Thursday, September 18, 2008

Octoberfest and Chevy Chase

This weekend in the annual Oktoberfest at Christ the King Cathedral in the middle of Chevy Chase. This is not one of my usual haunts but I have been by there on occasion, usually to see if there was anybody I knew around and to watch the activity of the event. This thing has been going on since I can remember, granted I was not wandering in this area much before the middle sixties.

From what I can gather, the parish first used the property for services in 1946, so they most likely purchased the land just after the War. And since I've seen a subdivision plat for almost everything else around the church property, I believe that they bought directly from the developer, an heir to Henry Clay. This is reasonable because recently I came across a property transaction in the business area on Romany Rd. where one of the deeds traced back to a Henry Clay purchase to expand his holdings of Ashland. It seem that all the residential properties were platted and the others were sold by metes and bounds deed description. It just seem like a curious way of doing it. The only other place that I've seen it done is in the exclusive area of Ashland Park, on Ashwood and Barrow Rds. and the lots facing Richmond Rd. between Woodspoint and Chinoe Rd.

The aerial photo of 1937 shows the old farm house in the general location of the former Chevy Chase Baptist Church building and some out buildings where the Cathedral now stands. Once the second World War was over the area must have busted loose, with all the returning GI's needing a place for themselves and their families. Quite a lot of the housing was surplus prefab housing, some of which lasted until just these last few years. Christ the King held their first services in a prefab building before they could get their school and other facilities built in 1951. The current church building was completed in 1967.

I have also often wondered about the old training race track on the 1937 photo. It shows as a very distinct heavily treed oval of, what appears to be, 1/2 mile in length. While the turns are quite precise and the front and back stretches are straight, the ground, to me, is anything but level. I can remember when they were just cutting in Woodlake Way and I rode up to see the cul-de-sac at the end and then noticed the strange treeline. It was a double treeline about twice as far as I could reach, and I stand 6'4", so that means that it was about 12 feet apart. That would make it a narrow, uneven training track but maybe that is what they were used to in the mid 1800's. Somewhat more like a cross country course than what we know of as a race track.

As I said before, I may not get to Oktoberfest this year because the Mrs. and I are leaning toward the mural unveiling at Al's Bar on Saturday evening. Listen to a little jazz, see the mural and check out the northside streetscape for something interesting. We'll let you know what we find.

No comments: