A Brief History of Reston

Reprinted from a publication of Gulf Reston, Inc.
Copyright 1970 by Gulf Reston, Inc.

I. Reston Land Before The Twentieth Century: 1649-1886

The land on which Reston now stands first became a political entity in 1649 when King Charles II (exiled in France) deeded one-fifth of the present commonwealth of Virginia, a parcel of land known as the "Northern Neck Proprietary", to seven noblemen. Lord Culpepper, one of the original seven, later acquired title to the entire parcel which in 1710 went to his daughter Catherine, Lady Fairfax.

The land remained in the Fairfax family for generations. In 1843 Thomas Fairfax, the Ninth Baron Cameron, deeded over 8,000 acres, including what is now Reston, to is son Reginald, who, in turn, sold the land to Benjamin Thornton in 1852 for $5.00 an acre.

Following the Civil War, the land became a favored area for speculation. In order to satisfy back taxes, the land was put up for auction in 1886 and sold to Dr. Carl Adolph Max Wiehle and William Dunn for $20,000.

II. What Happened To Wiehle?: New Town Predecessor 1886-1961

In 1881, Dr. Wiehle, a successful German-born physician from Philadelphia, retired from general practice at the age of 35 and brought his wife and children to Washington.

The Washington and Old Dominion railroad made it possible for fashionable Washington families to own summer homes in the nearby Fairfax County, Virginia area, and in 1886 Dr. Wiehle formed a partnership with William M. Dunn to buy at auction 6,449 acres of rolling, timbered land in Fairfax along the railroad in the area known as Thornton Station. The cost was less than $4 an acre. The land was later divided, with Dr. Wiehle taking the 3,228 acres north of the railroad tracks, where in 1888 he built a Victorian-style frame house with an elaborate white gazebo near the station. The house is no longer in existence, but the gazebo still stands beside Reston Avenue. About the same time he bought an additional 300 acres, including the land now the property of the Fairfax Hunt, for $10 an acre.

A man of prodigious energy and imagination, Wiehle must have found retirement at 35 unbearably dull, for he soon turned his attention to an ambitious project. In his virgin forests of oak and hickory he envisioned a new town, complete with a hotel, industry, parks and a community center.
To lay out the town, Dr. Wiehle brought a planner from Germany, who used a modified grid pattern, which evolved from medieval European cities built inside walled fortresses for protection. The grid pattern was believed to bring the most economical use of land, and had been used for centuries, even where land was unlimited.

Although only a few of the streets were ever laid out, many of Wiehle's plans were carried to completion. In 1887, he succeeded in establishing a post office named Wiehle (rhymes with Greeley), which it was to remain until officially changed to Sunset Hills in 1923. A two-story brick Town Hall with an 80-pound bell in its steeple was built at the corner of Edmond and Lakeside Avenues. Church services were held on the second floor until the Wiehle Methodist Episcopal Church on New York Avenue was completed in 1907. The church was in regular use until 1939, but the pulpit and pews have long since disappeared and the Chapel, as it is now called, houses scenery for the Reston Players.

Of the planned 800 residences, only six or seven are known to have been erected. All the homes were similar in design and construction-two stories and finished in white clapboard. The house Dr. Wiehle commissioned, as a replacement for his summer home, was an imposing brick mansion of 25 rooms. Situated on a knoll behind the gazebo, it was completed in 1902. However, Dr. Wiehle died of pneumonia in 1901 and never occupied it. Within a few years after his death the town went into a slumber for 60 years.

Transportation was probably not a major problem. The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, successor to several earlier lines, made the 20-odd mile trip from Washington to Wiehle in less than an hour. During the rainy season, when unpaved Route 606 became impassable, the train was used for the short trip to Herndon for supplies.

