith, the Silver Spring Postmaster, who moved into it with his wife and children after it had been vacant for some time. It had probably been considered a "gentleman's estate," since it then had a tenant house in the rear where the caretaker lived. The tenant house was about 50 feet beyond where Fairview Court now turns left at the rear property line of the Woodside Park Townhouses. The hen house was at the rear, almost on the property line where Fairview Court now turns. The carriage house and barn were also near the rear property line of the present Woodside Park Townhouses property but near the north side of the estate. The Griffiths also had a large vegetable garden which extended all the way from Spring Street along Fairview Road to the present Woodside Park Townhouse property and about 150 feet south along Spring Street from the Fairview Road intersection. A smaller apple orchard and a pear orchard adjoined the vegetable garden along Spring Street and extended about 120 feet south along Spring Street toward the present Cameron Street. The rest of the property, except for the area around the main house, was a pasture. The Griffiths kept horses and a cow, which were pastured here and could often be seen from Colesville Road as late as 1940.
When the Griffiths bought their property, there was also another house in the block, on the site where the Woodside Park Townhouses at Fairview Court now stand, but this house and its grounds were not a part of Griffith's Addition. This house and about an acre of land designated as 8911 Fairview Road were occupied by the Bergmann family of Bergmann's laundry fame. They had eight children and kept a cow to supply milk for the children. The Griffith boys were sometimes engaged to milk the Bergmann cow. The Bergmanns used coal to provide heat for hot water at their laundry in the District. Mr. Bergmann used cinders from the laundry to cover Fairview Road and Spring Street, which were then "paved" only with dirt and Bergmann's cinders. The Bergmann house was moved to Spring Street and a new larger "showplace" house was constructed on the lot in 1931. The new house, which was a large brick and stone English style home had a center hall design. It had a large living room and dining room on the first floor, as well as a library, powder room, and kitchen. The second floor had four "master bedrooms," and three baths. The basement had a recreation room with fireplace and tiled lavatory and a maid's room and full bath.
The home was sold in 1963 for $85,000 (1997 equivalent: $442,900) to the Gudelsky family, developers of Wheaton Plaza and other shopping centers. The house was allowed to deteriorate in the 1970s. Following a major rezoning battle, the property was sold to the Woodside Towne Joint Venture, which re-platted it in 1981 with Fairview Court shown as a private street so the Woodside Park Townhouses could be constructed. Design Tech Builders, Inc., was the general partner which ran the Woodside Town Joint Venture.
The thirteen all-brick Woodside Park Townhouses were completed in 1982. They were designed and built by Design Tech Builders, and were originally priced in the $125,000 to $130,000 range (1997 equivalents: $206,600 to $211,400). They were essentially similar in design to the Woodside Towne townhouses completed by Design Tech Builders on the west side of Georgia Avenue at Highland Drive in old Woodside just before these homes were built. The homes are approximately 21' wide by 36' to 40' deep and have three levels, with a living room, dining room, and table space kitchen on the entry level, three bedrooms or two master bedroom suites on the upper level, and recreation room, laundry room, and other space in the basement. Each also has 3½ baths. In some of the homes the kitchen is on the front of the home and the living room is at the rear; in others the kitchen is at the back and the living room is at the front. They average about 2,400 square feet in size. The Woodside Park Townhouses now provide the homes of thirteen Woodside Park families and also serve as a buffer against further commercial expansion along Fairview Road.
The Griffith family eventually began selling building lots for residential construction along Noyes Drive, Colesville Road, Fairview Road, and Spring Street. In July 1936 the Griffith family filed with the Planning Board a subdivision plan designated "Griffith's Addition to Woodside Park." The plan provided for Cameron Street (then called High Street) to be extended through the property to Noyes Drive. The area was included in the territory of the Civic Association in the late 1940s.
When the property was subdivided, Mr. Griffith allowed each of his eight children to build there. Two of the Griffith daughters and one of the sons did so. Two of the houses they built still stand. The home at 1004 Noyes Drive was owned by John C. and Margaret (Griffith) Livingston. Towneley and Mabel (Griffith) Gamble owned 1008 Noyes Drive.
The home built for son Thomas Perry Griffith at 1015 Spring Street was demolished after a few years for commercial development. The home had a center hall flanked in the front by two windows on each side. Three dormer windows were above. The home also had a large screened porch on its left side. Besides a large living room with fireplace, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, two large bedrooms and a "den or nursery" and full bath were on the second floor. This house may have been completed as late as 1942.
