• End of an Era, Page 2

    Chevy Chase Junior College is sold to the National 4-H Club Foundation

    In her efforts to reopen the school, President Brown appealed to the alumnae for financial support. She even asked them to participate in a survey to see what additional services or facilities could be utilized to encourage higher enrollment. Despite these efforts, the school would not reopen and would be sold to the National 4-H Club Foundation in 1951 to be used for youth encampments and other activities.

    The 4-H Foundation did not occupy the property until 1959 because U.S. Defense Department used the campus for an Operations Research Office during the Korean War.  Like other junior colleges in the Washington metropolitan region, the Chevy Chase campus was seen as particularly useful to the Armed Services and the Defense Department.  During World War II, Arlington Hall Junior College in Virginia was taken over by the Army under the War Powers Act.  Mount Vernon Junior College’s campus on Nebraska Avenue in Washington, DC was used by the U.S. Navy. And in the same period, the National Park Seminary was taken over by Walter Reed Hospital.  These campus facilities were deemed vital to war and defense activities, no doubt because they offered both training classrooms as well as living accommodations.

    Two Girls hand in hand in front of college
    Girls Walking Hand in Hand, Chevy Chase Junior College Catalogue, CCHS 500.09.06

    We do not have a clear understanding of the financial status of Chevy Chase Junior College in 1950, and we can only speculate whether it had the resources to resist seizure by the Defense Department during the Cold War.  But we do know that the abrupt closure of the school was painful for students, and we can imagine that it was equally difficult for faculty and staff.

    The memories and stories of the girls and young women, and those that taught them and cared for them, live on in old photos, school publications, and ephemera like scrapbooks and dance cards.  The era of the “finishing school” for young women came to a close.  And the "school for girls" that Chevy Chase residents knew for the better part of half a century closed its doors.






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