Furthermore, Wiehle's overall plan did call for industry, as necessary then as today if a town is to be self-sufficient. A strip of land along the old Lakeside Avenue, strategically close to the railroad tracks, was set aside for industrial use, but the limited extent of the industry may have discouraged prospective residents. The first industry in the area included a mill built for the Maryland and Virginia Serpentine and Talc Company of Baltimore. A brick kiln and sawmill were established to supple materials for the construction of the town, and an icehouse was built on the shore of one of three lakes which were hand-dug on the edge of town near the intersection of the railroad and Louis Avenue. Only the largest of the lakes remains today-the others were filled in during the widening and paving of Route 602.

The plan itself, though shortsighted by contemporary standards, probably was not responsible for the town's arrested development. Irving Wasserman, a Chief Planner for Gulf Reston said, "For its time the plan was rather advanced. However, its street design clearly shows its variance with modern street planning, which is geared to contemporary traffic needs and relates to the contours of the land."

The streets themselves were 60 feet wide, and the main thoroughfare 70 feet. The geometric arrangement of the avenues resulted in many triangular lots which would have been difficult to use. Several of these oddly shaped parcels were designated as parks, pre-dating by more than half a century the "vest-pocket" parks now being introduced in New York City.

Economic conditions may have been a major factor in Wiehle's failure. The country experienced a severe panic and depression just before the turn of the century, caused in part by the silver crisis. The silver dollar fell in value to 49 cents after western mines began to produce silver in unprecedented quantities in the late 1890's. Land values also fluctuated wildly, with some areas in the United States doubling in value between 1881 and 1887, and by 1892, the date of Wiehle's completed plat, boom towns were turning to ghost towns as the inevitable deflation set in. Another factor in the plummeting land prices was the mechanization of farm production, which increased the yield per acre so that for the first time in history, production exceeded demand.

The most likely reason for the town's early demise was the untimely death of its founder at the age of 50. His sons did not share his enthusiasm for the project, so the plan gathered dust on a shelf and future expansion was abandoned. In 1908, Dr. Wiehle's heirs sold 3,500 acres for $80,000, and the acreage was primarily used for farming for the next 15 years.
After changing hands several times, what was left of Wiehle was purchased by the A. Smith Bowman family in 1923, and a distillery-Virginia Gentleman-was established in the town's old industrial buildings. The ice house became the office of the Internal Revenue agents assigned to the distillery, and the churchlike steeple was removed from the Town Hall so that the structure could be decently used for aging the barrels of whiskey. In 1947, the Bowman's purchased the former Dunn tract south of the railroad, bringing their total holdings to well over 7,000 acres. The property changed hands twice more before all but the portion occupied by the distillery and the former Wiehle mansion, now the home of A. Smith Bowman Jr., was acquired by Robert E. Simon, Jr., a man with a new dream he called Reston.


III. The Genesis Of Reston: 1961-1962

Simon Enterprises, headed by Robert E. Simon, Jr. purchased 6,750 acres (additional acreage added later, to 7400 acres) of the historical parcel of Virginia countryside in March 1961 from Lefcourt Realty Corporation. The price of the purchase was $13,150,000 or $2,000 an acre, a long way from the $5.00 an acre paid by Benjamin Thornton 100 years earlier.

Before engaging architects, economists, sociologists and planners, Robert Simon set down seven goals which were to become the blue-print for the building of Reston (a name formed from his initials):

    1. That the widest choice of opportunities be made available for the full use of leisure time. This means that the New Town should provide a wide range of recreational and cultural facilities as well as an environment for privacy.

    2. That it be possible for anyone to remain in a single neighborhood throughout his life, uprooting being neither inevitable nor always desirable. By providing the fullest range of housing styles and prices-from high rise efficiencies to six-bedroom townhouses and detached houses-housing needs can be met at a variety of income levels, and at different stages of family life. This kind of mixture permits residents to remain rooted in the community-if they so choose-as their particular housing needs change. As a by-product, this also results in the heterogeneity that spells a lively and varied community.

