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Fallsmead@50 Fun Facts
Posted on October 18, 2018 12:45 PM by Melani Miller Harig
The Sumberg family, the first residents to move into the second section of Fallsmead (which began at Fallsmead Way and Infield Courts North and South), moved into their new home at 1309 Fallsmead Way in October 1969. At the time, there were no trees, sidewalks, or streetlights in that section of Fallsmead, and Fallsmead Way only extended to what is now the end of the 1300 block of Fallsmead Way at Pipestem Place. 
Photo Caption: Fallsmead Way at Pipestem Place probably early 1970. Photo Courtesy of Jim Morgan from the Fallsmead History Photo Album. Source: Fallsmead 25th Anniversary Book.
Posted on October 10, 2018 4:40 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Buddy McCracken, an 18-year old Wootton High School graduate who lived on Duncan Branch Court, was shot and killed at the end of Greenplace Terrace on October 11, 1974. Buddy was trying to stop a group of teenagers from tampering with a fire hydrant when one of the kids pulled out a gun and shot him. A memorial to Buddy was erected near the flagpole in Fallsmead Park and still stands there today. The scoreboard and baseball field at Wootton High School, where Buddy had played on the baseball team, were also named in his honor. 
Posted on October 2, 2018 11:41 AM by Melani Miller Harig
The original Fallsmead playground was installed in October 1973. Although some new equipment was purchased in 1993, most of the original playground was still here until 2013, when it was finally dismantled and completely replaced with new equipment.
Photo Caption: The old playground in June 2012. Photos courtesy of Melani Harig.
Posted on September 26, 2018 2:00 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Every Wednesday morning for the past 14 years, a group of current and former Fallsmead residents has met up for breakfast as part of the Fallsmead Men's Breakfast group. Stan Bissey, the Breakfast founder, and a few Fallsmead neighbors started meeting for breakfast in 2005. The weekly event has since grown to about 12-16 persons. More than 40 Fallsmead men have attended the breakfast at least once since it started. Read on for a full write-up of the group's activities from group member Tom McKenna:
Early every Wednesday morning, a few walkers set out from Fallsmead, heading for Woodside Deli in Rockville’s Town Center to attend the Fallsmead Men’s Breakfast. By the time the walkers arrive at the deli, other folks have already arrived and have several conversations going simultaneously. Soon, folks begin placing custom breakfast order with the waitress, who must patiently compete with ongoing discussions, yet quickly get all breakfast orders to the kitchen. Breakfast discussion topics include current events, sports, Fallsmead news, vacation reports, or other news. Often, someone will pull out a mobile to fact-check something. No question goes unanswered! The breakfast is fun. Some say it contributes to a healthy retirement to have the regular social interaction with such an interesting group!
Stan Bissey, the Breakfast founder, and a few Fallsmead neighbors started meeting for breakfast in 2005. The weekly event has since grown to about 12-16 persons, sometimes more. More than 40 Fallsmead men have attended the breakfast at least once since it started. The breakfast venue has only changed three times over the years, always due to some restaurant change. When a venue change was needed, breakfast regulars quickly came up with a good alternative that allowed our record of never missing a week for unplanned reasons to continue intact. The group started with a mix of retired and nonretired men. However, now only a few are still in the workforce. All are current or former Fallsmead residents.
Photo Caption: Pictured here from left are Walt McKee and Erich Baumgartner (front) and Tom McKenna and Stan Bissey (rear). They are planning a future breakfast. Photo courtesy of Tom McKenna. 
Posted on September 18, 2018 1:59 PM by Melani Miller Harig
There are 33 Kettler-built houses (those built in 1968-1973) in Fallsmead that are still occupied by their original owners. Two other Kettler original owners still live in the neighborhood, but in a different house. 
Fallsmead original owners June 2018. Photo courtesy of Marilyn Emery for the Fallsmead@50 photo book. 
Posted on September 10, 2018 4:50 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Can you imagine having 8 kids living in your Fallsmead house? Back in 1974 (the first year all 265 original Fallsmead houses were included in a neighborhood directory), there was one house with 8 kids living in it, and 47 houses with 4 or more kids; this year, one house has 5 kids living in it, and only 5 houses have 4 or more kids. More surprisingly (at least to me!), 88% of houses in 1974 had kids living in them; in 2018, only 53% of Fallsmead homes have kids living at home according to the directory.
Source: 1974 and 2018 Fallsmead neighborhood directories. 
