Scheduled for April 8, 2002

In this issue,
Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights-Status Report by Eric Sanne
Airplanes over Brookdale by Anthony DiLullo
SHADY DREAMS by Fiona Carson
Brookdale Home Sales by Kathleen McElroy
More announcements
and Ads


The late Winter/early Spring has been relatively free of reported crime and big development events. The primary focus of the Executive Committee has been on the internal community.

Community Issues
Parks and Trees
We have continued work with the Department of Parks and Planning to complete the improvements to Brookdale Park. Construction of a connector sidewalk in Brookdale Park is being contracted and should go in relatively soon. Bill Gillette, Parks Manager, plans to trim and cut dangerous trees in the park and is looking into fixing the drainage, erosion problems at the edge of the road (rather than call upon Traffic and Parking Services, a much lengthier process). I am also in contact with the Playground Equipment staff on when we might expect equipment for older children and a possible renovation to the current tot lot.

Recently, the County decided to plant more trees on public lands in an effort to combat the tremendous deforestation taking place in the County. This was realized in their decision to plant more than 30 good-sized native trees in Boundary Park (a environmental conservation area) this Spring. You may want to be on the alert for public areas within Brookdale that could use more trees in a fall planting. (Spring planting is over.)

In early November I requested 9 new street trees for Brookdale. I am told the 8 for Merivale and Dalton will be planted this Spring. One requested for Western falls outside their jurisdiction. Kudos to those of you collecting names and signing!

Streets: Request for Safety Inspections
February 28, the Department of Traffic & Parking Services responded to my November 2000 request for several safety checks within Brookdale. As a result we have one new stop sign on Keokuk at Dover Court, and new signs on Cortland and Westport indicating no parking 50 feet from their intersection. The crosswalk at Harrison and Western will be renewed. Playground warning signs were added on Dalton Rd. near Brookdale Park. The report indicates the need for removal of obstructions of view at several intersections, most notably the southeast side of the intersection of Dover and Keokuk and the south corner of Dalton Rd and Westport, and surrounding the parking controls on the southeast side of Westport Rd.

The residents whose property is on Park Place have been working with County officials on a new turnaround on Park Place. The turnaround plan has been agreed to by all parties, and we are now working out the problems of the street width being inadequate in spots.

Residents should note that if an entire block wants to have a sidewalk installed, the County has a program to provide it free of charge.

General residential street sweeping by Montgomery County will not take place this year. The rationale is the lack of salting and sanding during the Winter and county lack of funds. According to Lew Cutsail, if some streets need special attention, sweeping may be requested by calling 240-777-7623. Residents may learn the status of the request by calling back one week later.

Development of Land
I reported on the major development issues in the January Bugle. We expect digging to begin on both the Chevy Chase Land Co. and Hecht's sites by Jan. 1. Schedules depend on financing.

There is no action on the GEICO site at this time. However, GEICO has begun to sell some houses they own in Brookdale. GEICO has sold one house on Cortland Road, and another on Westport is on the market, leaving them with 9 other houses and three empty lots in Brookdale at this time. According to Steve Martz, GEICO, their "policy" of non-sale now applies only to houses that abut their property, not including Brookdale Park (which is leased to the county until development of their site is complete).

The fact that part of the fence is missing between GEICO and Brookdale near Saratoga has been brought to Steve Martz's attention.

Crime prevention
I have attended three meetings for Brookdale that addressed issues of crime and crime prevention. On January 23 at the Friendship Heights Task Force I brought out the issues we have surfaced and our work with the ANC-3 people. The Task Force's Public Safety Committee met on March 1 with the several police forces and fire & rescue leaders in attendance. There I had the opportunity to meet Cmdr. Peter Newsham, the DC 2nd District, and to talk with him and Cmdr. Luther Reynolds about our concerns. They have issued a joint statement that addresses jurisdictions and cell phones. Then on February 23, I attended the forum prepared by CCCFH. As a result of the Executive Team's efforts, two block meetings (Park Av. and Westport Rd.) have taken place in Brookdale with Officer Dana Matthis in attendance. From all accounts those were very successful meetings in bringing neighbors together to deal with safety on those blocks. I hope that others may do this formally or informally.

