TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
Next meeting: Monday, February 13, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the January meeting included:
- accepted bid proposal from Invasive Plant Control, Inc. (IPC, Inc.) in the amount of $32,526.35 for work in the East Woods.
From the Mayor…
This January, the Town encountered serious vandalism. In each case, the tree girdling, tar thrown on the all-weather tennis court, and on the Town historic marker and rock, the police were called and reports were written up. Each act is considered a crime. If you have any information on who may be the perpetrator of these acts or have seen suspicious activity, please contact me immediately.
The tennis court and historic marker damage cost the Town significant funds for repair. Thanks to Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts for his expertise on repairing this damage.
I realize many Town residents are very concerned about this vandalism. The Town is taking significant steps to increase protection in Town by using portable security devices. If you witness suspicious activity, please call 911 immediately.
I met with Montgomery County Parks staff to view the girdled trees. We will not be able to determine the full extent of the damage until spring. Some of the trees may not be completely girdled. There is a chance some trees may survive. The Parks Department will replace the trees as necessary if they do not survive. I am pleased with Montgomery Parks for their dedication to the Washington Grove Meadow Conservation Park.
The new trees currently being installed in the Washington Grove Meadow Conservation Park are part of the Memorandum of Understanding between Montgomery County and the Town to add to the tree line along Ridge Road.
Work in East Woods
The Town Council voted to accept a bid from Invasive Plant Control (IPC) to work on removal of invasive plants throughout the East Woods. This is a five-year contact, renewable each year, to remove invasive plant material. I am calling an Informational Town Meeting on February 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall in regards to this contract and to hear a presentation by the Woods Committee about fencing in the East Woods. The purpose of the fencing is to exclude deer which will allow for the natural process of reforestation. Two (2) representatives from IPC will be in attendance to answer questions. IPC may be starting to perform preliminary work in the East Woods prior to this meeting. If you have any questions in advance, please contact me directly at [email protected] or 301-869-5358.
Joli A. McCathran
Important Message for Washington Grove Taxpayers
Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State income tax paid by Town residents. Because our residents do not have mail delivered to street addresses, this presents a challenge for the State Comptroller’s office when attributing the taxes collected to Washington Grove. It is critical that all Washington Grove residents (including renters!) designate “Washington Grove.” For Maryland iFile, under “Name of county and incorporated city, town, or special taxing area in which you were a resident on the last day of the taxable period,” select “Montgomery, Washington Grove” from the drop down menu. This block is separate from the address blocks. Turbo Tax and H&R Block software also include drop down menus where you may select “Montgomery County” and then “Washington Grove.” Please share this information with your renters and your tax preparer, if appropriate. This DOES NOT increase your taxes, but DOES help ensure that the Town receives its proper share of local income tax revenue. Thanks for your help! Questions, call Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498.
Planning Commission News…
Next meeting: Wed., February 1, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
If you are considering any renovation or building project at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process. The procedures are available from the Town Clerk or from the Town’s website. Both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission are here to help with your renovation/building project.
Permits up for approval on February 1, 2017:
- 118 Grove Ave. fencing
- 114 Ridge Rd. addition
Historic Preservation Commission News…
Next meeting: Tuesday, February 21, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
FROM THE TOWN ARCHIVES
By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist
News Dispatches from Other Centuries
A series devoted to describing Washington Grove’s earliest days based on historic newspapers (appearing as written) and original records in the Grove’s archives.
Portrait of a Founding Mother: Amelia Elmore Huntley, Part Three
In our previous installment, we left Amelia during the spring of 1913. That April, fundraising efforts were underway to construct the “Amelia E. Huntley Hall” on the campus of a Methodist boarding school for girls in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China. In June, Amelia became the first woman ever elected to the Washington Grove Association’s Board of Trustees. She would then have been in her early 70s and possibly just emerging from the loss of her beloved husband, Reverend Elias DeWitt Huntley (1840-1909), pastor to a series of Washington D.C. Methodist churches and a former chaplain of the United States Senate. In the difficult years following Reverend Huntley’s death, Amelia continued with her work as corresponding secretary for the Baltimore chapter of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. In 1910, she traveled to Scotland to serve as a delegate to the International Conference on Missions. As noted in our last article, missionary work (often unpaid) was one of the few career options then available to educated women such as Amelia.
