Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ February 2013

What’s in a Name?

Northwood-Four Corners Versus North Four Corners

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.    — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

At the December 2012 NFCCA general membership meeting, a motion was made to change the name of the “Northwood-Four Corners Civic Association” to the “North Four Corners Civic Association.”  The members present at that meeting agreed that the merits of such a name change should be debated over the next several months.  If there is sufficient support for changing the name of our civic association, then there will be a vote on the proposed name change this spring.

CON (by Linda Perlman, NFCCA Treasurer, Caddington Avenue)

Our civic association has been known as the Northwood-Four Corners Civic Association since it was founded.  Similarly, the newsletter has always been called the Northwood News.  There’s no reason to change the name now, particularly as the association’s existing name accurately reflects the area the NFCCA represents.

The NFCCA territory stretches from Northwood High School (i.e., Caddington Avenue and Loxford Terrace) to Four Corners (i.e., Colesville Road and University Blvd., W.) and then to Northwest Branch.  Northwood High School is the north boundary and Four Corners is the south boundary of our civic association.  These boundaries are reflected in the name of our civic association.

I live over a mile from Four Corners and I do not consider myself part of the Four Corners community (either the north or south portion).  I would suspect that the overwhelming number of residents living by or near me also do not consider themselves part of Four Corners.  Significantly, neither does the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission:  the streets of Eisner, Irwin, Hannes, and Chiswell — as well as the area bordered by Caddington and Loxford — are not part of the Four Corners Master Plan area.

My neighborhood is Forest Knolls.  The elementary school and swimming pool in the NFCCA territory are named Forest Knolls.  The voting place for Precinct 13-11 (whose boundaries are the same as the NFCCA area) is Forest Knolls Elementary School.  Although I would like the civic association name to include “Forest Knolls,” I am satisfied as long as “Northwood” is in the name.  After all, Northwood High School is behind my house and this newsletter is titled the Northwood News.

A change of our civic association name to the “North Four Corners Civic Association” would present a false image regarding the area represented by the NFCCA.  Describing the NFCCA area as “North Four Corners” excludes approximately 35 percent of the households in the NFCCA territory (i.e., my neighborhood of Forest Knolls and the other streets excluded from the Four Corner’s Master Plan boundaries).

I believe that our civic association should strive to be as inclusive as possible.  Changing the association name to “North Four Corners,” rather than “Northwood-Four Corners,” sends a message that the NFCCA is not interested in the concerns of the more than 521 households located outside of the Four Corners area.

PRO (by Jacquie Bokow, Northwood News Editor, Cavalier Drive)

I often hear people refer to our civic association as the “North Four Corners Civic Association.”  When I went for training to use County facilities for our meetings, that is how we were listed by the County.  Although I corrected them, I began to think changing our name would make our association more notable and our name more accurate.

The active civic association in the area south of University Boulevard is called the “South Four Corners Civic Association.”  The civic association northeast of Colesville Road is called “Woodmoor Civic Association,” so we would not be in conflict with another group.

Our neighborhood encompasses the subdivisions (as called by realtors) of Forest Knolls, Northwood Knolls, Northwood Park, Northwood Park View, and Northwood Village, although I couldn’t say where any of these are actually located.  I believe most people think of “Northwood” as the high school.  (If they include the territory around it, they would be wrong, as it’s called Forest Knolls after the elementary school, which is not a major landmark to outsiders.)  It would be inclusive to call all territories in our neighborhood “North Four Corners.”

When I tell local people where I live, I say “North Four Corners.”  On Freecycle-Silver Spring, that’s the location I list for pick-up.  They know instantly where I mean.  Think about that yourself; where do you say you live when others ask?  Isn’t it the “Four Corners” area?

The Four Corners Master Plan is specific to the intersection of Colesville Road and University Boulevard.  The map of the intersection in the Master Plan spreads out a mile in each direction, so it also covers the area south to Sligo Creek and Franklin Avenue.  It includes the bulk of NFCCA territory; I guess if the mapmaker had gone that extra half a mile, so to speak (or drawn the map in landscape orientation instead of portrait), we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Changing our name would not change our acronym; it would still be NFCCA.  Our website could remain  Our outdoor signs to announce meetings would change, but these are periodically reordered as they break and could be changed gradually without additional expense.  New checks would be needed, but perhaps these, too, could be phased in when new ones are ordered.

When the NFCCA began, its territory did not extend to Northwood High School; it stopped at Eisner Street.  Another civic association, now defunct, covered the “Forest Knolls” area.  With so many subdivisions with the “Northwood” name, it made sense for a small, local newsletter filled with neighborhood news to be called that.  But times have changed.  Communication has become digital, and quick.  Our newsletter has become very well known to people outside our civic association territory.  Thanks to the excellent articles being written by residents of our community, it is now a powerful expression of our united will to improve our neighborhood, recognize and remember our history, and point out the seemingly never-ending inanity of County institutions.  The name of the Northwood News would have to change, but folks would no longer think it was a high school publication.

(If the change to the civic association name is voted, perhaps we could have a contest to determine the newsletter’s new name.)

And remember, just because something’s always been one way in the past is no reason it cannot be changed.

[Discussion of the proposed name change will continue at the February meeting.]   ■

   © 2013 NFCCA  [Source:]