    3. That the importance and dignity of each individual be the focal point for all planning, and take precedence over large scale concepts.

    4. That people may be able to live and work in the same community.

    5. That commercial, cultural and recreational facilities be made available to the residents from the outset of the development-not years later.

    6. That beauty-structural and natural-is a necessity of the good life and should be fostered.

    7. That Reston be a financial success.

Simon wanted his country-city to be more than a place to live; he wanted Reston to be a way to live. He wanted to offer not only a new kind of housing scheme and new relation of home to recreation, but another dimension-thoughtful planning for community life. Frustrated by the disappointments of family life in suburbia, incensed by the enormous waste of time commuting from home to city, disillusioned by the asphalt wilderness of the regional shopping center, Bob Simon looked to Reston as a creative solution to America's increasing urban crisis. Reston was soon to become the first major effort in the United States to build a full-scale self-contained city on the perimeter of a larger metropolitan area.

Simon was familiar with the ten satellite cities, of 30,000 residents each, which Leonardo daVinci had proposed for Milan in 1484 as a solution to the overcrowding which brought on the Black Plague that same year. Bob Simon was no stranger to the works of Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928) whose book Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1902) inspired England's first city-in-the-country, Letchworth. Simon's father was involved in financing America's first garden city in 1928, Radburn, New Jersey.

Assisting the planners of Radburn, Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, was a young architect, Julian Whittlesey. It was to the firm of Whittlesey and Conklin that Simon eventually turned for the creation of the Reston Master Plan. The firm of Whittlesey and Conklin (now Conklin and Rossant) deserves the major credit for the distinguished plan which today guides the development of Reston.

Convinced that his master plan should be shaped by innovative land use, Simon envisioned Reston as a well-balanced community, not merely another subdivision. He wanted Reston to be a unique, private real estate venture which would integrate residences, industry, commerce, schools, churches, cultural institutions, social and recreational facilities in an essentially independent community structure which would be economically viable and socially desirable.

Faced with conventional zoning ordinances in Fairfax County which segregated residential, industrial and commercial use, Simon had to formulate his own code in order to make his dream become reality.
"Our present zoning ordinances are largely responsible for the diffusion of our communities into separate, unrelated hunks without focus, identity, or community life", Simon said. "They have helped produce chaos on our highways, monotony in our subdivisions, and ugliness in our shopping centers. They are to blame for the whole neon-lighted wasteland that exists because of the subdivision's separation from commercial and recreational facilities."

Simon dreamed of a cohesive community made possible by mixed density zoning. "Mixed land use reduces the distance between home and offices, stores, community facilities, and recreation. It provides day and night use of the same areas and facilities, which is more efficient economically, more interesting aesthetically, and safer. Mixed land use gives the developer greater flexibility. He can construct garden apartments, high-rise buildings, and townhouses in a way appropriate to the topography of the land. And mixed land use saves space, which makes additional facilities possible."
Assisted by economic, social, legal and political consultants, and armed with a creative master plan based on sinews of high density linking seven village centers and a town center, Bob Simon presented his bold innovation to Fairfax County.

In July 1962, the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County adopted into law Residential Planned Community (RPC) zoning. Based on population density distribution, the RPC code allows the land to be divided into density areas: high (60 people per acre), medium (14 per acre), and low (3.8 per acre), and permits: apartments above stores, high-rise with townhouses, and the spread of commercial, recreation and community facilities throughout. Under this zoning code, the developer must submit a master plan to the county and maintain an overall maximum density of thirteen people per gross residential acre.

"We started with a program rather than a plan," Simon said. "We asked what people could be offered when they moved here, rather than what we were going to do with the land. It was like Christmas. Whatever we could dream up, we would write down. And, in the end, we actually used many of the ideas we wrote down."

The physical plan that emerged came from the concept that people came first. The usual concentric, bull's eye plan, with densest areas in the center and a green belt around the outside was avoided. Successes and mistakes of new town building in Europe and Britain were carefully studied. Open space in Reston, it was decided, would be used for recreation rather than protection, as in other new towns.