Organization News
We have a new Vice President of Wohlshire, as of February (see box), and I have appointed a Nominating Committee for the election in May.

Volunteers are still needed as block captains for the West side of River Road 4600 block, Willard Ave., and the 5200 block of Saratoga. Please call me or the appropriate VP.

I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting on May 8, and saying a fond farewell as President.

Gwen Lewis

New Vice President for Wohlshire Appointed

William Geiger is VP for Wohlshire again after a couple years' hiatus; he is replacing Lisa Hochheiser, who had to step down before her term ended. William was raised in Brookdale (Wohlshire) and is happy to be raising his own family here. William works as both a contractor for and reserve lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. William and his wife, Marie Geiger, have 5-year-old twins at Westbrook Elementary School.
Nominating Committee Members

The May meeting of the Association means election of officers for the next year. Some slots are wide open. Please suggest nominees for Brookdale officers to the Nominating Committee:

Mike Makuch, Brookdale N, Chair
Sue Bruser, Wohlshire
Bill McCloskey, Brookdale S
Jodi Benjamin, Orchardale


The Brookdale Citizens' Association: Who We Are and What We Do
In the time I've served as the Vice President for Brookdale South, it's become clear to me that many of our residents have only a vague idea, at best, about the purpose of the Brookdale Citizens' Association. In fact, some don't even know that the Association exists, let alone what it does!

Among those who know that the Association exists, some apparently believe that it is a sort of homeowners' association, whose duty it is to enforce rules and ordinances within the community. (This is not the case: the Association has no regulatory or enforcement capabilities, but officers and block captains can direct you to local government agencies that can assist you with problems such as barking dogs, illegally parked cars, and the like.)

Others know virtually nothing about the organization, beyond the fact that it periodically distributes a newsletter, a neighborhood directory, and a request to pony up for dues.

I admit that, prior to becoming active in the organization, I was in the latter category. While I thought that $20 annually was a bit pricey for a directory, I dutifully paid up because I was grateful for such a useful packet of names, addresses, and telephone numbers so that I could call my neighbors in an emergency or look up the right number when I needed information or service from a county agency.

I now know that the Association does more than publish a directory much more, in fact. What is the Association, what is its purpose, and what does it do for us, the residents?

What is the Association? Founded in 1938, the Brookdale Citizens' Association now encompasses the communities of Brookdale North & South, Orchardale, and Wohlshire. Elected officers include the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and four Vice Presidents one each from Brookdale North, Brookdale South, Orchardale, and Wohlshire.

In addition to attending regular meetings of the Executive Committee, Vice Presidents are charged with conveying information and materials to block captains (see below) for dissemination and communicating neighborhood concerns to the Executive Committee. They also carry out a variety of specific tasks, as needed, such as contributing articles to the Bugle, organizing welcome baskets for new residents, and helping to organize neighborhood events.

Vice Presidents also find and appoint Area Liaison Representatives (aka "block captains") to assist in their areas. In addition to such duties as delivering the Bugle and posting signs to inform residents of upcoming events, block captains serve as "meeters and greeters," welcoming new residents to the neighborhood, acquainting them with the Association, and forwarding information for inclusion in the directory. Block captains also convey the concerns of the residents to the area Vice President, who then brings these issues to the attention of the Executive Committee.

What does the Association do? According to its constitution, the object of the Association is to "stimulate interest in and devise and implement ways and means for promotion of civic and general welfare" in these communities and to promote the best interests of the communities through cooperation with county and state officials and with other civic associations "of like purposes."

The Association goes about fulfilling these responsibilities in a variety of ways.

To stimulate interest in civic welfare and foster a sense of community, the Association supports community activities initiated by the residents. Examples include an annual Halloween party and Fourth of July parade, both of which are held at Brookdale Park and are great fun for the kids and families who participate. Other examples include block parties and block meetings, the latter of which can be called when residents need to discuss issues of concern to those in the immediate vicinity. The Association solicits volunteers to serve at the larger events, notifies residents via fliers and posted notices, and underwrites the cost of snacks and beverages at the events.

The Association works with the Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that our parks are well-maintained and that amenities such as playground equipment are upgraded when possible. Enhancing the esthetic appeal of our neighborhood is important, too, so the Association has encouraged residents to avail themselves of a county program which provides "street trees," planted by the county on county-owned frontage along our streets.

