About the neighborhood: Rock Creek Hills

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Erica Weiss’ favorite things about Rock Creek Hills during the pandemic were the jokes and the dinosaur. Weiss, 53, is a health writer and editor who moved to Kensington, Maryland, in 2009.

“During the pandemic, because everyone was walking around, there were two very special things about the neighborhood,” Weiss said, laughing as she pointed out “bad dad jokes.” Another family had fake dinosaur bones in their garden that they would wear for holidays and special occasions.

Rock Creek Hills’ spirit of enthusiasm goes beyond playful garden ornaments. The Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association (RCHCA) organizes two major events a year, according to Weiss, who has helped organize them in the past. There’s a spring jump, which had to be postponed this year due to the weather, and a Halloween party.

“Usually 150 to 200 people come in, which is a really great opportunity to see everyone. Obviously the pandemic has slowed things down, but it’s one of my favorite things in the neighborhood,” Weiss said.

Weiss joins the Halloween party because of the children’s fashion show and the joy it brings with younger families. She notes that many enthusiastic young parents have moved to the neighborhood and are enjoying these activities.

One such new resident is Jonathan Sears. Sears, 36, works for a commercial real estate lender and moved in the neighborhood 14 months ago.

He grew up in nearby Chevy Chase, Maryland, and rode his bike around Rock Creek Hills when he was young. The main reason his family moved to the neighborhood was because of his acquaintance with him.

“My son would go to the elementary school I was going up in, and I have friends in that neighborhood,” Sears said.

His two children, who will turn 6 and 3 in July, will attend private schools, but Sears wanted the convenience of having good public schools nearby. His daughter enjoys going to the Noyes Library for Young Children in Kensington, a one-room library full of early childhood development books and activities.

But despite the camaraderie, Rock Creek Hills has a dark past. Like many surrounding areas, it has a history of racial covenants restricting non-white residents.

According to a 2020 Washington Post article, Peter Chatfield, an attorney representing government whistleblowers and former president of the RCHCA, found about 400 such covenants to apply to Rock Creek Hills. One of them declared on May 6, 1946 that the property “will not be used or occupied by . . . Negroes or any person or persons, of Negroes or of descent, or of any person of Semitic race, blood or descent, or Jews, Armenians, Hebrews, Persians, and Syrians, Except…partial occupancy of buildings by domestic servants.”

These covenants have not been enforced since the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. However, many of them have remained. A Maryland law that took effect in 2020 allows homeowners to go to court to remove them for free.

Sears said the removal of race covenants was “a good thing but a long overdue”. “I doubt it brought additional diversity to the neighborhood, as buyers don’t really look at this stuff before moving in. I’m glad to see so much diversity in the neighborhood mostly in the form of race and religion. I think you’re getting as much diversity as you can here, on the Although you’re not really going to get a lot of economic diversification because of the higher house prices.”

Mary Beth Taylor, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, has been walking past her Rock Creek Hills home for years. She originally moved to the neighborhood in 1990 but wanted to downsize and was able to do so in the neighborhood.

“I had a four-story house, and I decided I wanted to live in one-story, and I didn’t have to look further than my own backyard,” Taylor said. She moved into her modern farmhouse-style home in 2018.

“We really have a little bit of everything,” Taylor said. Adding that the neighborhood is a mixture of housing styles – Colonial, Cape Cod, Ranch and split level two. This versatility made her short movement possible.

Taylor notes that when people look at Rock Creek Hills, they do so because of the location and “the beauty of the neighborhood.” The community is full of old and beautiful trees and greenery.

Rock Creek Hills is located about one mile from Chevy Chase, three miles from Bethesda and 10 miles from downtown DC.

“I am so glad I stayed here,” Taylor said.

live there: According to RCHCA, the northern and eastern portions of the neighborhood are bounded by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the southern portion of the neighborhood is bounded by Rock Creek Park and the Capital Beltway, and the western boundary follows Connecticut Avenue and Frederick Street.

Taylor says 24 homes in the neighborhood were sold last year. The most expensive six-bedroom, five-bathroom home sold for less than $1.9 million. The cheapest three-bedroom, two-bath ranch house sold for $750,000.

Two homes for sale. The least expensive is the four-bedroom, four-bathroom colony listed at $799,000, and the other is a five-bedroom, six-bathroom home listed at $2.2 million.

Schools: Rosemary Hills, North Chevy Chase Elementary, Silver Creek Middle and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High.

Crossing: Mark’s train runs through downtown Kensington, just outside the neighborhood boundary. Montgomery County transit rides on Rock Creek Hills service routes. The nearest metro station, the Medical Center on the Red Line, is less than three miles away.

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