The houses built in Griffith's Addition were in keeping with those of their neighbors in Woodside Park. A new house (now demolished) in the 1000 block of Spring Street was advertised in the spring of 1939 for $9,750 (1997 equivalent: $111,400). Another new house (also demolished) in the same block was advertised two months later for $9,250 (1997 equivalent: $105,600). The Thomas E. Jarrell Company handled both sales. In the spring of 1940 another new "large 7-room brick home" with attached garage was advertised in the same block for $9,950 (1997 equivalent: $113,600).
Granville Klink purchased the new home at 1013 Spring Street in 1941. The Klinks sold their home for commercial development and built a new home at 1013 Noyes in 1962.
Another house built about this time was a frame Cape Cod on the south-east corner of Spring Street and Fairview Road (8901 Fairview Road). This now-demolished home had a 28' living room with fireplace, large dining room, kitchen and small paneled den on the first floor. The second floor had three bedrooms and two baths. There was also a recreation room in the basement with a half bath. The home was air conditioned.
Much of Griffith's Addition was redeveloped commercially beginning in the early 1960s. The Spring Court Offices, described by the Evening Star as "a complex of small office buildings designed like townhouses and facing a court" were completed by 1963. They were designed by their architect and owner, Philip W. Mason. Other offices were under development in the area or were awaiting zoning changes at this time. The area at the corner of Colesville Road and Spring Street was re-subdivided in April 1966 to provide for construction of the Cole Spring Plaza Apartments. The eastern third of Cameron Street near Noyes Drive, which had never been constructed, was "abandoned" in a resubdivision filing in June 1967 based on a March 1967 Planning Board decision which allowed creation of a large parking lot and ultimately a seven story office building on what had been the site of the original Julian C. Dowell house and was known at this time as the Ragonnet property. A circle was created at the end of the truncated right-of-way. This property had been a problem since 1962, when C.M. Marsteller was granted permission to use part of the lot for parking to serve his office building on Spring Street. The Board of Appeals approved the parking, but Marsteller did not provide the required screening or close the lot at 7 p.m. as required. Eventually all of the property facing Spring Street between Fairview Road and Colesville Road was developed for high rise apartment and lower rise office uses. Only two of the original houses remain on Spring Street. Both are used commercially, and one of them has been considerably altered.
Commercial building has also replaced the houses that formerly were on the south side of Fairview Road between the Woodside Park Townhouses and Spring Street. Construction of the latest office building, which is adjacent to the Woodside Park Townhouses, was begun in 1979--just in time to make use of an expiring loophole in the law that allowed construction of a six story building rather than a two or three story building on the site. The County allowed the building to be built six stories high despite arguments by the Civic Association before the Board of Appeals that almost no work on the site had been done by the deadline imposed by the expiring loophole.
Griffith's Addition is the only part of the neighborhood represented by the Woodside Park Civic
Association that has ever been lost to commercial development. Only five of the Addition's houses
remain zoned for residential use. Four of these face Noyes Drive and one faces Colesville Road;
one of these (1000 Noyes Drive) is used for nonresident professional offices as a special exception
to its residential zoning.
Development of the Wilson Farm: J.C. Wilson's Estate Woodside Park
A new round of building began in Woodside Park after World War II. Houses were constructed on vacant lots throughout the neighborhood. The largest single area of post-war development was created when Woodland Drive was extended south to Alton Parkway (now Spring Street) and Ballard and Burton Streets were established in the former Wilson's Farm.
The "J.C. Wilson Estate Woodside Park" additions were the last areas to be added to Woodside Park. Seven additions were platted and replatted on the former Wilson Farm by land developers from 1945 through 1951. In a sense, however, some other parts of Woodside Park are built on the Wilson Farm, since the Wilson family at one time owned all the various parcels that Crosby S. Noyes added to his original Alton Farm.
The Wilson family had owned a large tract of land in what is now Silver Spring at least since 1759 when Henry and Verlinda Wilson purchased part of the "Labyrinth" land grant. Their holdings totaled well over 1,000 acres at one time. The Wilsons were slave-owning tobacco farmers. Even though they lived in a log house, they were relatively well off. Only 40 percent of the free residents of the area owned land; only about a third owned slaves. Henry Wilson died in 1781; his widow died in 1804. By this time the soil had been depleted from heavy tobacco cultivation. Zadock Wilson bought out the shares of the other heirs in the inheritance and also bought neighboring farms as their owners left in search of richer soil. Zadock Wilson eventually moved to Georgetown, but one of his sons, Thomas Noble Wilson, stayed and ultimately inherited part of the farm and bought the remaining parts from his brother.