Safety issues addressed by the Association have included block meetings to discuss local crime problems. A liaison officer from the Montgomery County Police Department is available to attend these meetings and talk with residents about crime-prevention measures. The Association also promotes crime awareness through updated local crime reports on its website ( and was recently instrumental in obtaining better lighting along Western Avenue to deter crimes against pedestrians in the area. Finally, the Association is attuned to issues of traffic safety and has worked on issues such as obstruction of view, parking restrictions, and street signs.

To keep residents abreast of local happenings, the Association maintains a website, publishes a newsletter, posts signs, and distributes fliers to convey information about events of interest and importance.

The Association holds an annual meeting to provide a forum in which residents can raise and discuss issues of general concern with each other and with representatives of local government.

At a time when development in the Friendship Heights area is booming, the ability to work with other local civic groups is of particular importance, so that our neighborhood needs are not disregarded in the planning process. The President of the Association appoints delegates to such groups, including the Friendship Heights Joint Task Force, the Citizens' Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights, and the Western Montgomery County Citizens' Advisory Board.

All in all, it's a lot of bang for the buck, in terms of our dues! But, to get the most for your money -- and to protect and enhance your quality of life as a Brookdale resident - I urge you to do more than pay your dues: attend meetings, join in neighborhood events, and contribute a couple of hours of your time as a volunteer for the Association. You'll be doing something worthwhile for your community, you'll have an opportunity to meet and mingle with your neighbors, and you'll have a good time in the process.

Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights-Status Report by Eric Sanne, Chair

As many of you know, the Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights is an umbrella organization of fourteen community associations including Brookdale. Brookdale has played an important role in CCCFH in no small part because our neighborhood is directly impacted by development in Friendship Heights (FH). For several years Brookdale has been represented by Ron Tripp, who is currently the Recording Secretary, and myself.

The major issues CCCFH has addressed this year are development in Friendship Heights, the creeping commercial development along River Road and Wisconsin Avenue, and crime. GEICO has remained quiescent for the last year. Hecht's completed their Site Plan in April 2001, but the changing market means that they are still seeking financing. Chevy Chase Land Co. is moving closer toward development since the two law suits holding it back have been settled.

Commercial development in residential areas remains a critical and ongoing concern to CCCFH. Nearly six thousand dollars already have been spent by various communities to lobby for legislation and to fight attempts to convert single family homes into businesses. It is a blow that the Department of Permitting Services is both allowing the improper conversion of homes into "home occupancy" businesses and then failing to enforce regulations governing those home occupancies. Our fight against this agency and to lobby for more restricted use of businesses in homes is ongoing. Brookdale should expect CCCFH to soon request a monetary contribution to sustain this fight.

As to crime, I just published a Crime Report that you can request from Over the last six months CCCFH has been inundated with concerns about a perceived dramatic increase in crime in our 14 communities. The most important question is whether there is an actual increase in crime. To address this issue CCCFH held two community forums--on January 16 with Roy Gordon, Chief, Chevy Chase village Police, and on February 20 with Commander Reynolds and his staff. To everyone's surprise, the statistics gathered by our associations, and buttressed by figures presented by Cmdr. Reynolds, show there is no crime wave and no general trend upwards in burglaries or assaults. The County views our area as stable and "extremely safe." Nonetheless, in the Crime Report a number of recommendations have been made which we, as individuals, can implement to reduce crime.

If you would like to explore issues facing Brookdale and other communities in the area, please feel free to attend our monthly meetings, held on the third Wednesday of every month, at 8 pm sharp, at the Somerset Town Hall, 4510 Cumberland Avenue, just off Wisconsin Avenue.

Airplanes over Brookdale

Dear Neighbors,

If you are concerned about the noise and risk of danger from airplanes flying overhead since the reopening of Reagan National Airport last October 4, please join me in letting our elected representatives and local officials know about our concerns. The noise and risks are likely to increase as Reagan National Airport moves towards the full pre-September 11 schedule of flights and we will become more aware of the disturbance as we begin to spend more time outdoors with the coming of spring and summer.

