Huntington Terrace: A Residential Treasure

Nearly three centuries after the first homes were built in what is now Huntington Terrace, some streets still trace property lines drawn when tobacco estates merged at a time when Maryland was just one of a baker’s dozen of English colonies in a brave new world. Legend has it that a part of the community was placed on the table in a high-stakes poker game in the lean years following the Civil War. Its streets bear the names of great presidents – Roosevelt, Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln. And local historians still point to the 300 or so homes here of seasoned pine, Potomac stone and white-washed brick as a living museum of suburban design circa mid-20th century.

Time moves on, and so has Huntington Terrace, a neighborhood whose picket-fenced monuments to its storied past now stand proudly alongside new or remodeled homes. What hasn’t changed, though is the enduring residential tradition of a community still tending a combination of atmospherics, access and affordability that’s becoming increasingly rare in the Washington area.

In the face of decades of area development, Huntington Terrace has retained the ambiance of a small village, a place where residents can still smell honeysuckle in spring, chat with neighbors at sidewalk crossings and awaken to songbirds in towering tulip populars and ancient oaks.

And yet, we are just a short walk from the world’s preeminent medical research facility, the National Institutes of Health; just a short walk from the Metro line that takes many of us to work in the nations’ capital each day; just a short walk from some of the finest public schools anywhere in the country. Surely other area neighborhoods offer their own attractive mix of atmospherics and access. What makes Huntington Terrace special, perhaps even unique, is that it remains within reach of families of diverse means. And so, from the couple looking for a starter house, to the senior citizen who’s lived here for a generation or more, Huntington Terrace is a rare gem, a residential treasure in a region facing unprecedented development pressures.

During decades of expansive, often rampant, regional growth, Montgomery County has distinguished itself by placing a high value on vibrant, stable residential communities like ours, avoiding many of the mistakes that have so undermined the quality f life in other parts of the Capital region. Through wise planning and effective community advocacy, Montgomery County has managed to preserve its rich residential heritage, even as it attracts the business investment that has made for a growing tax base and abundant jobs. There can be few better examples of the fruits of that balance than those retained here in Hunting Terrace, a community shaped by the very values our county’s elected officials and professional planners have worked so hard to preserve.

We live here, after all, because we value mass transit and the benefits it provides. We live here because we want to educate our children in good public schools. We’re here because we want to stretch out across a sun-dappled lawn and smell the smoke of a neighbor’s hearth on an autumn afternoon or watch the fireflies drift past our front porches on warm summer nights in a suburban sanctuary that hearkens back to our county’s rural beginnings. And we’re here to be part of our country’s larger vision of building a promising future without turning our backs on its irreplaceable past.

For nearly three decades now, since the dawning of the Republic, the gently rolling lands now making up Huntington Terrace have embodied the best of this area’s residential traditions. Working in concert with county planners and officials, our community has preserved that rich heritage in ways that embrace our common future while honoring our cherished past. That is the way Huntington Terrace has endured as the residential treasure it has become today. Working together as a community, we can be certain it remains no less precious tomorrow.