• Music at the Lake in the '30s Page 2

    1935 to 1936:  The Lee Fields Orchestra becomes the house band at Chevy Chase Lake

    In 1935, a new management team took over at Chevy Chase Lake, and Eddie Carr and Al Stern were no longer mentioned in the publicity notices in The Washington Post.  The Lee Fields Orchestra played for the next two years, so perhaps Fields himself led the new management team.

    Publicity Notices and Ads from The Washington Post in 1935:

    June 5, p. 12:   Lee Fields orchestra

    “News of the day concerns Chevy Chase Lake, where festivities start tonight under new management and the music of Lee Fields and his ten-piece orchestra.

    “The pavilion, grandstand, lighting, grounds, and terrace have been improved.  Dancing from 9 to 1 o’clock each night except Sunday.”

    July 3, p. 11:  College Night at Chevy Chase Lake

    “…the folks are doing more dancing…and less watching from the sidelines…than ever before at Chevy Chase Lake…another all college night is ready for Thursday of this week…featuring fraternity and college songs.”  [Ellipses in the original.]

    July 24, p. 11:   Display Ad featuring Leigh Windham as vocalist, with Lee Fields and his orchestra

    “Dance. Every night, from 9-1am. Lee Field and his ten-piece orchestra, featuring Leigh Windham. Admission, 15 cents. Dancing, 10 cents. Chevy Chase Lake, Cooled by Natures Woodland Breezes. End of Conn. Ave. Car Line.”

    Aug 21, p. 15:  Display Ad for a Beauty Pageant, plus Lee Fields and his orchestra

    “Beauty pageant to select Miss Washington to represent the District at Atlantic City preliminaries.”

    “Chevy Chase Lake….Dancing nightly to Lee Field and his 10 piece orchestra. 9 to 1. Adm. 15 cents, 10 cents a dance.”

    Aug 23, p. 16:  American Legion Dance at Chevy Chase Lake

    “Plans are being made by the Southern Maryland District American Legion, Department of Maryland, for a dance and rally Thursday night at Chevy Chase Lake.”

    Aug 30, p. 7:  Miss Washington Beauty Contest

    “Finals in the contest to find a Miss Washington, who will compete in the Atlantic City Beauty Pageant next month, will be held at Chevy Chase Lake tomorrow night.  Thirteen girls remain in the competition.”

    Sept 16, p. 1:  The “End of the Line” for Streetcars

    “Streetcars became a thing of the past for commuters of upper Connecticut avenue and Chevy Chase yesterday as 62 motor buses were rolled into service and the trolleys went to the barns.”

    Despite the end of the streetcar line, Chevy Chase Lake continued to operate as a “dance spot,” and opened in 1936 once again with the Lee Fields orchestra.

    Publicity Notices and Display Ads from The Washington Post in 1936:

    May 20, p. X14:  Lee Fields and his orchestra, with vocalist Frank Shannon

    "New Landscaping. Bar Features Summer Night. Rendezvous."

    “Chevy Chase Lake opens tonight with new landscaping, a new bandstand, new bar, new decorations, new lighting well – a new dance spot entirely.”

    “Lee Fields and his orchestra will play for your dancing with Frank Shannon handling the vocalizings and waggling the baton in Maestro Fields’ absence."

    June 10, p. 13:  The “garden” is enlarged at Chevy Chase Lake

    "They're still enlarging that garden at Chevy Chase Lake where food is in competition with Lee Fields and his orchestra for the favor of the patrons. Every time a full moon comes up, that garden has to be enlarged!"

    July 31, p. X13:  Once again, a beauty pageant for Miss Washington

    “Miss America” Contest Lures Many Beauties

     “Pity the poor judges at Chevy Chase Lake Tuesday night. Forty little bundles of pulchritude already have signed for the annual competition through which is selected the District’s entrant in Atlantic City’s Miss America contest.”

    Sept 2, p. X10:  Carnival Week rounds out the 1936 season with dancing and bingo

    Banner Week Will conclude Lake Summer.  Floor Show and Bingo Lasting All Evening scheduled for Chevy Chase.

    “The closing week at Chevy Chase Lake is going to be the biggest of the season, if the attractions held out mean anything. As a special concession to old man summer, who is going to fade fast from now on, the lake’s management is providing an entire evening’s diversion for 35 cents, starting at 8:30 and including dancing to Lee Fields and his orchestra, floor show at 10:30 with changing talent from night to night, and a continuous game of bingo under the auspices of the Costello post of the American Legion.”

    Lee Fields’ Orchestra may have been the last big band to play at Chevy Chase Lake, if the publicity notices and ads in The Washington Post tell the whole story. 

    In 1939, three years later, the trolley car barn was turned into an indoor riding facility (May 31 in The Washington Post), and later that same summer, an article in the Post on August 17, p. 3 described plans proposed by the Greater Kensington Civic League.  The group wanted to turn Chevy Chase Lake into a park and recreational area, and “urged the extension of the park system by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, from Rock Creek along Coquelin Creek to include Chevy Chase Lake and the swimming pool.” 



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