Over the years Thomas Noble Wilson purchased additional land until he owned most of what is now Silver Spring in an area from near the Beltway through Takoma Park. He became the wealthiest farmer in the area and served for a time as Postmaster of Sligo, as part of today's Silver Spring was then known. He rebuilt the fertility of his land and practiced all the modern farming techniques. He also benefitted from the roads through his holdings. What is now Georgia Avenue but was then called Brookeville Pike had been constructed through his land by 1815 and was taken over and improved by the Union Turnpike Company after the company was chartered in 1849. What is now Colesville Road was authorized by the Maryland legislature in 1816, but the road apparently was not built until later.
Some time in the early 19th Century Thomas Noble Wilson constructed a farm house set at an angle to the road that would become Georgia Avenue. It was located under the rear portions of the present townhouses at 8806, 8808, 8810, and 8812 Woodland Drive and extended to within about 18 feet of the present Spring Street pavement. The house was described as one of the most elegant residences in the area prior to the Civil War. Every window was draped, every floor was carpeted; every bedroom had a mirror; there was mahogany furniture and Marseilles bedspreads. The dining room reportedly had "several tables, fourteen chairs, a large gilt-edged tea set, and abundant silverware and blue Queensware plates." At one time slave quarters were located where the Lee Building is now on the northeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.
Thomas Noble Wilson was killed in 1862. According to the Montgomery County Sentinel of September 26, 1862, Mr. Wilson was knocked from his horse and bayonetted through the neck by three members of the Union's 22nd Massachusetts regiment when he came upon them as they were attempting to steal some of his pigs.
In 1855 Thomas Noble Wilson had given an acre of land to the Grace Episcopal Church at what is now Grace Church Road and Georgia Avenue. In 1863 the congregation purchased another half acre from his heir, John Chalmers Wilson, for $75.00 (1997 equivalent: $965). The Grace Church property contains the only cemetery within Woodside Park and is the final resting place not only of Thomas Noble Wilson and his wife but also of a number of Confederate soldiers under the command of General Jubal Early who marched down what is now Georgia Avenue on their way to attack Washington in July 1864.
In 1872 following his break with Grace Church over a disputed land sale and his Union sympathies, John C. Wilson donated a 85' by 109' lot to the "Sligo congregation of the Methodist Church," the predecessor of today's Woodside United Methodist Church. This lot was located approximately where the Garland Wolf used car and auto repair agency was built in the 1930s at 8621 Georgia Avenue. Later the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics was located on this site, and the secret World War II proximity bomb fuse was developed here. In 1997 this area is part of the large parking lot north of the Lee Building on Georgia Avenue. This church was re-named when a larger location was obtained on the opposite side of the street just above Fenwick Lane, in Woodside. A church building was completed on this site in 1939. The church later sold this site to the developers of the Georgian Towers apartment building (8750 Georgia Avenue) and built a new church in Woodside on Georgia Avenue north of Ballard Street.
For a time the Wilson family continued to prosper even though the farm had been divided after Thomas Noble Wilson's death. John Chalmers Wilson inherited part of the farm on the east (Woodside Park) side of the Brookeville Turnpike. Part of the farm on the west (Woodside) side of the Turnpike was inherited by his older brother Richard T. Wilson. Six sisters also inherited farm land. While many houses in the area were looted or destroyed by Confederate soldiers after the battle of Fort Stevens, the Wilson Farm was apparently untouched. Despite the fact that John C. Wilson was a known Union sympathizer, Jubal Early had issued a "special order" forbidding all officers and men of the C.S.A. from taking "from Mr. J.C. Wilson his horses." This may have protected the house as well. Early's second in command, Major General John C. Breckenridge, and Major General John Brown Gordon had used the home of John C. Wilson's brother Richard, a Confederate sympathizer, as their headquarters. Richard may have influenced the Confederates to spare his brother's farm.
John C. Wilson enlarged and modernized his house in 1877. Also in that year he became one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors of the "Sligo Mutual Building Association of Montgomery County, Maryland." This "savings and loan" institution collected deposits and made loans for real estate purchases and construction in the Silver Spring area.
