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Next meeting: Monday, October 9, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the September meeting include:
approval of Annual Planning Commission Report for the State of Maryland

From the Mayor…

Communication Clarification: If you wish to communicate directly to the Town, you may call or send an e-mail to the Mayor or/and Town Council members directly. Another option is to contact Town Clerk Kathy Lehman in the Town Office and request the Clerk to forward messages to officials. The Town does not accept anonymous complaints.

Please remember the Town List Serve is not an official way to communicate with Town officials nor does the Town use the List Serve to communicate with residents. While this is a wonderful tool for communication among residents, it is not intended for official communication from the Town or official representatives. Please remember the List Serve does not reach all residents.

Master Plan Update: Groups are forming to work on items for the 2019 Town of Washington Grove Master Plan. Some items which need review include Lighting, McCathran Hall, Walkways, Parks, Historic Character, Forest Conservation, Stormwater Management and others. If you are interested in serving on updating particular items, please contact me directly. The current 2009 Master Plan is on the Town web site at washingtongrovemd.org. Please review to see all topics covered. New ideas are always welcome.

Student Service Learning Hours: The Town is required to have members who can sign off on behalf of Washington Grove for students to receive credit towards their Student Service Learning Hours. Jenn Hix and Joan Mahaffey have completed this training. All forms for the students must be signed by either of these two dedicated volunteers. Thanks to Jenn and Joan for helping our youth!

Happy Halloween to all!
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor
[email protected]

Planning Commission News…

Next meeting: Wed, October 4, 2017, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.

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 October 4, 2017:

  • 1 The Circle Fence
  • 1 The Circle Shed

Historic Preservation News…

Next meeting: Tuesday, October 17, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.


By Patricia Patula, Town 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.

“Everything’s Ready for the Camp Meeting – Directory of the Grove”

The Evening Star correspondent, who signed his article with his initials J. R. M., began his Aug. 8, 1892, newspaper report with a split, and unusually long title: “Everything’s Ready for the Camp Meeting – Directory of the Grove.” J.R.M. opens his narration in a similar manner as his Washington Post peers announcing “Rev. Richard Emmons of Washington preached in the tabernacle yesterday morning and evening. Everything is ready for the opening of the camp tomorrow, Tuesday, evening at 7:30 o’clock, when Rev. E. O. Eldridge will preach.”

The directory portion for the Washington Grove Camp Meeting lists ALL occupants on First through Six Avenues, South Avenue, Chestnut Avenue, the Circle, Park Place, Grove Avenue, Broadway, and even the Albany Hotel. There are at least 162 names, some counted as families and others as couples or singles. What motivated these newspaper reporters to write up an entire directory of camp meeting attendees? Was it required by their editors?

[After a closer look, it became clear why this particular newspaper article had been preserved for generations in a family archive and sent to the Town of Washington Grove as an historical artifact. It was from Sara Bettencourt, a descendant of the Jackson family whose names are listed on Second and Third Avenues thus providing verification of this family’s presence at the Camp Meeting in the Grove in 1892.]

Of equal importance to dedicated correspondent J. R. M., however, is the music event that involved camp attendees, but occurred outside the camp meeting itself. He writes: “Quite a large number of singers, under the direction of Mrs. J. R. Mickle, went over to Rockville yesterday [August 7, 1892] to assist in the dedication of the new Methodist Church there… Among those who went from the Grove to assist in the music were Mrs. W. H. Allen, Mr. E. Bergman, Misses Naomi Naylor Jennie Mickle, Ollie Travers and Ella Laurenson and W. J. Parmer, A. E. Middleton, Fred Allen, Emery Wilson, J. R. Mickle, Alfred Wood and James Houghton.”

Reporter J.R.M. acknowledged each participant: “Mrs. Mickle, Mrs. Buck and Messrs. Palmer and Middleton sang a quartet, ‘Give Praise Unto God.’ Miss Laurenson sang a solo, ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.’ Emery Wilson sang a bass solo, ‘Calvary.’ Misses Laurenson, Mrs. Buck and Messrs. Allen and Wilson sang a quartet, ‘Only a Beam of Sunshine.’ Mrs. J. R. Mickle was the precentor [sic] and Mrs. G. W. Offutt the organist.” [While we have no confirmation that these songs were also used at the camp meeting itself, there is a strong possibility that, due to the Methodist connection, they were sung at the services. This list is of special interest to church musicians.]

