Ev Shorey

Ev Shorey moved to West Lane Keys in 1986 with his wife, Joan, after raising four children in Cleveland Park. Originally from Illinois, Ev moved to Washington in the early 1960s as the Deputy General Council of the Foreign Aid Administration. He became very active in the Citizens Association of Georgetown in the early 1990s, eventually becoming President of the organization in 1992. Ev created the successful block captain system and the Guard Program. In his interview with Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Ev talks about the fabulous people who make up the Georgetown community and his great appreciation for the neighborhood.

Interview Date:
Monday, April 7, 2014
Constance Chatfield Taylor

Constance Chatfield Taylor: So, here we go. Please give us your full name.

Clyde Edward Shorey Jr.: Clyde Edward Shorey Jr.

Constance: Where, and when were you born?

Ev: I was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on June 9th, 1922.

Constance: In what year did you move to Georgetown?

Ev: I moved to Georgetown in 1986.

Constance: What brought you here? What brought your family here?

Ev: We lived in Chicago, grew up in Chicago, married in Chicago, lived there for 15 years. Came to Washington the end of 1963, and beginning of 1964, as in the government. I was the Deputy General Council of the FAD, the Foreign Aid Administration.

Constance: Excellent. When you first moved here, do you have children that lived here, and what was it like when you moved in the street here?

Ev: Well, we first lived in Cleveland Park, from 19 …

Person: I am just going to take the mail. I am Joanna. How are you doing?

Ev: OK. I just started.

Constance: I can cross this if you would like. So, you first moved to Cleveland Park, and lived there for a few years.

Ev: We lived there for 22 years. We have four children. They grew up, and came of age while we were in Cleveland Park. When they moved out, we moved to Georgetown in 1986.

Constance: What did it look on West Lane Keys in 1986, pretty much the same?

Ev: It looked exactly the same as it does now. All of the houses were just the same, as well as Orchard Lane, which is the extension of West Lane Keys.

Constance: Your house, I can see a nice side garden that isn’t a part of the other houses along this area. Can you tell us about that?

Ev: Well, in approximately in 1972, the then owners of our house, were then able to purchase our yard, which is adjacent to it on the east side, from the estate of the woman who had died owning the Q Street house, which was directly behind it. Therefore, this house now has a separate lot, and a two car garage, which we have made into a large garden, and has a swimming pool as well.

Constance: Where we are right now, where your house is, is part of the West Lane Keys Development, is that right?

Ev: Yes.

Constance: In what year was it built?

Ev: My understanding is it was built in 1959 or 1960, by Al Wheeler, who still lives across the street.

Constance: When you moved in here were the neighbors close? Was it a type of neighborhood that you got to know your neighbors? What was it like in 1986?

Ev: Yes. We knew our neighbors. We got to know them better as the years went by, and as we became more involved of the activities of Georgetown.

Constance: Tell me about that. Tell me about the Citizens Association of Georgetown, and was it formed when you moved in here, in 1986?

Ev: The Citizens Association of Georgetown has been in existence for over 100 years in various stages. After we moved to Georgetown, I became more active in it over the years. Starting in about 1992, I became actively involved in the Association and became its treasurer. At that particular point, the Citizens Association did not have any full‑time staff. It had a part‑time employee, who really just answered the mail and deposited membership checks. We were very concerned about the public safety problems in Georgetown, and Arnold Sagglan and I, who were then becoming active members of the Association, focused on trying to do something about the public safety problems of the community. We determined that we couldn’t really have an effective organization, unless we had a full‑time employee. So, we began an effort to raise the funds to do that.

We were very fortunate, in that Fred Prince was a member of the Board of the Citizens Association at that time, and he agreed to make a $1, 500 matching grant from the Prince Foundation to start the fund‑raising effort. We were fortunate to raise a total, including the Prince Foundation funds, of about $35, 000‑$40, 000, which allowed us to hire the first full‑time employee for the Association.

Constance: What year was that?

Ev: Well, I don’t remember exactly, but it was maybe in 1993 or 1994, and at that time, after serving a year as the treasurer, I became the President of the Citizens Association. Up until that time, the Association had really separated itself from the rest of the community. The residents considered themselves to be a separate entity from the business community, and the university. I endeavored to, and persuaded the Association to try and be more cooperative with the Business Association and business community, and the university. This began at that time, and has continued, so that now there is quite a lot of rapport between the three different parts of the community. They seek to solve the problems in a joint way, rather than sort of combatants.

With our focus on trying to do something about the public safety of the community, we began while I was President to create the Block Captains System throughout all of Georgetown. My wife Joanne Shorey, headed up that effort, and was joined by a number of others who were members of the Citizens Association to make that happen.

The police department kept telling us that we could never do that in Georgetown, that it was too isolated, people didn’t work together, and we were able to prove them completely wrong. We organized over 80 different blocks in Georgetown, through the leadership of my wife, and at the same time, we initiated the Guard Program.