John C. Wilson's land was gradually subdivided and sold by various members of the Wilson family who inherited it after his death from typhoid in 1886. In 1887 Selina Wilson, John C. Wilson's widow, subdivided the part of the farm bounded by what is now Georgia Avenue, Colesville Road, and Spring Street plus seven lots to the east of Spring Street and north of Colesville Road as "John C. Wilson's Addition." The subdivision had lots of over an acre, which were to be used for small "country estates." The seven lots east of Spring Street and north of Colesville Road were purchased by Julian C. Dowell and later replatted after an ownership change as Griffith's Addition to Woodside Park. Selina Wilson and later her trustee or administrix issued 32 deeds in the 1870s and 1880s.
In 1899, two years after Selina Wilson established her addition, "Woodside," across Georgia Avenue from Woodside Park, was platted on land which had been purchased from Richard T. Wilson. Woodside proved to be much more successful than Selina Wilson's subdivision. It even for a time boasted its own station on the B&O.
After Selina Wilson's death, her son, William P. "Willie" Wilson, sold more of their farm. By 1935 the farm consisted of only 23.5 acres near the original house and across Spring Street, where the large parking lot is now located behind the Park and Planning Commission and the Holiday Inn. The Wilsons then residing at the old farm home consisted of elderly people, William P. Wilson and two or three of his sisters. Several cattle grazed in the pasture, and Mr. Wilson bottled milk by hand in glass bottles and delivered it to his customers by horse and wagon. He also sold eggs and manure. The manure was reportedly used in Woodside Park "victory gardens" during World War II.
By the late 1930s Mr. Wilson had turned some of the farm into a golf driving range, which was floodlit for use at night. The tees were near Georgia Avenue, opposite Ballard Street in old Woodside. About 200 yards away was a sign saying "Get that Swing in Silver Spring. Hit me and drive 25 balls free." According to Woodside Park residents who were children at the time, Wilson repeatedly chased neighborhood children off the driving range. He reportedly also had problems with dogs owned by his new Woodside Park neighbors chasing his chickens in the late 1930s and 1940s. He once went after the setter owned by Lois Mitchell of 9007 Woodland Drive with his shotgun.
On December 9, 1944 the farm and 632 square feet of land that the Wilsons had purchased which had been part of the Woodside Park lot that is now 8912 Fairview Road were sold to real estate developer Morris Pollin and his wife for $105,000 (1997 equivalent: $952,500). The remaining Wilsons, William P. Wilson and some of his sisters and grandchildren, purchased the large home at 9033 Georgia Avenue in July 1945 and moved there.
In eight separate subdivision plats filed between March 1945 and November 1951, the Pollins platted and replatted lots in "J.C. Wilson Estate Woodside Park" and dedicated Ballard and Burton Streets, an extension of Alton Parkway from the original Woodside Park development to Georgia Avenue, and Woodland Drive from the original Woodside Park development to the extended Alton Parkway. Spring Street now occupies the Alton Parkway right-of-way from Spring Street's curve east of Woodland Drive to Georgia Avenue. The lots platted by the Pollins were larger, sometimes substantially larger, than the 6,000 square feet required by the zoning regulations, but the Pollins did not adopt the 40 foot set back restriction that the Woodside Development Corporation had specified for lots in its Woodside Park development. As a result, homes in the Pollins' development are at least 15 feet closer to the street than are homes in most of the rest of today's Woodside Park neighborhood.
The first area subdivided was the center of the farm. In May 1945 the lots facing Woodland Drive from the south boundary of the old Alton Farm to the center of the block between Ballard Street and Alton Parkway were established, as were the lots closest to Woodland Drive on Ballard and Burton Streets. There were no ads in the Washington Post or the Evening Star concerning the building of any houses in this area, but the lots were sold singly or in pairs to individual buyers beginning in July 1947. Most had been sold by the end of the year.
In August 1947, the lots facing Georgia Avenue between the south boundary of Alton Farm and Alton Parkway (now Spring Street) were created. Thus the entire Georgia Avenue frontage of the part of the Wilson Farm that was eventually developed for residential use was subdivided, with Ballard Street running off Georgia Avenue opposite Ballard Street in old Woodside across Georgia Avenue. This platting also included lots facing Woodland Drive from Alton Parkway north to the lots that had been platted in 1945.