The June 8, 1913 Washington Post article that covered Amelia’s election ran it under the headline “WASHINGTON GROVE ELECTS.” According to the article, “the factional fight among the conservative and progressive members of the Grove culminated in the election of the three progressive candidates.” Because the election occurred at the height of America’s so-called Progressive Era (circa late 1880s to early 1920s), the word “progressive” carried with it a different set of meanings than it does today. Historians have long sought to craft a concise definition for the period but it is probably best understood as an attempt by Americans to reform nearly every aspect of their society. By the time the three progressive candidates (Amelia among them) assumed office, conditions in Washington Grove had deteriorated to the point where reform was badly needed. Washington Grove Association president, L. Cabell Williamson, described the situation as follows in his 1914 annual report:
“…practically no money in the treasury; the streets and avenues were not lighted; the pumps were in need of repair; the superintendent’s cottage was so dilapidated that it was liable to collapse; the hotel was badly out of repair…”
These problems and others evidently developed during Major Samuel Walker’s tenure as the Association’s president (1909-1913). Amelia, along with another newly elected progressive Board member, Frank Rynex, was appointed to the Grounds Committee where they tackled and resolved most of these problems within the year. According to Philip K. Edwards’s Washington Grove, 1873-1937, one additional aspect of the so-called “Walker Years,” was unease over what was perceived as a change to the Grove’s character. Many in the community believed that this had been brought about by Walker’s actions, as both the Association’s president and as a private citizen. Amelia, once elected, quickly became (excuse the cliché) a thorn in Major Walker’s side. Since there is limited space in the Town Bulletin, we will look beyond Amelia’s skirmishes with Walker, and concentrate instead upon her achievements, a number of which were accomplished with the aid of other Grove women.
Historians have identified the general issues that attracted Progressive Era reformers. Among these were civic betterment, the regulation of corporations, public health, conservation, and improving housing and factory conditions. Within the realm of civic betterment, women became deeply involved in improving the physical landscapes of their communities. As early as 1905, the Civics Committee of Washington Grove’s Women’s Guild turned their attentions to “the Main Entrance and the Circle.” In 1906, the Guild was granted “the privilege of beautifying Knott Park.” Once Amelia became an Association trustee and a member of the Grounds Committee, she ensured that such efforts continued to receive the Association’s support. At a 1915 meeting of the Board, she presented the Guild’s plan “for the improvement of Wade Park,” some of which also addressed a series of troublesome drainage issues. That same evening she also presented a plan “for the improvement of the entrance to the Grove at the railroad station.” The Board approved both plans, noting that the project designs, created by Netta Craig, were very “artistic.” Board of Trustees meeting minutes from 1916 record their approval of yet another park project presented by Amelia on behalf of the Guild. In this instance, “Miss Godey and Miss Reese [proposed] to improve and beautify the Jackson Park by planting plants and making walks therein.”
Arbor Day holds special significance for the residents of Washington Grove, who observe it here every spring. First originated in Nebraska in 1872, it began to receive national attention in 1907 due to efforts by President Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, a leader in the Progressive Era’s conservation movement and chief of the United States Forest Service. Although we in the archives would like to know more about the history of the town’s involvement with Arbor Day observances, one fact that we have uncovered is that it was Amelia who first introduced Arbor Day into Grove life. In 1913, as part of its package of Grove reforms, the Board created a Forestry Committee. In the Board of Trustees meeting minutes from March of that year we learn that Amelia, speaking on behalf of this newly formed committee, reported “they had an offer on the part of a Baltimore expert on trees to come to the Grove and give an opinion on trees.” The expert was Fred W. Besley, a protégé of Gifford Pinchot and Maryland’s first State Forester, a position he occupied from 1906 to 1942. Besley would also become the author of The Forests of Maryland (1916), which was based upon seven years of field research and the first such work produced in the United States. Besley toured the Grove’s woodlands on July 29, 1913. At their September meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to accept his assessment and its recommendations. During the same meeting, Amelia made a motion that “a day to be known as Arbor Day” be designated in the spring of 1914 and that the trustees invite Besley. The letter inviting Besley and his cordial reply stating that he would happily attend are now in the Grove’s archives. According to the trustees’ letter, “further details have been left to the Forestry Committee from whom you will no doubt hear later.” Unfortunately we have yet to find evidence that the event actually occurred, and if it did occur, whether or not Besley was a participant.
The records indicate that Amelia continued to serve on the Board of Trustees until 1925. Over the years she became less active on such committees as Grounds, Sanitation, and Forestry, instead preferring to devote all of her energies to the Religious Services Committee. The March 4, 1934 edition of the Washington Post marked Amelia’s 90th birthday with the headline, “Mrs. Huntley, 90, Holds Celebration, Many Friends Feliciate Noted Church Worker.” The paper reported that the event, held at her Washington Grove home, was attended by “lifelong friends” and that she received telegrams “from all over the United States.” Amelia died two years later, in 1936. Appropriately enough, her passing occurred as the Washington Grove Association approached its official transformation from a Methodist camp meeting ground to the secular municipality known today as the Town of Washington Grove.
46: Sources/Washington Grove Archives: Annual Report of the President (L. Cabell Williamson), May 1914; Committee Membership Lists, 1913-1925; Grounds Committee Reports, 1913-1915;
Washington Grove Association Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes 1905, 1906, 1913, 1915, 1916; Washington Grove Association Correspondence 1913.
Additional Sources: Philip K. Edwards Washington Grove, 1873-1937; www.findagrave.com (Huntley); Ross Kimmel and Offutt Johnson, “The History of Maryland State Parks” https://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/md-conservation-history/State-Park-History.aspx; Eric Rutkow, American Canopy: Trees, Forests and the Making of a Nation; Bonj Szczygiel “City Beautiful Revisited: An Analysis of Nineteenth-Century Civic Improvement Efforts,” Journal of Urban History 2003, 29:107; Robert H. Wiebe 1967 The Search for Order, 1877-1920; The Washington Post (1877-1922), June 8, 1913, March 4, 1934, ProQuest Historical Newspapers; Woman’s Missionary Friend, 1913, Volume 45-145.