Since the reopening of Reagan National Airport, commercial jet carriers have begun flying almost every day over Brookdale and neighboring residential areas and business districts bringing with them not only annoying and unpleasant noise but also an unacceptable risk of danger. The abandonment of noise controls and the shifting of flight patterns to "straight-line" take-offs and landings from the pre-September 11 flight patterns that directed air traffic over the Potomac River are largely the cause of these developments.

Everyone supports the need to enhance the national security and undoubtedly the airline industry suffered loss of business immediately after September 11. However, solutions to these problems need not ignore the safety and noise issues for the residents of the heavily populated communities over which commercial carriers operate. We need to impress on our elected representatives and local officials our need for relief from the noise and risk of danger and to urge them to effectively represent our legitimate interests to the officials in charge of policies and procedures at Reagan National Airport.

Either individually or as a group we should contact Rep. Connie Morella, Montgomery County Councilmember Howard Denis, and a member of Metropolitan Washington Council of Government ( and its Committee on Noise Abatement at National and Dulles Airports. Official agencies that can be contacted are the Federal Aviation Administration and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Finally, much useful information is available from Citizens for the Abatement of Airplane Noise at

Anthony DiLullo

by Fiona Carson

This season I'm finally going to plunge into the shady third of my back yard, and make stuff grow. The trees above it will have their lower branches pruned to make the shade a bit lighter, the weeds removed, the soil loosened and mixed with some peat moss, compost, and perhaps bonemeal to add phosphate and calcium. What to plant? A few medium sized shrubs would do. There are tons to choose from, but I'm going with an Oakleaf Hydrangea, some Viburnum, and perhaps some small, shade-loving Azaleas, for a splash of color. Not many annuals do well in shade, so I'm leaning toward perennials. I'm seeing Virginia Bluebells, pink Bleeding Hearts, and some Wood Phlox. I'm dreaming of a carpet of bulbs for next spring, made up of Trillium, Crocuses and Snowdrops. There is some existing groundcover with little blue flowers, and if an evergreen fern that doesn't need wet ground can be found, call me. There'll be a little round table and some chairs for visitors. See you soon!


Mette Tacheron will show her paintings and sculpture in an exhibit "Impressions" at the Yellow Barn Gallery in Glen Echo Park the weekend of May 18-19 12-6 pm. The opening reception is Sat. 4-6 pm.

On Sunday, June 2 from 4 to 6 pm you are invited to an opening of the photography show "Points of View" at River Road Unitarian Church at the corner of River Road and Whittier Blvd. Brookdale resident Gwen Lewis will be showing black and white photographs in a combined show with photographers Frances Pearson and Robert Elkin. The show continues through June 18 during church hours.


Cooper Crawford Lightbown
In 1975 when 5214 Western Avenue was sold, it was advertised as a quality built home constructed by Cooper Lightbown. The reverence with which the realtor spoke the Lightbown name conveyed enthusiasm and stirred my interest in knowing more about the builder and the homes he built in Brookdale. I have gathered information about Cooper Lightbown that I am sharing with you.

The creator and builder of the original part of Brookdale was Cooper Crawford Lightbown, who was born in the Bladensburg area on November 30, 1886 and died in 1941 at the age of 55 in Washington. He became a carpenter after graduating from public high school locally. Having heard of the land under settlement in Florida, in 1912 at the age of 26, he moved to Palm Beach, Florida. At the time Palm Beach was not much more than a swamp, but it was under development and was a thriving frontier for a young builder. His timing couldn't have been better. Tremendous building activity was just beginning and spiraled into an acute shortage of skilled labor by October of 1919. Lightbown was on the scene and by the time the labor shortage emerged, he had an established track record for building quality homes.

In Florida, Lightbown had the good fortune to meet Addison Mizner, a rising architect, who introduced Spanish inspired architecture to the area. He was to become the primary builder of many of the architecturally significant buildings described as Mizner's "palatial fantasies" constructed in Palm Beach during the building boom of the 1920's. Lightbown's contracting company built a string of legendary Mizner edifices, including the Stotesbury mansion, El Mirasol, and the Dodge mansion. In 1923 he received 8 of the town's 12 building permits, including the home of Josh Cosden, who named the estate Playa Riente (Laughing Sands). Moving from home construction to larger buildings, he constructed the Palm Beach Bath and Tennis Club in 1926.