The correspondent continues: “Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Robinson furnished refreshments for the entire party, and a bountiful supply of fried chicken soon disappeared. The church was dedicated as ‘Moore’s Chapel.’ Rev. Robert Moore is the pastor, who has worked hard to have a church in this community. It is a pretty Gothic building and is located in West End Park. The party returned to the Grove in the wee sma’ [sic] hours of the morning and made the walkin [sic] ring with their sweet songs.”

The narrator was surely present to hear the “sweet songs” of music in the early hours of the morning and to see that the singing was done while walking. Was it done under starlight or did some have a lantern to carry? It is approximately five miles from Washington Grove to West End Park [a subdivision] in Rockville, so most likely wagons of some sort provided transportation, for at least part of the way. What light sources were there for safe travel? There were no street lights at the camp – that did not happen until 1914, and even then, after PEPCO’s installation of the lights, few cottages had lighting. One wonders how the other campers felt about these exuberant musicians, obviously in a party spirit, coming back at that time of night.

In other articles of this series, some of the Washington Post writers mentioned music at the camp meetings. For example, on August 20, 1883, the correspondent recalled both the band’s presence at the Temperance Day event and Miss Annie Fieldmeyer’s singing which was “one of the most attractive features of the day which unfortunately was one that was disagreeably warm.”

In an August 6, 1897, Post article is written “. . . At night an impromptu choir makes the woods resound with music until 9 or 10 o’clock, when all retire and silence reigns supreme.”

“In the evening [of the camp meeting Aug. 1, 1901] the Rev. Dr. Huntley, pastor of Jefferson Street Church, Baltimore, preached to a large congregation. A pleasing feature of the evening service was the music by a large choir, of which Mr. James Dyer, of Washington, is conductor. The camp meeting will continue nine days.”

The Washington Post on June 23, 1903, announced that “Col. George A. Pearre, who will deliver a patriotic address on the Fourth of July, will meet with a hearty reception. Delegations will be in attendance from Rockville, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville, and Damascus. Music will be sung by the Grove chorus choir of fifty voices, under the leadership of P. S. Foster, of Washington, D. C.”

Over the years, the camp meeting tradition of hymn singing became replaced with a more varied repertoire as expressed in this excerpt from the report of the Association’s Board of Trustee’s President, Edwin A. Swingle [April 30, 1925]. He wrote: “The Washington Grove Band will entertain at 5 o’clock today with a public concert to be given at the Circle, and tonight at 8:00 P.M. will present a drama in the Auditorium. On June 20, 1925, the Choir of the Church of the Covenant will give a recital in the Auditorium. All of these concerts merit your attendance and hearty support.”

The valued tradition of music in Washington Grove was off to a good start!

i Edwards, Philip K. Washington Grove 1873-1937(1988), p.250
ii The Washington Post (1877-1922) Aug. 21, 1883; Proquest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg. 3
iii The Washington Post (1877-1922) July 3, 1880; Proquest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg.2
iv The Washington Post (1877-1922) Aug. 2, 1901; Proquest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg. 4
v The Washington Post (1877-1922) June 24, 1903; Proquest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg.4
vi Washington Grove Archives: Annual Report of the President (Edwin A. Swingle) April 30, 1925

Forestry & Beautification News…

Next Meeting: October 18, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
The Forestry and Beautification Committee met on Sept 13. Eight new trees will be planted this fall with four more trees being moved to new locations to improve their chances for successful growth. A beautification project is planned for the Circle. There will be a fall cleanup day on October 14 at 10AM. We will remove English Ivy, apply fertilizer, and prune azaleas. In the spring new azalea bushes will be added as well as pachysandra and native ferns. If you are interested in helping, just come at 10AM with any gardening tools you think useful. The azaleas (and the Forestry and Beautification Committee!) will thank you for your TLC.

What’s That?

Plant Invaders

Japanese Knotweed and Japanese Clematis
Fallopia japonica Japanese Knotweed
This plant has recently been identified in the Washington Grove Meadow adjacent to Ridge Road. It spreads both by roots and by seed and, sadly, it has already set its seeds. We suggest you be vigilant in your own yards as it is much easier to get rid of if you spot it early.

It is a large, herbaceous perennial plant of the knotweed and buckwheat family. It is native to East Asia in Japan, China and Korea. Japanese knotweed has hollow stems with distinct raised nodes that give it the appearance of bamboo, though it is not related. While stems may reach a maximum height of 9–13 ft, it is typical to see much smaller plants in places where they sprout through cracks in the pavement or are repeatedly cut down. The leaves are broad oval with a truncated base. The flowers are small, cream or white, produced in erect racemes 2.5–6 in) long in late summer and early autumn. It is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species. As with all invasive species, Japanese knotweed is most effectively controlled by recognizing their appearance early and removing isolated plants before they begin spread.