Posted on September 4, 2018 11:19 AM by Melani Miller Harig
Elementary school kids living in Fallsmead attended Lakewood Elementary from 1968-1971, but switched to Cold Spring Elementary when that was built in 1972. Fallsmead Elementary became the neighborhood elementary school when it was built in 1974 (it was K-6th until 1994). High school and middle school students in Fallsmead first attended Richard Montgomery High School and Julius West Middle School (then a junior high), but switched to Wootton High School and Robert Frost Middle School (then an intermediate school/junior high) after those were built in 1970 and 1971, respectively.
Corner of James Spring Court and Greenplace Terrace on the first day of school in September 1973. Photo courtesy of Tony Buckley from the Fallsmead History Photo Album. 
Bus stop at the corner of Infield Court South and Fallsmead Way in 1990. Photo Courtesy of Stacy Shiffman from the Fallsmead History Photo Album.
Posted on August 28, 2018 3:21 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Fallsmead held a tennis tournament and Family Day at the pool on August 30 and 31, 1969, to celebrate the end of the first season of Fallsmead's pool and tennis courts.  The tennis tournament on August 30th was for kids ages 18 and under. The Family Day on August 31st included water polo, kids and adult swimming races, running races, a bubble gum blowing contest, newspaper races (whatever that was), a marshmallow contest, adult Dixie cup races, and an adult egg toss contest.
Fallsmead pool house in 1970 (above, courtesy of Jim Morgan) and 2018 (below, courtesy of Melani Harig). Photos from the Fallsmead Then and Now photo album. Source August 1969 Fallsmead Forum.
Posted on August 21, 2018 4:06 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Fallsmead was host to several "gigantic slip-n-slide" events on the big hill next to the pond in the early 2000s. Between 2003 and 2005, the slip-n-slides were Fallsmead's big late-August end-of-summer parties where everyone was encouraged to "come prepared to get wet and have a blast!"
Photos courtesy of Mark Fellman from the Fallsmead History Photo Album.
Posted on August 14, 2018 9:42 AM by Melani Miller Harig
The June 1969 Fallsmead Forum included a note to all residents reminding them that Fallsmead residents and their children were not allowed to swim in the Fallsmead pond. According to the Forum, "apart from the obvious danger of swimming in an unguarded area, the pond is meant for boating and fishing." Times have changed since boating (along, of course, with swimming) is most definitely NOT allowed on the pond these days. 
Fishing on the pond August 1969. Source: June 1969 Fallsmead Forum and Fallsmead 25th Anniversary Book.
Posted on August 7, 2018 3:01 PM by Melani Miller Harig
For the first several years of Fallsmead's existence, the path around the Fallsmead pond was open to automobile traffic to allow residents living on the Fallsmead Way side of the neighborhood to drive to the pool and tennis courts (since Greenplace Terrace had not yet been built). It 1973, however, it was closed to cars when the pool entrance on Greenplace Terrace was opened. This caused a year-long battle between residents who wanted to keep the Pipestem driving entrance open, residents who did not, Kettler Brothers (Fallsmead's builder), and the City of Rockville. In the end, the entrance was never re-opened.
Pipestem Place entrance to Fallsmead Park in August 1969. Source: Fallsmead 25th Anniversary Book.
Posted on August 1, 2018 10:37 AM by Melani Miller Harig
Carol Dollarhide (Recording Secretary 1981-2016) and Jean Bissey (Board Member 1979-1981 and Treasurer 1980-2003) have more than 60 years of Board service between them.
Photo courtesy of Stan and Jean Bissey. 
Posted on July 24, 2018 4:48 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Ducks and geese were first acquired by Fallsmead in summer 1975 to help control an algae problem on the pond. Unfortunately, it turned out that neither the ducks nor the geese liked to eat algae. Within several years, the neighborhood ended up with more geese (and algae) than we could handle (thanks to all of those cute baby geese every spring). To help control the population, the Grounds Committee for many years had the unenviable annual task of trapping and relocating the extra geese.
Source: Fallsmead 25th Anniversary Book. Baby geese in the park spring 2017. Photo Courtesy of Bob and Debra Browning from the Photos from Your Neighbors photo album.
Posted on July 17, 2018 12:05 PM by Melani Miller Harig
The Fallsmead Sharks swim team was created in the Summer of 1969 along with the opening of the pool. The first team included kids from about 10 families, which was almost everyone with kids who lived in Fallsmead at that time. For the first three years, informal meets were conducted with the "B" teams from the more established pools in the area. In 1972, Fallsmead was accepted into the Montgomery County Swim League and began also swimming against the "A" team pools.
