Color photos of Chesterbrook, Virginia, 1950-55

Frank da Cruz, Bronx NY
fdc@columbia.edu
June-August 2014

Scans from color slides taken by my Dad (Frank da Cruz Sr.) in the early to mid 1950s. We lived on Kirby Road near the corner of what is now called Franklin Avenue (I don't think it had a name in those days) from 1947 to 1956 in a little subdivision of cinder-block cubes on quarter-acre lots built for returning WWII veterans about half a mile from Chesterbrook School, in what had been, up until then, an area of small family farms and expanses of forest. The place was called Chesterbrook, but I don't think that was ever an official name. In those days our mail address was Falls Church; now the same place is addressed as McLean. It's about midway along Old Dominion Drive between Arlington and what used to be the very small town of McLean (a Safeway, a feed store, a gas station, and a junk store on the four corners with what I think is today's Dolly Madison Boulevard). Kirby Road addresses have changed since then too, for example 5400 is now something like 1800. Thanks to George Gilmer (who lived there at the same time) for help with the details on many of these pages, and to "the new" Russell Hill (grandson of Russell Hill and son of Harry Hill) and to the real Jimmie Walker for filling in some of the remaining blanks.

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On August 5, 2014, Jimmie Walker submitted the following history of the area:

It took some research on my part, but I came up with some interesting facts on the Chesterbrook Farmland, along Kirby Road, between Franklin Ave. and Halsey Road. The Kirby Family did, in fact, own a lot of property along Kirby Road, but it was further up toward Great Falls Street.

Across from present-day Chesterbrook Swim Club, a 28-Yr.-Old Pennsylvania Farmer, named Abraham Mutersbaugh, built a house there in the year 1858. Abraham "Abe" Mutersbaugh built his house in a grove of trees on 60 acres of farmland, there, right along Kirby Road. His house had tall columns on the front porch, and even dormer windows and a balcony on the top floor. This house was framed with cypress logs which were shipped from Louisiana, by freight, to the District of Columbia, and then by wagon to the sixty acre Abraham Mutersbaugh Farm.

Abraham Mutersbaugh was born Sept.1830 and died Oct. 1903 at age 73. He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Falls Church, VA With re-zoning from Falls Church to McLean, Abraham's house later became 1825 Kirby Road and was named "Eight Oaks" by a new owner. This historical house was preserved for many years.

Abraham's son, Alonzo Sherman Mutersbaugh (called Lonnie) was born Sept. 1866 and died Feb. 1950, at age 83. Like his dad, Alonzo was a farmer and he had sixty acres to work with. His wife, Elmira, rode from Abraham's house, through the surrounding farmland, gathering funds to build Chesterbrook Methodist Church. The Mutersbaugh Family was always very active at Chesterbrook Methodist Church. It seems likely that Alonzo Mutersbaugh sold his farmland to Mr. Karlstromer in 1946, about 4 years before he died, at age 83, in 1950.

Alonzo Sherman Mutersbaugh had a son, Cline Monroe Mutersbaugh, who was very active in Chesterbrook while I was growing up. He as born in 1913 and died, of Alzheimer's disease, in 1995. I frequently saw him at church, at the grocery store, Bray's Esso, Chesterbrook School, etc. We went to school with his son, Donnie Mutersbaugh, and his wife, Anna, was the police lady at Chesterbrook Elementary School, before Mrs. Williams (Mike Williams' mother).

As a young man, Cline Mutersbaugh was NOT a farmer. He was a truck driver for Peoples Drug Stores, and then worked at the Naval Gun Factory, at the Washington Navy Yard during and after World War II. During the 1950's, Cline joined the Government Printing Office and later the Central Intelligence Agency as a repair machinist. He retired from the CIA in 1969.

In retirement, Mr. Mutersbaugh and his wife, Anna, operated McLean Sport and Hobby Shop and Mclean Art Store at the Salona Village Shopping Center until about 1975, when the stores were sold. Plastic model cars and model airplanes, their Hobby Shop had them all. Cline passed away on May 23rd 1995, and was buried at National Memorial Park, on Lee Highway, in Falls Church.

(end quote)

Mr. Karlstromer is the one who built all the cinderblock cube houses, and lived with his family in one of them, on the far side of the Chittendens' (see map). For more history see this page, and bits and pieces of other pages in this gallery.


Created by Photogallery 1.14 August 7, 2014