In 2011, The Chevy Chase Historical Society published its first book on local history.
The Placenames of Chevy Chase, Maryland was researched and written by long-time Chevy Chase residents and CCHS members Joan Marsh and Frances Stickles. Both published authors in their own right before they wrote Placenames, Marsh and Stickles brought a combined 100 years of living in Chevy Chase to their work as researchers, historians and residents of the neighborhoods they bring to life in the book.
The co-authors originally intended to produce a book of historical photographs, culled from the substantial collection assembled by CCHS photograph curator Eleanor Ford. But as work on the book proceeded, they realized the fascinating stories behind the pictures demanded a fuller explanation of the stories behind them. The result: a richly illustrated volume with numerous short anecdotes describing life in the streetcar from the 1890s until today.
Both Marsh and Stickles say they enjoyed getting to know some of the characters of early Chevy Chase --- Jessie Claude, the Village’s colorful postmistress for 40 years; Minnie Brooke, a leading suffragist and postcard publisher; World War II hero James Devereaux; and David Fairchild, instrumental in bringing the famous Japanese cherry trees to Washington.
Local residents read the book and shared their reactions:
“I’m already halfway through it and didn’t expect it to be so interesting,” one resident said.
“I just loved it – not a single footnote!” said another Placenames fan.
“I drive by places in Chevy Chase whose details I never noticed before and now can appreciate, thanks to your book,” said another.
For many readers, Placenames has stirred memories of their own, making them ideal candidates to give oral histories themselves to the Historical Society’s archives.