The only area to be developed immediately from this 1947 subdivision was 1303 Ballard Street and the lots north of Ballard Street in the 8900 block of Georgia Avenue, which at this time was still a two lane road. This area along with most of the lots facing Georgia Avenue south of Ballard Street was purchased by Henry S. Reich in September 1947. Construction of houses facing Georgia Avenue north of Ballard Street began shortly thereafter. Realtor Frank L. Hewitt began running ads for these houses in June 1948. There were several models. All of the houses on the block (except 8915 Georgia Avenue, which was built later on a lot that had been part of Alton Farm, not the Wilson Farm) were apparently constructed between the spring and fall of 1948. The home at 8905 Georgia Avenue and its twin at 8913 were offered for $22,750 (1997 equivalent: $150,100). Ads emphasized the convenient location, three master bedrooms, large storage closets, colored tiled baths with a half bath on the first floor and a lavatory in the basement, large lots, built-in garages, and quality materials such as slate roofs and copper gutters and downspouts. The houses sold relatively quickly. An ad in November 1948 said only two were left. The last ad for any of these houses, which offered 8909 Georgia Avenue, appeared in March 1949. This house had been used as a model and was to be sold with "broadloom carpet, rugs and draperies at a bargain price with good financing."
Henry S. Reich, who had purchased most of the lots facing Georgia Avenue between what is now Spring Street and Ballard Street in September 1947, purchased the rest of the block, including all the lots facing Woodland Drive, in December 1948. He never developed the area. After several changes in ownership, in 1988 the block was resubdivided for development of the Woodside Station townhouses.
The remaining lots facing Ballard and Burton Streets (with the exception of an area that is now three lots in the center of the block on the north side of Burton Street) were platted and replatted in 1950 and 1951. The five lots on the north side of Burton Street immediately west of Alton Parkway were the first of this group. Homes on these lots went on sale in May 1950. A home that is probably 1209 Burton Street (which is similar but not identical to some other houses on its block) was used as an exhibit home for the nine brick and stone ramblers in the subdivision. The new houses were offered at $24,950 (1997 equivalent: $164,600) by Sidney Z. Mensh & Company for "Morris Pollin & Sons, Inc.--Builders and Developers." A Mensh ad in May 1950 stated: "These outstanding homes designed for the discriminating make the most of beautiful planning and brilliant architecture." The houses were described as having 6 large rooms, 2½ baths, powder room, Tennessee Crab Orchard stone fireplaces, silent mercury switches, 22½-foot garages, 17-foot private porches, and extra sized basements. Besides having a large picture of the well-landscaped model home, the ad also pictured part of the model home's "Beautycraft" custom kitchen, which came equipped with Hotpoint appliances including a 10 cubic foot refrigerator, automatic dishwasher, garbage disposal, and electric range. All were sold by January 17, 1951. Abe Pollin, who was one of Morris Pollin's sons and who later built the Capital Centre/ USAir Arena and the MCI Center and who owns the Washington Bullets/Wizards basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team, acquired 1221 Burton Street. Jack Pollin acquired the property next door on the corner at 8913 Woodland Drive.
The area that is now 1211, 1213, and 1215 Burton Street had been sold by Morris Pollin in October 1947 to Charles T. Williams, who owned the adjoining property at 1212 Noyes Drive. Mr. Williams had several greenhouses on his Noyes Drive land and built another large greenhouse on the Burton Street property. This new greenhouse covered most of what is now the lots for 1213 and 1215 Burton Street. The property was subdivided and sold in 1972 following Mr. William's death; three two-story houses were constructed.
The Burton Street homes were not the Pollin's major project at the time. Pollin & Sons and Sidney Z. Mensh were much busier with their larger development on New Hampshire Avenue in Langley Park, where they offered New Hampshire Estates ("Thirty Acres of Happiness") houses for only $13,250 (1997 equivalent: $87,400).
The six lots on the south side of Burton Street immediately north of Alton Parkway were the next to be platted. They were sold in July 1950 to Sol Sheintal of Sol's Construction, which first offered houses on these lots for sale in January 1951. The price for these homes (1200, 1202, 1204, 1206, 1208, and 1210 Burton Street) initially was $32,500 (1997 equivalent: $198,900), but by June the remaining homes were being offered for $34,750 (1997 equivalent: $212,600). For this amount the buyer got "exceptionally large rooms, living room with fireplace, dining room, all-electric kitchen with breakfast nook, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, storage attic, full basement, finished recreation room with fireplace, maid's room, and a built-in garage." The ad also stated that only the best materials and workmanship went into construction of the houses.
