Door To Door: Spring Valley, D.C., And Maplewood, Md. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Door To Door: Spring Valley, D.C., And Maplewood, Md.

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Dr. Jeff Kraskin stands in front of his home in Spring Valley, D.C.
Dr. Jeff Kraskin stands in front of his home in Spring Valley, D.C.

It's our weekly trip around the region. This week, we visit Spring Valley in Northwest D.C., and Maplewood in Bethesda, Md.

Spring Valley, D.C.

In the 19th century, the Spring Valley neighborhood of D.C. was still farmland. That changed after 1918, when the military began using the area for World War I munitions testing. By the late 1920s, companies began purchasing land and developing homes in the neighborhood, which is located between Massachusetts Avenue and Loughboro Road near American University.

Dr. Jeffrey Kraskin has lived in Spring Valley for more than 50 years, and says it's the first neighborhood in the District to have "curvilinear" streets.

"The intent was to keep as many of the natural amenties as possible — the creek, the spring, and the tree line," he says. "So we have many trees, and in fact we work to keep that."

He says Spring Valley is also notable because it was home to the District's first standalone department store — Garfinckel's on Massachusetts Avenue.

That store is now long gone, and Spring Valley is no longer considered the suburbs, but Kraskin says it's still a great place to call home.

"It offers the family community, it offers restaurants, it offers shopping," he says. "It's everything all together, where we can live and survive and be part of a great city."

Maplewood, Md.

Jeanne Levin moved to the Maplewood neighborhood of Bethesda 53 years ago. When she first came to the area, there was no Beltway and no Metro.

"When we first moved here, it was living in the country," she says.

Much has changed in the region since then, but she says the way people here tend to meet each other remains the same.

"It's a wonderful place to walk the dog," she says. "There's a dog park up the street. The place is really filled with young children, and young families, and dogs. Almost everyone has a dog here."

Levin says Maplewood gets its name, "because of all the trees we have here. There are many old trees now, and unfortunately a lot of them do have to come down because they've gotten quite old. But there are still quite a few here."

She says she came to Bethesda for much the same reason people do today — the reputation of the local schools. But she also appreciates the amenities that have been built over the past half-century.

"Strathmore's almost in walking distance, but you don't want to walk up Rockville Pike if you can help it," she says. "When they first opened up, my husband bought tickets... and we were up there maybe three, four times a month. It's a marvelous treasure that we have here."


[Music: "No, Girl" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "Pick Yourself Up" by Benny Carter from Cosmopolite: The Oscar Peterson Verve Sessions]

Explore previously featured neighborhoods on our Door to Door map:

This map shows previous Door to Door segments, and includes links to photos and show audio. The yellow marker represents neighborhoods featured in Washington, D.C., the blue represents neighborhoods in Maryland, and the red represents neighborhoods in Virginia.

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