The invasive root system and strong growth can damage concrete foundations and buildings. The plant is also resilient to cutting, vigorously resprouting from the roots. Japanese knotweed has a large underground network of roots (rhizomes). To eradicate the plant the roots need to be killed. Even small portions of the plant can regenerate a new plant and the trimmings must be carefully destroyed. The best way to achieve this would be to first reduce the size of tall stalks with pruners or a machete, pick up all the pieces, and then use a bagging lawnmower with a very sharp blade to cut the plants down low. Carefully empty the mower bag into a super thick trash bag afterwards and let it sit in the sun for a week before you put it out at the curb for pickup. Do this ‘cook and trash’ routine with any cut portions; the ability of this plant to re-root is legendary. Don’t even think about putting it in your compost pile!

Clematis terniflora Japanese Autumn Blooming Clematis
Often sold as Clematis paniculata. This non-native is often confused with the similar, but native, Clematis virginiana (also called woodbine). Both vines grow abundantly and produce masses of small white flowers in the autumn. They are easy to tell apart as the native has leaves growing in three leaflets that have coarse unequal teeth on the margins while the Japanese vine has smooth oval leaves growing opposite each other. If you want this type of vine it is best to find native Clematis, but if you have one of the Japanese ones just keep an eye on it. They tend to spread rapidly but can be controlled by pruning back vigorously before winter. If you want a good looking native vine, consider buying the native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirins. It has a beautiful red trumpet flower very attractive to hummingbirds and a yellow flowered version is also available.

Woods Committee News…

Next Meeting: Monday, October 2, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. Please join us!
The Woods Committee follows the direction of the Town of Washington Grove Resolution 8-82 which states: “The Town protect and maintain the integrity of its forest reserve, undiminished in acreage, as an indispensable element in preserving the idyllic character of the community.” Our road map for preservation is the Forest Stewardship Plan approved by the Town Council in 2015. Japanese barberry is a non-native invasive plant that has already made substantial inroads into our West Woods, according to the 2015 Forest Stewardship Report. Japanese Barberry is known for harboring colonies of ticks which carry Lyme Disease. Japanese barberry has thorny stems and small green oval leaves with red berries in the fall and winter. This highly shade tolerant shrub displaces a variety of native herb and shrub species in forest areas where it is well established. Fortunately, there are mechanical means to control this plant. The Woods Committee has purchased a weed wrench which can be used to uproot these shrubs when the soil is moist. If you are interested in helping to mechanically remove Japanese barberry in the West Woods, please contact Joan Mahaffey by leaving a message at the Town Office.

Woman’s Club News…

We are still collecting items for the Gude Men’s Shelter through October 19th. That evening, we will be filling the bags, and we would love everyone to come help!

Through the end of October, we are again collecting gently used winter wear for the needy children of our own Washington Grove Elementary School. It’s heartbreaking how many of these kids will otherwise have nothing warm to wear this winter. So please, sort through your closets and bring any coats, hats, scarves and gloves to the plastic bin on the Clubhouse porch.

This Halloween we are again collecting leftover candy to send to our deployed troops. This is also a wonderful chance for our kids to share their bounty with those who help to keep us safe, as they Trick or Treat for Those Who Serve! There will be a bin on the Clubhouse porch, or your candy can be dropped off on Wendy Weisbard’s porch at 119 Grove Road.

Recreation Committee News…

Next Meeting: Wed., October 11, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.

2017 Holiday Show
Mark your calendars! The Annual Holiday Show will be on Saturday, December 16, 2017.


The 9th Annual Washington Grove “BLUESTOBER FEST” is on Saturday, October 14th, 2017, 6-10:00 pm. Please come out and enjoy a fun musical gathering with family and friends as we celebrate the autumn season with the acoustic sounds of Jay Summerour & Mark Peryear from 6-7:00 pm and then electric blues from The James Mabry Blues Band from 7:30-10 pm. This event will be held at the Gazebo (McCathran Hall if it rains). Sausages, hot dogs, potato salad, condiments and cookies provided. Please bring a side dish to share. BYOB!

For more information, contact Lawren Lankford at (703) 203-1643 or Eric Selby at (703) 203-8100. We can sure use some help with set-up and clean up, so please e-mail or call us if you are willing to help or have any question.