Source: Fallsmead 25th Anniversary Book. All photos courtesy of Dave and Nancy Carter from the Fallsmead Sharks Swim Team photo album. The first picture is the 1981 swim team; the others are probably 1980s (let us know if you know for sure!).
Posted on July 11, 2018 11:23 AM by Melani Miller Harig
In 1983, the City of Rockville proposed building a 21-foot tall gabion dam in the woods above the Pipestem entrance to the park to aid with stormwater management. The proposed structure would have stood 18 feet above the streambed and would have been topped with a 3 foot wooden railed walkway (in total, about the height of a 2-story Fallsmead home). According to residents at the time, during a major storm, the dam would cause water to back up behind it and create an 18-foot deep lake. Residents opposed the dam, and it was obviously never built.
Source: May 1983 Fallsmead Forum and Fallsmead History Page. Fallsmead woods photo courtesy of Dean Wight from the Photos from Your Neighbors Photo Album
Posted on July 2, 2018 3:47 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Although the pool first opened with much fanfare on July 4, 1969 (the tennis courts opened at about the same time), the first official neighborhood Fourth of July party wasn't held until 1971.
Photos Courtesy of Carol Starley from the 4th of July 1970s photo album.
Photo Courtesy of Nancy Bauman Moore from the Fallsmead History photo album.
Posted on June 26, 2018 1:24 PM by Melani Miller Harig
Through the early 2000s, Fourth of July activities in Fallsmead were themed. Themes included Salute to America (1986), Mickey Mania (1995), and Protests in American History (1979). Everyone came in costumes and with parade vehicles (including floats) decorated based on these themes. Contest judging categories included best group/block, best family, and best stroller. Chalk drawing contests and even an occasional baked goods contest were also held.
All Photos Courtesy of Carol Starley from the 4th of July 1970s and 4th of July 1980s photo albums.
July 4, 1986. Carol and Steve Starley. Theme: "Salute to America"
July 4, 1976. Theme: "Bicentennial"
July 4, 1980. Theme: "Famous Characters in American Folklore"
July 4, 1977. Theme: "Past, Present, and Future"
July 4, 1979. Theme: "Protests in American History" or "History of Protest in the American Way of Life"
Posted on June 19, 2018 4:21 PM by Melani Miller Harig
On June 21-22, 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes hit the Washington D.C. area, causing some of the worst flooding ever recorded in the region’s history. In Fallsmead, the storm caused a deluge of water from the creek to overflow into the pond, which, in turn, overflowed, sending mud and water flooding into the pool. The flooding also destroyed several wooden bridges that crossed the creek. In the aftermath, Fallsmead's builders created an overflow area between the pond and the creek and an upstream berm to help divert future flood waters away from the pond. They also replaced the destroyed wood bridges with concrete culverts so that flood water could flow over them. The pond also needed to be dredged to remove all of the silt from the flooding.
Photo Caption: Fallsmead pond in the 1970s. Photo Courtesy of Jim Morgan from the Fallmead History Photo Album.
Posted on June 13, 2018 2:21 PM by Melani Miller Harig
The first and second residents who moved into Fallsmead in April and May 1968 finally got some new neighbors when the 3rd and 4th residents (the Mulhollands at 1102 Cedrus Way and the Coves at 1114 Fallsmead Way, respectively) moved in on June 13 and 14, 1968. By July 1st, around a dozen houses on the 1100 block of Fallsmead Way and Cedrus Way were occupied by new owners.
Foundation of 1130 Pipestem Place with Scott Drive (now Wootton Parkway) and unpaved Fallsmead Way in the background in April 1971. Photo Courtesy of Terry Martin from the Fallmead History Photo Album.
Posted on June 6, 2018 1:28 PM by Melani Miller Harig
The major pool renovation that took place during the first half of 2001 officially ended with the reopening of the pool on June 9, 2001. During the renovation, the pool was expanded with the addition of the beach entrance, the pool house was partially demolished and fully renovated, the covered area next to the pool was built, and the fountains were added.
Photos Courtesy of Terry Martin and Alan Frankle from the Pool Renovation 2001 photo album. Source: March and July 2001 Fallsmead Forums.
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This year is Fallsmead's 50th Anniversary! As part of our celebration, we are sharing weekly fun facts about Fallsmead's history and important events in Fallsmead's past here, on Facebook, and on the neighborhood email list. This "Fallsmead@50" campaign will be ongoing throughout the entire 2018 50th anniversary year.
Do you have memories that you would like to share? Please feel free to add your thoughts and memories throughout the year on our Facebook page, or contact us at communications@fallsmead.org or at mckennt3@comcast.net