About Strathmore at Bel Pre

Historic Background:

Levitt and Sons (of Levittown Fame) built this wonderful neighborhood of single family houses starting in 1967.  In the late 60’s these new home were considered the upscale “luxury homes” of the time.

The spacious homes are set on larger than average lots.  Most of the lots in Strathmore at Bel Pre are well over 10,000 square feet and some go up to over an acre in size.  The homes have generous setbacks and rolling terrain with curved streets and many cul de sacs with a landscaped center island at the end.  Unlike older subdivisions in the Silver Spring area, Strathmore Bel Pre has underground utilities.  There are no overhead wires to spoil the landscape or cause power outages.

Even in 1966, when Levitt purchased the property, Montgomery County was already heavily developed. It is somewhat unusual for Levitt to have selected a site that was essentially within the fringe of a developed area, rather than just beyond it. As such, with higher land prices, higher priced homes were offered when the community opened in 1968 with more amenities such as a private Swim and Tennis Club, larger wooded lots with generous setbacks and rolling terrain, curving streets rather than a warped grid pattern, many culs-de-sac with a landscaped center island at the end. In addition, the homes had more amenities as well. Although they were the larger of the same basic homes that were being offered in other Levitt communities, additional standard features were included in the sale price, such as fireplace, slate entry, and hardwood floors. In addition, the luxury versions of the standard models were renamed to distinguish them from the standard version of the models.

At the outset of the community, only four models were available. Three of them were familiar homes from Levitt’s standard houselines, with additional standard features and new names. The Trent was a newcomer and a large home at that. Offered in Levitt’s upscale communities (including Woodlawn Manor in Upper Marlboro, Md. as the Tennyson), the Trent was one of the largest models in terms of floor area, though the Fairfield (the Framingham in the standard houseline) still had it beat in terms of the number of bedrooms.

There were 545 homes built by Levitt and Sons between 1968 and 1973.

There were 4 styles of houses originally built in 1968, all of which came with 2 car garages and hardwood floors, and had options for a basement, fireplace and conversation pit (it should be noted that many of these features were optional during building, so the actual features of each model house varies):

  • The Judson – Large Ranch or Rambler Style House, with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, brick front, covered entry, slate entry foyer with dual closet, living and sleeping areas with polished hardwood floors, living-dining room with optional fireplace, front-to-rear paneled family room with fireplace, beamed ceiling, adjoining breakfast alcove and sliders to back lawn, main bath with double-bowl vanity, laundry room with garage access, two-car garage with utility and storage areas, overhead storage and pull-down stairway and optional side entry, optional basement. (RENDERINGPLAN)
  • The Endicott -Center-hall Colonial.  4 Bedrooms, 2-1/2 Baths, Cut Stone front, Slate Entry Foyer, Living and Sleeping areas with polished Hardwood Floors, Front-to-Rear Living Room with Box Window, Formal Dining Room with Box Window, Kitchen with Alcove, Paneled Family Room with Beamed Ceiling and Optional Fireplace, Separate Laundry Room, Two-car Garage with Storage Area, Overhead Storage with Pull-down Stairway and Optional Side Entry, Optional Basement. (RENDERINGPLAN)
  • The Trent – 2-story Dutch Colonial. 4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, Brick front, Covered Entry, Slate Entry Foyer with Guest Closet, Living and Sleeping areas with polished Hardwood Floors, Front-facing Living Room, Front-facing Dining Room, Paneled Family Room Beamed Ceiling, Fireplace, and Built-in Bar, Kitchen with Serving Counter and Breakfast Alcove with Sliders to back lawn, First-floor Bedroom or Den and Full Bath with Stall Shower and Oversized Linen Closet, Master Bedroom with Separate Dressing Area, Walk-in Closet, Bedroom 3 with Walk-in Closet, Laundry Room with Garage Access and Service Door to back lawn, Two-car Garage with Storage Area, Overhead Storage with Pull-down Staircase, and separate Utility Area. (RENDERINGPLAN)
  • The Fairfield – 1-1/2-story Farmhouse. 5 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, Cut Stone front with Portico, Slate Entry Foyer, Living Room with Bay Window, Formal Dining Room, Family Room with Sliders to back lawn and Serving Counter from Kitchen, Laundry Room with Garage access, First-floor Master Suite with two closets, Bath 3 with Double-bowl Vanity, Two-car Garage with Utility and Storage Areas, Overhead Storage and Pull-down Stairway, Optional Side Entry. (RENDERINGPLAN)

In 1969, just in time for the start of Levitt’s fifth decade as a homebuilder, two new models were added to the Strathmore at Bel Pre houseline–the Blair and the Embassy.  These were very large homes with such luxury features as luminous kitchen ceilings, curved staircases, fireplace conversation pits, and gated garden atrium front entries.  Also included with the sale price was a basement–optional features when offered in the models that remained from the 1966 houseline.

