Neighborhood Profile: Huntington Terrace in Bethesda, Md.
“I shared my experiences growing up here and how much it meant to my husband and I raising our family in Huntington Terrace,” she said. She also mentioned how Bethesda, like many places in the DC area, has seen older homes razed with no regard for community charm or culture. The Brees therefore pledged not to demolish the Cape Cod and to retain its facade.
Although he offered less money, the couple got the house.
“They wrote us a beautiful letter about what the house and neighborhood meant to them, as did my letter to them,” Maggie said.
Obtaining the house fulfilled what Maggie called “a major mission” to maintain the elements that “created a sense of community for me, like keeping an eye out for overdevelopment and maintaining our historic properties.” As co-chair of the Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association, she and John, who is its secretary, have been doing just that since joining the association in 2018.
Huntington Terrace has neighbors with a mix of varying ages and professions, Maggie said. “On one side could be a NASA scientist and on the other a world-renowned author.”
“It mostly feels like a village,” said Howard Sokolove, who has lived in Huntington Terrace with his wife of 40 years. “Part of that comes from having a primary school in the neighborhood, which is a big draw for families.”
Sokolove, 80, is a neighborhood historian. He said the community land was part of two large tobacco plantations dating back to the early 1700s. The area was flattened in 1910. According to Sokolove, the west side was developed in the 1920s, with two houses of that era that still exist.
The rest of the area was built in the 1930s. Sokolove said that like most dormitory communities in Washington at the time, Huntington Terrace likely had racial pacts preventing African Americans and other populations historically excluded from living there.
Sokolove, who worked in industrial design before retiring, points out that the Suburban Hospital, where his wife worked for 38 years, is the largest landowner in the community. He said they were “good neighbours”, but expansion efforts about 14 years ago threatened to remove 23 homes in Huntington Terrace. After numerous court battles, the parties settled and Sokolove and other activists saved 13 houses from destruction.
Today, approximately 300 homes make up the neighborhood with freshly mowed lawns, manicured landscaping, and a preponderance of mature trees that give the area plenty of shade and beautiful greenery.
“There are a lot of children, dogs and parents in the streets,” said Mark De Ravin, treasurer of the local association. De Ravin loves the neighborhood so much that his family has lived in three different houses on the same street for 22 years.
Ron Ziegel, a realtor at Long & Foster in Bethesda, said buyers have long been drawn to Huntington Terrace’s convenient location to the National Institutes of Health, downtown Bethesda and the subway station. Medical Center. Its schools, including Bradley Hills Elementary, located in the heart of the neighborhood, also attract attention.
Association dues are $20 per year and are voluntary. John and Maggie Bree said the money raised was used for at least three events, including a Memorial Day party and July 4 reunion, as well as various block parties and maintenance of the community’s Triangle Garden.
The Brees are especially proud of the garden, which features plants native to Maryland. The neighborhood helps cultivate the space at the corner of Roosevelt and Garfield streets with black-eyed Susans, blue asters and other flowers that grow naturally in the state. According to John, garden tours from the nearby village of Bradley Hills often stop to admire the greenery.
John said Halloween is one of the neighborhood’s highlights. Before moving to Huntington Terrace, he said he had seen some great Halloween displays and events. “But I was wrong,” he said. “People who live on Lincoln Street [in Huntington Terrace] go do it all.
A family builds a wooden maze draped in black fabric, complete with black lights and smoke machines. Family members jump out and scare visitors as they cross it, he said. Another house has a skeleton-themed safari boat in the front yard.
“It’s just crazy,” John said. “Children come from all over to see the street.”
He said a lot of young families have moved into the neighborhood over the past few years and they’ve developed the spirit of Halloween and community. “They bring new ideas to elevate the neighborhood and make everyone feel like a part of it,” John said.
At the height of the pandemic, council members scaled back community events, Maggie said. But they still managed to organize get-togethers, like Porch Fridays, where neighbors got together for wine, cheese and music.
Maggie said they’ve been slow to get back to business, but are planning a block party in the fall that should kick things off.
The couple enjoy working on the board and hope to continue in the future.
“We’re working on it because we want people to respect how loved the neighborhood is,” Maggie said. “Because we fear that over time that feeling will go away.”
Live there: Huntington Terrace is a close-knit, walkable community that’s only about a five-minute drive from downtown Bethesda and borders the suburban hospital grounds on Old Georgetown Road.
As the Brees experienced it, the neighborhood became harder to own. After buying their home for $585,000 in 2017, they invested more than $100,000 in remodeling the three-bedroom, three-bathroom Cape Cod with a finished basement. In the past year, the cheapest home sold was $825,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, according to Ziegel.
The most expensive home sold was a remodeled five-bedroom, five-bathroom home for nearly $2 million. The median price for the past year was $1.2 million. One home is on the market, a remodeled eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom home for $2 million, Ziegel said.
Schools: Bradley Hills Elementary, Pyle Middle and Walt Whitman High.
Transit: The Medical Center metro station on the red line is about two miles away. Metro and Ride On buses serve the area along Old Georgetown Road.