Recreation Committee News…
Next Meeting: Wed., March 15, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room
Contra and Diction! Veteran contra dance caller DeLaura Padovan and musicians Steve Hickman on fiddle and John Devine on guitar will be kicking off what is shaping up to be a full 2017 calendar of fun in Washington Grove on Saturday, February 4 at McCathran Hall. There will be a free lesson starting at 7 p.m. and then the dancing from 7:30 to 10. Members of Terpsichore’s Holiday Folk Dance Camp will also be on hand to herd the more stray cats. Dancing is really good for the diet resolutions but you can bring a snack to share at intermission if you want. For more information call Shelley Winkler at 301-330-6446.
AND keep those dancing shoes handy for the Ceili Friday, March 10. Details to come next month.
But wait, there’s more! The popular adult exercise classes will be resuming–talk about New Year, new you!—Classes are on Thursdays at 4:00 PM in McCathran Hall. They begin on Feb. 16th and end on May 11th. There will be no class on March 23rd, April 13th or April 20th. The subscription cost is $5 per session. Alums of the fall series may have already checked in, but if you haven’t yet participated and are interested or have questions, contact Mimi Bolotin, 301-977-7331 or [email protected].
And the ‘Recking Crew is looking for ideas for a kids’ program in the spring. In the past we’ve had reptile shows, mimes, storytellers, and magicians. If you have an inspiration, please contact Eve Zibart at [email protected].
Film Society News…
On February 12, at 7 PM, the Film Society will show Tender Mercies. In this Texas tale of a washed-up country music star who finds redemption with a widow and her young son, Robert Duvall’s performance is subdued yet powerful. From the director of “Driving Miss Daisy,” this film richly testifies to the healing qualities of love. Directed by Bruce Beresford, 1983, US, 92 minutes. This film will be shown without subtitles. $7 at the door; please join us for the discussion after the movie.
Woman’s Club News…
Next Event: Saturday, February 18, 2017, Annual Chili Supper!
Now it’s time to pull out your favorite chili, corn bread or coleslaw recipes for our ever popular Annual Chili Supper, Saturday February 18, 2017, starting at 6:00 PM at McCathran Hall. We need both meat and vegetarian chili, mild, medium and hot! Plus, we need lots of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and guacamole! So, please contact Sylvia Appleby at 301-926-9094 ([email protected]) and let her know what you’ll be bringing. Sylvia will be reaching out to volunteers soon. This is a wonderful family event for the whole Town, so please plan to join us.
Our January White Elephant Auction was once again a great success. We want to thank all who helped make it such a fun and spirited evening. Special thanks go to JoAnn and Nick Suzich for hosting us in their home; and to Sylvia Appleby for organizing the evening.
Forestry & Beautification News…
The Forestry & Beautification Committee is on a Winter break. Stay tuned….
Woods Committee News…
Next Meeting: Monday, February 6, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.
The Woods Committee has been following the Forest Stewardship Plan as a guide for removing and controlling non-native invasive plants and for reforestation. Recently, the Town Council awarded a contract for invasive plant control which will begin in the East Woods as early as February 2017. Please watch for Grove Alerts and posted notices in the East Woods when crews are working in certain areas.
Washington Grove Church News…
Starting Sunday, February 12th, we will begin a new series of Sunday School Classes, for children from nursery age to 5th grade. These classes will be held most Sundays, during the 11:00 AM Church Service. If you are interested, please contact Mary Lou English [email protected] or 301-840-1834.
On February 11th, at 6:00 PM, we’re hosting a catered Valentine’s Dinner. Tickets must be purchased in advance, so if you’d like to join us, please contact Kathi Ives at 202-213-2392. The dinners are $18 per adult, $8 for children under 12, and children under 3 eat for free. This should be a fun, family evening.
You’re also invited to join us on February 28th, at 6:00 PM, for our annual Sausage and Pancakes Shrove Tuesday Dinner. The men are cooking, so it should be delicious!
Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880. Rev. EunJoung Joo (301-947-0532).
ROADSIDE RECYCLING IN WASHINGTON GROVE
Please put all recyclables including mixed paper and recyclable yard waste by the road on Thursdays by 7 AM. For missed pickups call the Town Office 301-926-2256 or [email protected] Yard waste is NOT collected during January and February.
Town Elections are coming up! Have you thought about becoming a member of the Town Council? We encourage anyone intrigued by this idea to talk to anyone in the Town Government about it. Ask around among your neighbors—many residents have already served and can give you an idea of what it’s like. Washington Grove can only thrive with the participation of motivated residents like YOU!
Vacant Homes Task Force
The next meeting of this task force is not known at this
time. Please call the Town Office for more information. The meetings are open to the public.
Emergency Preparedness Committee
This Committee will regularly meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the Council Room. The meetings are open to the public.
Budget Work Session
The Budget Work Session has been scheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.