The lots on both sides of Ballard Street immediately north of Alton Parkway were the next to be platted. Six lots were created on the east side of the street and five were created initially on the west side, but before any houses were built the west side of the street was replatted for only four lots. Houses on these lots were first offered by realtor Sidney Z. Mensh in October 1951. The $31,950 (1997 equivalent: $195,600) houses were built by Morris Pollin & Sons. Although there were several exterior styles, all featured three bedrooms, three baths, a recreation room, two fireplaces, and a fully equipped GE kitchen which included a dishwasher and a disposal. Ads noted that buyers could take advantage of the new tax law to move up. The new tax law no longer required payment of income taxes on profits from the sale of a house if the buyer bought a more expensive home. The first house was sold in January 1952, the same month that the Washington Post described the homes as among the best in the "medium price range" in the metropolitan area. All the houses except the one on the southwest corner of Alton Parkway and Ballard Street (1200 Ballard Street) had been sold by the end of August 1952. That house sold in April 1953 to Martin and Hilda Kopit, who still live there. Houses on the east side of the street were also offered at this time. For example the rambler at 1204 Ballard Street was described as having three large bedrooms, a "California style" master bath, a "most unusually arranged kitchen" with a breakfast space and a work space. It also had an "unusually large living room," a recreation room with fireplace, two other baths, and a carport.
The seven townhouses on the east side of Woodland Drive north of Spring Street and the three townhouses on Alton Parkway immediately east of Woodland Drive were constructed on four lots of the original Pollin subdivision of Wilson's farm. They were built in late 1972 and early 1973 by D&D Development Corporation, which was headed by Lawrence L. Diamond. The first homes were sold in February 1973. All but three had been sold by the end of April. The last of the townhouses was sold in November.
In 1984, the block surrounded by Woodland Drive, Spring Street, Georgia Avenue, and Ballard Street, which was the last undeveloped block in Woodside Park, was replatted by "Woodside Development Associates" and developed as the Woodside Station townhouses. Construction of these townhouses ended many years of controversy over use of the long-vacant block, which was known as the "Packett property," but was actually held speculatively by Ervin and Elizabeth Chapman and Harold and Clara Conner in addition to William and Virginia Packett. It was zoned for single family residential use like the rest of Woodside Park, but its owners wanted it rezoned for commercial use and proposed many potential uses over the years, including a mortuary and a post office. In 1968 the parcel's owners tried to get the Silver Spring Central Business Plan amended to take in the block and rezone it for an apartment-hotel--the same type of zoning that permitted the construction of the high-rise "Twin Towers" apartments at Georgia Avenue and Fidler Lane. Perhaps the most serious threat came in 1978 with a proposal to use the block for the replacement main Silver Spring post office. No zoning change would have been needed to place a federal facility on the property. The Woodside Park Civic Association, the Woodside Park Homeowners Association (representing the townhouse owners on Woodland Drive opposite the Packett property), the Silver Spring Center Citizens Advisory Board, and other groups opposed the Postal Service's plan and suggested alternate sites. One of those sites, first proposed by WPCA President Robert Oshel and Zoning Chairman Dean Gibson, was on Second Avenue at Spring Street. The replacement post office was ultimately built on this site. The Civic Association continued to press for residential use of the Packett property and suggested that "cluster zoning" could be used to place seventeen houses on the site, all facing away from Georgia Avenue. The property's owners tried to obtain C-T zoning to build 26 office townhouses in 1981, but eventually concluded that they would never be able to obtain even this level of commercial zoning for the site and sold it to "Woodside Development Associates," which obtained townhouse zoning over the objections of the Civic Association and built "Woodside Station" after reaching an agreement with the Civic Association concerning placement of houses, driveways, parking, and preservation of trees.
The 32 Woodside Station townhouses were designed by Butcher Meyers Associates and were built by the Braden Construction Company. There are four models originally priced from $150,000 to $159,000 (1997 equivalents: $222,500 to $235,800). A fireplace was available for an additional $3,500 (1997 equivalent: $5,200). The townhouses are large; they have three levels of finished living space with at least three bedrooms, living room, dining room (in most models), den or recreation room, four full or partial baths, fully equipped kitchen, carpeting, ceramic tile, whirlpool tubs in master baths, garage, and all brick exterior. One model has a balcony.