Simon wanted to make these open space areas as accessible as possible to all residents. This desire sparked the Whittlesey and Conklin plan for high-density sinews that wind through the property from north to south. This plan brought all residents within walking distance of these recreation areas.
The Reston master plan called for seven village centers which would provide convenience shops and community facilities for 10 to 12,000 and serve as the focal point of each neighborhood. 42% of the gross acreage was left to the public factor, which included open space, roads, parks, golf courses, walkways, schools and churches. A town center was established which, when built, would service not only Reston's expected 75,000+ population, but an additional 50,000 people as well. 1,000 acres, in the heart of the property, were set aside for an industrial center.

By the spring of 1963, working drawings were in order and detailed plans had been approved by the County for construction of Lake Anne Village Center, Reston's pilot project. A substantial loan from the Gulf Oil Corporation early in 1963 enabled Simon to put into operation the elaborate machine which he had started two years before.


IV. Reston, Virginia, Inc.: 1963-1967

The first project was the building of 30 acre Lake Anne. Carved out of a natural water-shed area, 94,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to create a 45 foot high by 500 foot earth dam. Completed in August 1963, at a cost of close to a quarter of a million dollars, the Lake Anne dam impounded the waters of Colvin Run and the lake began to fill. By the time the dam was completed, work had already begun on Reston's first 18-hole gold course. Designed by golf course architect Edmund B. Ault, the Reston North Gold Course was over 7,000 championship yards. An entire underground irrigation system was put in. Drawing water from newly-formed Lake Anne.

Throughout the spring of 1963, construction began on the shops, apartments and townhouses of Lake Anne Village Center, designed by master planners Conklin and Rossant. Simultaneous construction began on the first two townhouse clusters: Waterview Cluster, 90 townhouses designed by Washington architect Cloethiel W. Smith, and Hickory Cluster, 90 townhouses designed by Charles M. Goodman. This initial project included 227 townhouses, 113 rental apartments, including 15-story Heron House, and approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial space.
During this same period of time, three different projects were set in motion. In May of 1963, Reston's first residential sales office, known simply as the "Roundhouse", started pushing up its walls on the hillside overlooking Route 606. It was located on the road which was at that time the sole entrance to the growing village center from the highway.

A mile away, siting and grading started on the Group Facilities Complex in the heart of the 1,300 acres set aside for government and industry. Located along the Washington & Old Dominion right-of way, across the valley from the Bowman Distillery, the Group Facilities Complex was immediately adjacent to the newly graded fairways of the first golf course. During the following spring, construction began on the first 33,000 square foot shell building of what was soon to emerge as Isaac Newton Square.
Meanwhile, down at the southern tip of Reston's eleven square mile boundary, siting and initial road grading began off Route 602 (now Reston Avenue)2 in Hunters Woods Village; Simon was persuaded by the County planners to concentrate his low density areas around the periphery of the 7,400 acres. He felt it important to begin selling lots for detached, single family homes in Hunters Woods village in case the cluster homes in Hunters Woods Village in case the cluster concept of Lake Anne Village was not acceptable to the metropolitan Washington market.

As work commenced in Hunters Woods Village, Simon and his legal counselors worked on the Deeds of Dedication and By-Laws for Reston's First and Second Homeowners Associations: the First to serve the area north of the Dulles Access Road, the Second to serve the area south.
The principal role of the associations was to care for the land and facilities designated for community use and common ownership: i.e. open spaces, swimming pools, tennis courts, Lake Anne. A secondary role of the associations was to enforce the covenants set forth in the Deed of Dedication which is part of the title to each parcel of Reston land. The covenants dealt with the external appearance of property and empowered an Architectural Review Board to approve plans for all non-developer construction.