  • The Embassy – Atrium Ranch. 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, Brick front, Gated Garden Atrium Entry, Covered Entry, Slate Entry Foyer with Beamed Ceiling, Living and Sleeping Areas with polished Hardwood Floors, Rear-facing Living Room with Beamed Ceiling, Fireplace, and Optional Conversation Pit, Kitchen with Luminous Ceiling, Walk-in Pantry, and Breakfast Alcove with door to front Garden Atrium patio area, Family Room with Beamed Ceiling and Sliders to back lawn, Main Bath with separate Bath and Double-bowl Vanity areas with Linen Closet, Master Bath with Separate Double-bowl Vanity and Bath areas and Dressing Room, Optional Paneled Den with opening to Foyer in place of Bedroom 4, Separate Laundry Room with Service Door to side lawn and Garage access, Two-car Garage, Partial Daylight Basement with Utility Area (RENDERINGPLAN)
  • The Blair – Center-hall Colonial. 4 Bedrooms, 2-1/2 Baths, Brick front, Slate Entry Foyer with Curved Staircase and Dual Guest Closets, Living Room with bay window, Fireplace, and separate paneled Library with Optional Fireplace, Formal Dining Room with bay window, Kitchen with Luminous Ceiling and Serving Counter, adjoining Breakfast Alcove with bay window, Family Room with Beamed Ceiling, Sliders to back lawn, and Optional Fireplace, Laundry Room with Garage access and Service Door to back lawn, Two-car Garage with Oversized Storage Area, Optional Maid’s Room with Full Bath in place of Garage Storage Area, Daylight Basement with Utility Area. (RENDERINGPLAN)

    The Blair model was truly a unique home when it debuted in 1969.  It was featured on the cover of the October 1969 issue of Professional Builder magazine, which profiled Levitt and Sons in its 40th year of business.  The Blair was introduced into the houselines as the Blair, Bentley, or Berkshire model at several of Levitt’s upscale communities, including Strathmore at Huntington in Dix Hills, N.Y., Crofton Woods in Crofton, Md., and Woodlawn Manor in Upper Marlboro, Md.  This model was somewhat contemporary in nature, even though it was finished in a traditional exterior.  Likely inspired by Spanish villa style, the gated atrium area in the front of the house with access from the kitchen made for an informal outdoor dining area and a welcoming entry court for guests.  Inside, rooms are spacious and the floor plan is sprawling.  Indoor contemporary features include an optional conversation pit–a sunken area of the living room around the fireplace with built-in cushioned benches.  The Blair was the only traditional home at the time with this feature.  The Conversation Pit would not be seen again until Levitt unveiled its contemporary houseline in 1971.  At the time the Blair model debuted, Levitt was just beginning to test true contemporary models–inside and out.  That style would not enter the Levitt houselines until 1971–and last only a few years until inflation and high interest rates would necessitate more compact and simpler home designs.

 

Levitt and Sons sold the last 250+ lots to a local builder the early 80’s so there are newer homes that were built in the mid 1980’s and later.

Present Day:

Strathmore Bel Pre is located in the northern part of Silver Spring, sometimes called “Aspen Hill” in the Silver Spring Md zip code area 20906.  The neighborhood is bisected by a beautiful wooded preserve.  The Matthew Henson Park and Trail runs through it.

Strathmore Bel Pre has a very active civic association, which produces a Bugle newsletter, holds an annual yard sale, and hosts 4th of July activities.  The neighborhood has plenty of open park, picnic and play areas.  There is a Swim and Tennis Club for the use of residents.  The Bel Pre Recreation Association (BPRA) is the governing body for the Strathmore Home Owners Association and HOA annual fee is a low $225 per year.

The borders of Strathmore at Bel Pre are roughly:  Bel Pre Road to the East, Layhill Road to the South, Georgia Ave on the west and Gate of Heaven Cemetery & Hewitt Ave to the North. The closest Metro Station is the Glenmont Station on Metro’s Red Line.

Schools:

There are 3 elementary schools within the borders of the subdivision:

The location (street and number) of the house within the neighborhood will determine which one the of the 3 schools a child living at the address will attend.  The assignment can be found at the Montgomery County School Assignment
Locator Link.

Middle School: Argyle Middle School

High School: Part of the Down County High School Consortium (DCC), with home assignment of Kennedy High School