Shortly after the first houses were constructed on the former Wilson Farm the by-laws of the Woodside Park Civic Association were amended to include this area. Up to that time "Woodside Park" had been limited to "Alton Farm," previously owned by the Noyes family and other areas informally admitted. Mr. Wilson belonged to the Association, however, and the early records show him as having paid his dues regularly.
The Association's representation of the area especially may have been useful in 1958 when Spring Street was relocated to part of the Alton Parkway right-of-way. Alton Parkway was then only a foot path from Burton Street to Georgia Avenue. When Spring Street was relocated, Alton Parkway was also paved from Burton Street to the new Spring Street. Since Spring Street occupied part of the Alton Parkway right-of-way between Ballard Street and Woodland Drive, the county tried to assess the owners of the only house then bordering this portion of the right-of-way, 1200 Ballard Street, for a substantial portion of the costs of relocating and rebuilding Spring Street. The share assessed to 1200 Ballard was about $8,000 (1997 equivalent: $47,200), which was about 8% of the cost of the entire Spring Street project. Martin Kopit, the owner of 1200 Ballard Street, retained a lawyer to fight the charges. Ultimately there was a political solution; the County Council adopted an ordinance in which the County assumed 84% of the costs of relocating and rebuilding Spring Street and all adjoining property owners only had to pay for 16% of the cost.
Other Post-War Development
The Wilson Farm was the only large tract of land left to develop in
Woodside Park after World War II, but there was considerable in-fill
development throughout the neighborhood. Most of this development
simply involved building on existing lots or dividing large lots so more houses could be built. In
one case, that of Pinecrest Court, a new street was established.
Pinecrest Court and the four lots surrounding it were created in August 1946 when Louis J. and Anna T. Carusillo subdivided the large lot across from the western-most intersection of Pinecrest Circle and Highland Drive. They had purchased the lot from Geraldine and Edith Pollinger immediately before filing the subdivision plat; indeed the Carusillos' "owner's dedication" on the plat was signed and dated 5 days before the closing date of their purchase of the lot from the Pollingers. In any event, the Carusillos' new lot was well over an acre in size but was roughly twice as deep as it was wide. By constructing Pinecrest Court, they could create four buildable lots on the property. Without Pinecrest Court there could have been only two lots. Pinecrest Court, like all other streets in Woodside Park (except Fairview Court at the Woodside Park Townhouses on Fairview Road) was dedicated as a public street when the subdivision plat was filed. Regardless of this fact the county regards the street as private for maintenance purposes, perhaps because the street was platted with a right-of-way of only 30 feet and with only a 20 foot setback requirement for houses on the lower portion of the street. This setback is 5 feet less than is required by zoning for public streets in Woodside Park's R-60 zone. In any event, Pinecrest Court was the last street created in the original Woodside Park.
The homes at the end of Pinecrest Court were constructed first. The home at 1309 Pinecrest
Court was built in 1948, followed by the home at 1311 Pinecrest Court in 1949. The home at
1305 Highland Drive was built in 1950. A custom builder named Quick built 1313 Pinecrest
Circle for George Sullivan in 1952.
Other lots that were ripe for development did not lend themselves to the establishment of cul-de-sacs. In some cases lots had already been divided but houses had not been built; in other cases, subdivision was necessary. Excluding subdivision of the Wilson Farm, two plans for lot division were filed in 1945; six were filed in 1946. There were none in 1947, but in 1948, 1949, and 1950 two were filed each year. Still excluding the Wilson Estate, there were four in 1951, one in 1952, and two in 1953. Six lots were divided in 1954 and there was one each year in 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1959. The entire decade of the 1960s saw only four more lots subdivided for residential construction in Woodside Park.
The subdivided lots were found throughout Woodside Park. To cite only three examples, the large lot at the southeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Highland Drive was divided in 1945; lots on the east side of the 9100 block of Crosby Road were subdivided in 1949 and 1960; and lots on the southeast corner of Fairview Road and Highland Drive were re-subdivided in 1950.