The Reston North Golf Course opened for play in May 1964, and during its first season averaged 1,000 rounds per week. Shortly thereafter, construction began on the 40-stall Reston South Riding center in Hunters Woods Village. At the same time, a number of single-family homes began to emerge out of the woods opposite the riding center.
Two days before Thanksgiving, 1964, the Reston Industrial Division welcomed its first tenant-The Air Survey Corporation, an aerial photographic and photogrammetric engineering firm with 30 employees-into the Group Facilities Complex.

Two weeks later, on December 9th, the Residential Sales Division greeted Reston's first citizens, a couple who purchased a Waterview Cluster townhouse on the shores of Lake Anne. Industry had preceded the people.
Five days later, on December 14th, Reston's second industrial tenant, HRB-Singer, Inc. a division of the singer company, moved into their laboratory facility on a five-acre wooded site in the Industrial Center.

By February 1965, the entire commercial space available in the Lake Anne village Center had been leased. The leases included a pharmacy, Fairfax County branch library, a decorator studio, hairstylist, hardware store and garden shop, dry cleaners, barber shop, restaurant, art supply store, card and gift shop, supermarket, and children's store. In addition, space in the first office building was quickly rented out to a life insurance company, a bank, a lawyer and two dentists.

By the time Lake Anne Village Center was officially opened on December 4th, 1965, two community swimming pools, four tennis courts, a volleyball court, numerous playgrounds, a pedestrian underpass and several miles of pedestrian walkways, the first 18-hole golf course, a riding center, a fifteen story high-rise, 227 townhouses, 113 apartments and approximately 100 single family detached homes, not to mention the village center itself, had all been completed. In addition, seven industries had signed up for occupancy in the Industrial Center and four were actually in operation, employing over 250 people. Residential population was approximately 500.

Throughout 1964 and 1965, the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company had been watching the development of Reston with keen interest. At the end of 1965, it was announced that Hancock would invest a considerable sum of money in permanent financing for the orderly long-term development of Reston.

Reston was officially dedicated on May 21, 1966. Guest speakers at the Dedication day Program included Stewart L. Udall, Secretary, Department of the Interior, and Robert C. Weaver, Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Dedication Address was given by Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. At this landmark program, Robert E. Simon, Jr., was awarded HUD's first Urban Pioneer Award. In a telegram from the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson sent greetings: "In this age of ever-mounting urban growth... the birth of a new town such as Reston is a living influence which invigorates our concepts of urban planning... I extend greeting to all of you as you dedicate the City of Reston."

During the Dedication ceremonies, Secretary Udall revealed the Federal government's decision to build the new $50,000,000 headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey on an 85 acre site in Reston's Industrial Center. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill would be the architects for the 1,000,000 square feet of space.

By the end of 1966, four more major industries had signed on to join the Reston community. Population had tripled in a year's time, townhouse sales were moving well for the first time. The apartments were 100% occupied, and close to 200 single family homes were either occupied, built or under construction.

But development and sales could not move fast enough to cover the tremendous burden of developmental costs. By the fall, the residential population was nearing an unimpressive 2,500, and only about 370 townhouses, 400 apartments and 325 home sites had been sold or rented, far short of projections. Bob Simon had exhausted his financial resources. It was at this point that Gulf Oil Corporation stepped in.

Writing in the Washington Post in November 1967, Robert Durham, President, American Institute of Architects, pinpointed exactly the problems facing those who wish to build a community from the ground up, including all the social institutions: "It would be a mistake to believe that Reston' current problems raise questions about the viability of the New Town movement, or about Reston's design. The project difficulties stem from neither of these sources. They reflect the fact that in the U.S. we have not yet faced up to the special kind of financing needed by New Towns. Contrary to other kinds of construction projects, a New Town by its nature must provide for a long lead-time between investments and returns--a time when costly community facilities and amenities, plus payments, taxes and land carrying cost in general will deplete early capital and there will be insufficient income to replace it."

