History of Rock Creek Hills

Rock Creek Hills was part of the old Alfred Ray farm–a show place in the early 1900’s with open spaces, white board fences and fox hounds. The owner, who was in England to obtain some fancy hunting dogs, unfortunately sailed on the ill-fated Titanic.

After many years of neglect, the farm of over 300 acres was acquired by the Continental Life Insurance Company of Washington, DC, for the purpose of creating a model suburban development. The insurance company was primarily interested in furnishing the loans on the houses for investment of its funds.

The community was thoroughly planned and engineered. Streets were laid out and paved many years before houses were built. The first homes were constructed on the north side of Saul Road, and one at the corner of Saul and Kingston Roads. They did not sell quickly, so Earle Coombs, an officer of the Company bought one of the houses on Saul Road. Mr. Coombs was the man most responsible for the development of Rock Creek Hills during the period Continental Life Insurance Company was active in the project. He engaged Cecil Umsted, a Kensington native and graduate engineer, and Charles Allen, a real estate operator, and the Company went into the designing, building and development business. The section opened by these men was West Bexhill Drive and East and West Stanhope.

Other builders were encouraged to operate in the community, among whom were Carl and John McIntire, who built their homes before World Ware II, as well as several more after 1945. Among the pre-ware builders were A.G. Smeedigan and G. F. Michelson. Evans Buchanan and his father began building after the war.

An average lot in 1940 was at least 100 by 180 feet and sold for about 10 cents a square foot; $2,500 bought a beautiful lot. Houses sold from as low as $9,000 to about $21,000–with a few big houses welling at about $30,000.

In 1950 Continental Life sold out to Southland Life Insurance Company. They, in turn, sold the remaining acreage to local land speculators and developers. The fine character of homes and setting has been continued in the approximately 75 acres added since 1950 to Rock Creek Hills, although the lots have become smaller. The continuity of control has been shifted to the Rock Creek Hills Citizens Association and to the Rock Creek Hills Covenants, Inc.

In 1965 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) acquired 57 acres off Stoneybrook Drive. Between 1971 and 1974, atop a hill overlooking Rock Creek Park and the Beltway, the Church built its Washington Temple, covered by Alabama white marble, with six gold-plated spires and with a bronze cast eighteen-foot statue of the prophet Moroni atop the east center 300-foot spire. Some 750,000 people from around the world visited this beautifully landscaped temple prior to its dedication in November 1974.

The Rock Creek Hills Citizens Association was founded at a meeting at John McIntire’s home in 1946. Matthew Sawtell, Ted Compton, Willard Hyde, Jerry Strong and others drew up a constitution and By-laws and elected Guy Harper as president.

The Association has been active in efforts to maintain the continued beauty and park-like setting of the area. The regularly scheduled meetings of the membership serve to stimulate active interest and inform the community of county problems affecting the area and our government.

The Rock Creek Hills Citizens Association is open to all residents of Rock Creek Hills upon payment of annual dues, which has been set at $35.00 per household. The Association holds meetings three times a year, usually the second Wednesday of January, May and October, plus special meetings to deal with special issues. In recent years these issues have focused on land use matters. The Association’s officers include President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. The same officers are the corporate officers for Rock Creek Hills Covenants, Inc. which is responsible for enforcing the covenants controlling land use in Rock Creek Hills.