There was considerable building activity between 1948 and 1953. Four houses were built on the new lots at the southeast corner of Fairview Road and Highland Drive. Another new house was built on the southeast corner of Fairview Road and Noyes Drive. Two new houses were built on the west side of the 8900 block of Fairview Road. There were two new houses on the south side of Noyes Drive near Fairview Road and two more just west of Alton Parkway. An additional two were built on the other side of that block closer to Woodland Drive. There was one new house on the west side of Woodland Drive between Noyes Drive and Woodside Parkway and two on the same side between Highland Drive and Grace Church Road. There were three new houses on the south side of the 1400 block of Woodside Parkway and one on the north. There were four new houses on the north side of the 1300 block of Woodside Parkway, including one at the corner of Woodside Parkway and Woodland Drive. Two new houses were built on the south side of the 1200 block of Woodside Parkway. All of the houses on the north side of Highland Drive between Watson Road and Alton Parkway except one were built during this period, as were the two houses just west of the Alton Parkway right-of-way on Highland Drive and the house on the southwest corner of Alton Parkway and Highland Drive. Two new houses were constructed on the south side of Highland Drive between its two intersections with Pinecrest Circle. All four houses facing Pinecrest Court were built during this period, as was the house on the southeast corner of the intersection of Highland Drive and Crosby Road. The south side of the 1400 block of Highland Drive had three new houses built. There was one new house on the east side of the 9100 block of Crosby Road. Four houses were built along the south side of Grace Church Road, two in each of the street's two blocks. Within the former Wilson Farm, by 1953 houses had been constructed on almost all of the lots facing Burton Street, the 1200 block of Ballard Street, and the west side of the 8900 block of Woodland Drive.
As might be guessed from all this building activity, except in parts of the Wilson Farm relatively
few vacant lots remained. The biggest concentrations of unbuilt lots in 1953 were on the north
side of Dale Drive in the blocks closest to Colesville Road and on the east side of Alton Parkway
between Woodside Parkway and Noyes Drive. Vacant lots in 1953 were:
Alton Parkway 8800, 8802, 8804, 8911, 9016, 9017, 9115
Burton Street 1211, 1213, 1215 [these three lots were the site of a large greenhouse owned by Charles T. Williams, who owned the adjoining lots facing Noyes Drive]
Crosby Road 9109, 9203
Dale Drive 917, 1001, 1003, 1005, 1007, 1008, 1009, 1101, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1109, 1119, 1205, 1207, 1311, 1408, 1503
Grace Church Road 1610
Highland Drive 1206, 1212
North Mansion Drive 1008
Noyes Court 4
Noyes Drive 1213, 1316
Pinecrest Circle 1219, 1221, 1223
South Mansion Drive 1009
Watson Road 9107
Woodland Drive all lots in the 8800 block, 8903, 8905, and the lot immediately south of 1420 Highland Drive (renumbered in 1993 to 9019 Woodland Drive)
Woodside Parkway 1220, 1233, 1304, 1305, 1408, 1410, 1412, 1414
Post-War Utility Service
Cable TV, the latest utility to serve Woodside Park, began hooking up customers in the neighborhood in the spring of 1988. Cables had been installed on existing utility poles throughout the neighborhood about two years earlier, but customers were never connected because the company that had been supplying the type of cable converter equipment then in use by the local cable utility went out of business. Unlike the converter equipment now in use, this "TRACS" equipment was installed on the utility lines outside the home and only a channel selector dial was placed in the home with the cable. Cable TV Montgomery took over the county cable tv franchise and began installing new converter equipment in which the entire mechanism is placed in the home, scrapping the earlier TRACS equipment. Woodside Park finally received service with the new converters and the TRACS equipment that had been hung in the neighborhood but never connected was removed. The monthly charge for all non-premium channels in 1988 was $16.95 (1997 equivalent: $22.90). Cable TV Montgomery steadily increased its rates. By 1997 it was charging $36.14 for all non-premium channels.
While cable tv was being installed in the 1980s, other utilities which had been serving the neighborhood since the 1920s in some cases were aging. Every winter has brought a series of water main breaks, particularly along Woodside Parkway and Highland Drive. These breaks have necessitated WSSC's digging up lawns and even driveways. In the summer of 1993 the WSSC replaced the entire water main on Woodland Drive between Noyes Drive and Highland Drive. The main in the 1300 block of Woodside Parkway was replaced in 1997. Other water mains have been relined. Telephone cables have also aged. Some blocks have been re-cabled by Bell Atlantic. PEPCO has also replaced both high voltage and service lines on some blocks.