Film Society News…

Join your neighbors on Sunday, October 15, 7 PM, for the opening of the 2017-2018 Film Society series when we will show Sing Street, a heartfelt and hilarious story about a young man in Dublin who finds himself through the music of the 1980’s. Directed by John Carney, (2016), 106 minutes, Ireland, in English with subtitles. Please support the series by purchasing a subscription for 5 movies for only $20; send a check, payable to the Town of Washington Grove, to Birgit Henninger, P.O. Box 355. Tickets are $7 at the door.

Annual Halloween Blackthorn Ceili & Potluck

Friday, October 27 at McCathran Hall
Blackthorn will hold a ceili (dance) party on Friday,
October 27 at McCathran Hall from 7 to 10:30 pm. Costumes are optional. Caller will be Marilyn Moore. Grovers are welcome to join in the dancing or come to enjoy the live music. You may bring a dish to share and join in a potluck. Free to Grove residents but contributions to pay the musicians are gratefully accepted.
Sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee.

Town Halloween Party

October 28th at McCathran Hall, 4:00 -7:00 pm
This year we will be having fun games for all ages and a walk through a Haunted Basement! Come over for some Halloween fun! We will also have a Costume Parade so come prepared!

Trick or Treating in Washington Grove

Trick or treating in the Grove is on Tuesday, October 31 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Have fun and be safe!

Hometown Habitat Nov. 4, 2017 4:00 – 6:00 PM

This film encourages environmental/native plant focused groups to partner with other community groups to broaden outreach to promote native plants. The film also features information related to pesticide-herbicide use, based on the work of Lorrie Otto, founder of the natural-landscaping movement. She was known as “ The voice for the ‘little things,’ the bugs, the butterflies and the birds.” Come watch this 90-minute film which showcases the beauty of the native plants and wildlife. This event is sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee and the Woods Committee.

Congratulations to this year’s Super Grove Camillia (Cam) Clifford!!

Kudos to Craig English and Company!

Despite the weather, the Labor Day Festivities were a big hit and well attended. None of this could have happened without the dedicated work of Craig English and his company (too many to mention) of enthusiastic, generous and supportive volunteers. Many thanks to Craig and everyone who made this annual Labor Day event possible.

Washington Grove Church News…

As we head into the Holiday Season, we are preparing for a revival of our Christmas Bazaar and Children’s Secret Shop on Saturday, November 18th, from 9 AM to 4 PM. A group of local crafters has spent the last year creating hundreds of handmade items to sell. What a great chance to find some truly unusual gifts!

Be sure to mark your calendars to join us on Wednesday evening, November 22nd for our annual Ecumenical Evening of Special Thanksgiving. Once again, the service will include music and entertainment by many Town residents.

Remember, Sunday worship services are at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church. Please think about joining us.

Emergency Preparedness Committee

Next Meeting: Thursday, October 26, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.

General Information

Dog Park Work Group
The Dog Park Work Group has the following dates scheduled for their meetings: October 7; October 28; and November 18.

All meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall. All meetings are open to the public.

Bulk Trash Collection Scheduled
The Town has scheduled a bulk trash collection for Oct. 14, 2017. Materials may include furniture, appliances (nothing with freon like air conditioning units), rugs, large toys, small auto parts, etc.

Material may NOT include construction by-products from your renovation projects, large automotive parts or tires. Items should not contain gasoline or motor oil. Please keep your metal separate from the rest of your trash. Items must be out by 7:00 AM!!


Washington Grove residents have been responding to a variety of needs using the Washington Grove Cares (WGC) website (washingtongrovecares.org). Recent examples include providing meals for families under stress, occasional dog walking, and identifying walking companions. Think about WGC to help fill other kinds of needs as well: when you need a ride to a medical appointment or to the local Metro station or library; help with solving a specific computer tech problem; or your pet needs feeding when you are out of town. WGC invites other sorts of ideas for building a neighborly community. Are you looking for neighbors to join you in a Spanish or French conversation group or a gardening group? Want to share tips on improving home safety to prevent falls? To find other like-minded neighbors, share your idea by describing it in the “Other kinds of requests form” on the “Make an Assistance Request” section of the WGC website.

**Refresher on using the WGC website
To ask for help: At the top of the screen, click on “Make an Assistance Request” and follow the link to fill out a form.
To offer help: Click on the calendar and choose date(s) with a green square to sign yourself up as a helper for that task.

Questions: contact [email protected] or call 240-813-3316.

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