Several blocks around Cambridge Place, and Avon Place, had started a Guard Program, and had hired a guard to circulate in those few blocks, as a way of cutting down on crimes in the neighborhood. I asked them if they would be willing to broaden their operation to include the rest of Georgetown, and they felt that they wanted to do that on their own.

So, with that, I began the organization of the Guard Program throughout Georgetown. We used the block captains as the basis for organizing the various blocks into guard units. We were able to form three units on the eastern side of Wisconsin Avenue, and two units on the western side, and they are the basis for the guard program that exists at the present time.

Constance: And that was in ’93, 94?

Ev: That was about in ’93, ’94, in that area. We’ve also worked on parking problems with trying to develop a system of parking which would allow the residents to park closer to their homes. This has been a serious problem throughout the years and still is not, I believe, adequately taken care of. I stayed as president of the association for one year and then continued on the board for several years thereafter, as provided by the bylaws.

Constance: How do you feel, is it significantly different today, the organization, than it was in ’93 or is it pretty much the same?

Ev: Well, I think that organizations like this go through various stages. I think that for a number of years things went along pretty much the way they were when I was actively involved. I think that then for a while the interest in the block captains and guard program wained a good deal. One reason is that those programs had really been very successful. The amount of crime in Georgetown had gone down very substantially. People were walking the streets more at night. But then some events took place which aroused the residents again. And I think that the association has again come to life and has renewed the block captain program which had kind of fallen into disrepair. Also the guard program is now operating in I gather a somewhat different manner than when we set it up. When we set it up the guards walked the various guard units, and now they are doing it by car.

Constance: It sounds like you got an awful lot accomplished when you were president and also treasurer leading up to your presidency, centered around safety, and that’s wonderful thing to contribute to. Are there any outstanding moments while you were president that really strike you in memory? What would be one of them if there is one? Something that you really remember that made a difference or something you really remember that surprised you.

Ev: Well I think one of the things is not a single event but I was very pleased when I was able to convince various people in the association and community to take an active role in what we were doing. And I was able on various occasions to talk individuals into taking on leadership roles, and that was particularly true with the guard program.

Constance: That’s a very valuable thing to be able to do.

Ev: The person who took that on was Rod Johnston who then later became a member of the ANC, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and became its chairman. I even had some influence in getting him to run for that job. So those were things that I really feel pleased about. He said after I’d talked to him the second time that he never wanted to have lunch with me again because I had done both of those things over lunch.

Constance: You must be very convincing.

Ev: Well I was lucky in that case.

Constance: I neglected to ask you the name of the family that you bought the house from and what the address is here. We need to have that in the record.

Ev: Well the address is 3033 West Lane Keys.

Constance: And do you remember the name of the people that you bought it from?

Ev: I don’t.

Constance: That was a long time ago.

Ev: Yeah, it was twenty four years ago.

Constance: Yeah. Is there anything about any of your neighbors or from the past twenty years that would be interesting to note. Is there anybody that stands out in your mind? In the neighborhood? In the last twenty five years?

Ev: Well, we have gotten to know…particularly when we were setting up the block captains. We took up the job of being block captained here in this area. So we knew everybody. Many of whom were really good friends. And they were all really great citizens. That’s been true. There have been changes now over the years. But, in every case we have just found them to be very, very nice. We don’t know the people anymore who live on Orchard lane. Other than just to say hello as you go by. But, the people on West Lane keys. We still know pretty well.

Constance: You seem to be a great motivator. What would be your advice to someone in CAG, or in the neighborhood. trying to get people involved?

Ev: Well, you have to be convinced yourself that you can make a difference. And that it is important to get people to work together to make things happen. Once you have that motivation. Then, things do happen. But, you have to kind of put yourself forward to get in a position to do that.

Constance: That’s good advice for life.

Ev: Well, I guess that’s right.

Constance: One more question. You have your four children, and raised them in Cleveland Park, and then moved down here?

Ev: Right.

Constance: A lot of young families are here now. Tell me a little about that. Your decision to move down here after your kids were sort of out of the house, and do you think it’s any different today?

Ev: Well, I do. When we moved here there were not a lot of young children. The local schools have improved since then. And I think that families like to live, at least the ones that are moving here, like to live in the city. And are willing to bring up their children. Also I think it is affected by the fact that more young people are now able to afford…first of all to buy houses in Georgetown. Which are on the whole very expensive. And afford to hire the necessary help to take care of their houses, and take care of their children.

You see on the street everyday many, many nannies with the children. And I think that the fact that more young people are able to afford that and want to live in this kind of a community is what’s making that happen.

Constance: Very interesting. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about? That’s strikes you about living here, making the transition from Cleveland park. Being such a member of the community, and an important one. Getting people involved in public safety and all the things that make a community livable.

Ev: Well, I don’t know. I think I’ve pretty much covered it.

Constance: I think it’s been wonderful.

Ev: Yeah.

Constance: Thank you very much.

Ev: Well, you are very welcome.