The Chevy Chase neighborhood is a significant part of Lexington' history and future. Originally developed in the 1920s and 30s, Chevy Chase was planned as mixed-use neighborhood with single and multi-family homes, commercial, public and religious structures. Nearly all of the residential lots were platted as 50'X 150' (small by today's standards) and were filled with modest-sized, affordable homes built with high quality materials, excellent craftsmanship and fine exterior detailing.
Today Chevy Chase is a thriving example of an early 20th century urban or inner suburban, mixed use neighborhood noted for its convenient location, pedestrian friendly tree-lined streets, excellent residential architecture, parks, shopping and schools. These historic and contemporary characteristics create a unique and distinctive aesthetic which serves as the identity of Chevy Chase.
The land that was to become Chevy Chase was originally owned by Henry Clasy. One portion of Chevy Chase that was developed in the 1920's was part of Clay's estate, Ashland. The other portion, a much larger tract of land, was Clay's adjoining horse farm, Ashland Stock Farm, and it was not subdivided until the 1930's. Simpson and J.W. Davis developed the Clay property with distinctive road plans that preserved many old trees from the horse farm and with more diversity in the size and style of houses and apartments than can be found in many other areas of Lexington. The only visible remains of Ashland Stock Farm today are the remnants of a stone fence at 200 Colony Boulevard, where Ashland on Tates Creek was located.
The first development of Chevy Chase took place in the 1920's as part of the original plan of the Ashland Park subdivision for which it is named. The area consists of Ridgeway, Dudley and the original section of Cochran that forms the loop of these streets and connects them via the Frederic Law Olmsted designed triangular islands at Ridgeway and Fontaine, back to Ashland Park. Though similar in type and materials to the houses in Ashland Park, the Ridgeway, Dudley, Cochran houses and lots are smaller than those typically ound in Ashland Park. The 106 house and 2 duplex types in theis portion are Bungalow, Dutch Colonial, Tudor Revival, Foursquare, Craftsman, Colonial Revival and the American version of the picturesque English Cotswold Cottage.
The second chronological phase of housing in Chevy Chase, the 1930's Pre-World War II period, was when Morton Middle School and M.A. Cassidy Elementary School were built on land purchased from Clay family heirs using WPA funds. Over half of the hosing stock of Chevy Chase was built during this period in which the Cape Cod was the overwhelming house choice for Chevy Chase and much of America. The Cape Cod of the 1930's appealed to the middle-class professional, especially after the Depression years, as it symbolized a simple, honest, economical house.
Post war home building in Chevy Chase paralleled what was happening elsewhere in many American citis and towns. By the late 1940's the American family's preferences in housing was changin and the middle-class preferred the informal ranch.
There are nearly on hundred Ranch houses in Chevy Chase and they appear on the last roads developed in the neighborhood, Garden Road, Andover Road and the last block of Providence Lane. Many of these ranches look like a one story Cape Cod stretched horizontally. Many are still side-gabled, and have colonial-style details such as pediments and shutters.
Nearly every house in Chevy Chase was originally built with a detached garage in the rear of the property. The earliest homes sometimes show a very small one-car attached garage in the front, an there are several early houses built with the garage under the house, either in front or the rear of the house.