The last construction Lightbown completed before permanently returning to Washington, and the capstone to his career in Florida, was the Mizner creation, Mar-A-Lago, the 17 acre, 117 room mansion built for E. F. Hutton and his wife who later became the cereal heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post. This house may be known contemporaneously as part of the estate bought by Donald Trump in 1985 for $10 million dollars.

Not only was Lightbown a popular builder but he was active in Florida politics. First, he was elected to the town council. Then in 1922 at the age of 35, he was elected the fourth mayor of Palm Beach, a position he held for six years until 1928. Of this period it was written:

  "It seems altogether fitting that one of the nations'
  foremost building contractors should have held the town's
  reins during the supercharged, heart stopping real-estate
  boom and bust of the mid-1920's.  . . .  Certainly his
  mayoral efforts to 'put Palm Beach on the map
  architecturally' coincided nicely with his own business
  requirements."  Construction peaked in 1925, nearly $14
  million worth (a figure unsurpassed again until 1965).
      During his tenure as mayor Lightbown's contributions were
  many, but the most lasting was the formulation of a zoning
  committee that ultimately divided the town into business and
  residential districts.  This action was evaluated by a
  subsequent Palm Beach mayor as "saving the town from
  becoming another Miami Beach."
Brookdale Developed
Lightbown returned to Washington to retire shortly before the crash of 1929. For some time he played golf and enjoyed himself, until financial losses required him to return to work. He took up the work he enjoyed and knew -- the creation of quality built homes. This time they were to be affordable homes for the middle class.

His company in Washington was organized as Cooper Lightbown and Sons. One of his sons was active in the business and he also hired a nephew Stanley Lightbown to be part of the team. Cooper Lightbown was both designer and builder and his daughter recalls the hours he spent with the architectural drawings making sure they were "right." The homes were designed to provide privacy and vistas. Each home had a porch, but no porch could be seen from a neighbor's yard; yet there were no fences, to create larger vistas of green space. They were designed to have slate roofs, brick exteriors, copper plumbing, plaster walls, hardwood flooring, and some of the first widely used electric kitchens.

In February of 1938, the front page of the real estate section of the Evening Star contained a large picture of 5202 Western Avenue with the headline, "Beautiful Home Recently Sold in Brookdale." The caption called it a charming residence that had been purchased by a Dr. and Mrs. Louis Kolipinski from Cooper Lightbown and Son, builders. On December 19th of the same year, Brookdale, was advertised in the Washington Star as "A Community of Distinctive Small Homes." 5206 Western Avenue was featured in the advertisement with a frontage of 80 feet and a price tag of $13,750. Other homes were available at prices beginning at $9,750. From the beginning, the features Brookdale offered were described as: "Environment, sound construction, distinctive architecture and convenience to transportation." Modern electric kitchens were being introduced and Lightbown included in the advertisement, "This is an Electric Kitchen Health Home. We have 40 Electric Kitchens in Brookdale."

Subsequent building along Western Avenue proceeded east toward what is now the GEICO property. In September 1939, Lightbown bought for development, land subdivided from the Woodward holdings of Donald and Margaret Woodward and Irene and Brainard Parker. At least 11 houses were built upon this subdivision. Six were constructed along Western Avenue beginning at the corner of Cortland Road toward the west. Two were built on Cortland and three at the eastern end of Andover Road.

Brookdale Home Sales by Kathleen McElroy

These are sales for Brookdale for the 1st quarter of 2002.

GEICO has put two of their houses on sale and one is still active: 5304 Westport is listed for $560,000.

At the end of 2001 there were two pending sales in the neighborhood:
5034 Park Pl. which sold in 6 days in mid-Dec. and settled in early January for $500,000 and
4715 Merivale which sold in Dec. after 63 days for $600,000 with a small subsidy of $1450. Original list price was $680,000.

4715 Dover Rd. was listed in January for $569,500 and sold for $591,200 in 4 days with five offers.
5025 Brookdale was listed also in January for $574,500 and sold in 5 days for $582,000 with 3 offers.

The following houses are under contract:
5007 Westport listed at $439,000 sold in March in 3 days.
5208 Saratoga listed at $459,000 sold in Feb. in 5 days.
4832 Park Ave. listed at $524,500 sold in Feb. in 10 days.
4516 Cortland listed at $560,000 sold in March in 6 days and had 3 offers. This is the other GEICO sale.
4702 Overbrook sold with two offers in March in 3 days and was listed at $570,000.

The market is intense and the days on the market have not exceeded 10 days except for Merivale. Numerous houses have sold with multiple offers and escalator clauses. With that clause, the buyer agrees to increase his/her price by a specified margin, which is generally $1000 to $5000 (but can be much more) up to a maximum which can be anywhere from 1-10% above the listed price (but can also be unlimited). These escalator clauses have been around for 12 years or more, but have become more prevalent in the last 3 years.

This year, any house that is well-priced and in very good condition will generate more than one offer. There are still many houses that do not sell quickly; most often it is because the initial offering price was too high. The danger is not in underpricing but in overpricing. Some properties have been priced so low that they have generated as many as 17 and 25 offers.

There were no private sales recorded in the public records.

Date: Friday, May 3
Time: 3:00-7:30 p.m.
Theme: "All American" Carnival

Current, former, and future Westbrook families, as well as all of Westbrook's neighbors (the rest of us), are invited and encouraged to attend this great event and fund raiser for the school. Students have designed T-Shirts to illustrate this "All American" theme. There will be games, rides, "Superchance", a teacher's raffle, cotton candy, good food and drink. Bring your used books and toys for donation in support of the "White Elephant" sale. There's a bake sale and cake walk, too. If you're not a Westbrook family, and you want to donate, contact carnival focal point, Mrs Barbara Bollman, at 301-229-2006 or a Westbrook family near you.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Dedication April 28th

Please join the B-CC High School community to celebrate the dedication of its renovated building on Sunday, April 28th 4-7 pm. The formal Dedication Ceremony, including school staff, students, and public officials, will take place in the school auditorium from 4 to 5. The Community Open House will begin at 5. A Grand Finale, featuring students from all the cluster schools, will be held from 6 to 7 in the stadium. Local vendors and school groups will sell refreshments.

Closest available public parking is at the garage at Waverly and Montgomery Avenues. Handicapped parking is available at the school. The Bethesda Metro stop is three blocks west.

4th of July Parade
For the third year, Ellie Shorb (301-652-6897) has agreed to organize a Brookdale 4th of July parade for bicycles led by a firetruck. Please offer her your assistance to make this a fun occasion for all. Watch for fliers and posters in early July for instructions.

Gardening Enthusiasts
The Gardening Group continues to meet regularly. The next event is to be held April 9 at 2 pm at the home of Maryn Goodson, 4633 Overbrook. Do you have questions? Do you have answers?! Please come to share. Do you need different meeting times to accommodate your schedule? To become involved call Grazia Narkus-Kramer at 301-320-3183.


Newcomers: Nick Greenier, 5034 Park Place; and Angie Harrison, 5062 Park Place.
Births: A daughter to Tamar and David Nicolson, Eliana Liore Nicolson, in November 2001
A daughter to Ed Shapland and Maryanne Courtney, Emily Courtney Shapland, in September 2001
A daughter to Majid and Leily Jaribion, Sormeh Jaribion, in December 2001
Death: Mrs. Mary Juanita Abdow, a long-time resident of 4715 River Road, died of cancer on February 27, 2002. Mrs. Abdow and her husband Victor (deceased) moved into Brookdale in 1966 with their three sons, Victor, Jeffrey, and Michael. The family always made their home a welcoming gathering place for many of Brookdale's children. Our condolences to her entire family, including her 3 sons and sister, Evelyn Hutcherson.

Brookdale Students Graduate from High School

Congratulations to the following residents who will graduate from high school in June!

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Sara Levine
Michael Interdonato
Margaret "Meg" Jensen
Clare Timbie

Churchill High School
Katie Kitchen

Gonzaga College High School
Michael Arango

St. John's College High School
Anya Podolske

        Bugle Editor . . . . . . . . . . Gwen Lewis
        (Hard copy) Layout . . . . . . . Gia Regan
        (Hard copy) Distribution . . . . Brita Glennon

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