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Where We Live

A Secluded Haven in Prince George's

By Keisha Stewart
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, February 28, 2004; Page G01

As Hardy Jones remembers it, the Squires liked to have fun -- arranging bus trips to Atlantic City, perhaps, or throwing a neighborhood fish fry.

Even though many members of the once-active neighborhood social club have grown older or died, the Squires embodied one of the things that Jones still likes about Glenwood Park: It's a friendly place. He said he knows all of his neighbors by name.

"You don't know it's back here," said Hardy Jones about Glenwood Park, his quiet Lanham neighborhood. (Craig Herndon For The Washington Post)


BOUNDARIES: The community is a cluster of cul-de-sacs entered from Galveston Road; it includes Buena Vista, Diablo, Chautauqua and Elmira avenues.

SCHOOLS: Seabrook Elementary, Thomas Johnson Middle and DuVal High schools.

HOME SALES: In 2003, two houses were sold for $234,900 and $240,000, said Ronald Duckett of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. There are no houses on the market.

WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE: Glenwood Park Neighborhood Park, with tennis court and picnic area.

WITHIN 10-15 MINUTES BY CAR: Enterprise Shopping Center, Bowie Town Center, the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, FedEx Field and Curry Sports and Learning Complex, several churches.

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Glenwood Park, like the Squires, has slowed down, but residents say they enjoy living in their quiet Lanham subdivision. "You don't know it's back here," said Jones, 61, a retired federal employee.

A big reason for the Prince George's County neighborhood's tranquility is that there is just one way in and out, at Galveston Road, which meets Route 450. That means little traffic goes through the neighborhood, which has about 100 homes. Residents say that many in the neighborhood are in their forties or older, and that there are few school-age children.

Local developer M. Leo Storch began apportioning the Glenwood Park community in the late 1950s, recalled longtime resident Lawrence Freeman. Storch sold lots to buyers, allowing them to build as they pleased as long as the designs adhered to certain covenants.

So instead of cookie-cutter houses, Glenwood Park has a variety of home styles. The neighborhood includes the split-level and split-foyer designs standard in many 1950s suburbs, but also contemporary-style houses popular between the 1950s and 1970s, as well as a few other designs. The contemporary homes feature a mix of wood, brick or stone.

"It's got its own unique character," Jones said.

Real estate agent Ron Duckett of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said Glenwood Park has little turnover. No houses are currently on the market; none has been since December. Just 10 houses have been sold since July 2001, he said.

"This community is a stable community. People have been here for years and years and years," said Philip Kay, 79, who purchased his home on Chautauqua Avenue 31 years ago. "The only time a house will go on sale is because of death, maybe."

When Freeman moved into Glenwood Park in 1958, his house was one of the first. The neighborhood had no paved roads, no sidewalks, no streetlights and no connection to a main sewage drainage system.

Freeman, 80, a retired vice principal, said he enjoys the community's feel of seclusion, but also likes how the insulation allows residents to see their neighbors regularly.

"You know people over the years," he said.

Earle White, 71, an insurance agent who has lived in Glenwood Park for 20 years, said neighbors have chauffeured his wife to doctor appointments because he no longer drives. His neighbors keep their homes tidy, as well, said White, whose Chautauqua Avenue home proclaims his Redskins affinity, with its gold shutters and garage door and its Redskins sign staked in the front lawn.

Recently, residents have waged war against a warehouse scheduled to be built across from their neighborhood on Route 450. They say they worry about runoff water affecting their properties, as well as light, noise and air pollution from trucks that will use the facility.

"We're quite upset about it," White said.

Community members have picketed at county officials' offices, appeared before the planning board and filed a lawsuit trying to stop construction. "We won't stop. We continue," White said.

Said Jones, who filed the suit, "We just think it's going to change the whole character of the area here."

© 2004 The Washington Post Company