Gulf Oil Corporation had been studying Reston's profit potential from the very earliest days. It was their initial investment in the spring of 1963 that enabled Bob Simon to go from blueprint to bulldozer. Gulf saw promise in the professionally planned community as an investment as well as a means of demonstrating the company's interest in the orderly development of New Towns in the U.S. with private funds and experienced management.
As an international company operating around the world, Gulf had been observing over the past several decades the sociological impact on the New Towns being built in Sweden, Finland, Scotland and England. Gulf Oil was no newcomer to the world of town planning: a wealth of experience in designing and building complete towns all over the world provided financial and managerial insight.

Based on exhaustive computer studies regarding Reston's profit potential, land use restrictions, financial feasibility studies, and managerial availability, Gulf decided to accelerate and expand the development of Reston consistent with the long-term aspects of the project.
2 and now Reston Parkway.


V. Gulf Reston, Inc.: 1967-1969

Gulf formed a subsidiary, Gulf Reston, Inc., to take over the planning, construction, financing and sales of the new community within the framework of the original master plan. On September 28, 1967, Gulf took over full financial and operational responsibility. One of Gulf Reston's first goals was to accelerate development. More people were needed to fill jobs; more industry was needed to attract people. The entire process-planning, county approval, construction and marketing-had to be stepped up. It was decided that a constant minimum of 1,000 residential units a year had to be reached in order to make Reston turn the financial corner.

1968 was a year of acceleration. Some 800 units of all types were completed. Reston's population soared over the 5,000 mark. Ten major new industries came into the Industrial Center, and 108,000 square feet of lease space was constructed in Isaac Newton Square, including the construction of the 30,000 square foot Newton Building in the heart of the complex. The Reston industrial population jumped to 1,400. Reston's second church, the Washington Plaza Baptist Church, was completed in the Lake Anne Village Center.

Long-awaited monies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development finally became a reality, and for the first time in Reston, construction began on moderate-income housing.
The Reston Community Association (RCA), a volunteer membership group directed toward the creation and establishment of community programs, was formed. In March 1968, active members of this organization inaugurated Reston's first Express Commuter Bus system. This embryonic mass transportation system was started on a shoestring with little subsidization from either developer or bus company.
This commuter bus system has since gained national recognition and set a national precedent for citizen action in the improvement of mass urban transportation.

In 1969, 1,200 residential units were completed and Reston's 7,500 population was evenly distributed among apartments, town and patio houses, and single family homes.
By the end of 1969, 30 industries were located in the Industrial Center with a working population of 2,000; A graduate extension of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPl), a branch bank and a 300-seat cafeteria opened in the Newton Building, Isaac Newton Square; And an advanced group from the U. S. Geological Survey started operations in a Reston-based facility.
Five swimming pools and eight tennis courts were completed as of December 1969. Reston's paved walkway system, with seven pedestrian underpasses, totaled over ten miles in length. And the Hunters Woods Elementary School, Reston's second elementary school, opened at the start of the 1969 school season.

Construction on the second 18-hole golf course neared completion. Plans were announced for the 21 acre Reston Inn and Conference Center Complex, located adjacent to the second 18-hole golf course. The plans for this Complex included an Inn with approximately 300 guest rooms, 25,000 square feet of seminar-meeting rooms, a 205,000 square foot high-rise office building, a 700-seat twin cinema, and 15,000 square feet of retail commercial space. Working drawings were also started on Reston's second village center in Hunters Woods Village.

Twenty-seven months after the subsidiary was formed, Gulf Reston, Inc. had pumped new blood into an anemic development program, sharply reversing a critical cash position. In that short span of time, 2,000 residential units had been completed, consistent with early management goals, and population figures had jumped from 2,500 to 7,500.
Ten new major firms opened their doors in the Industrial Center in 1969 alone, and the industrial population pushed to the 2,000 mark.
As a strong signal of confidence in this improved climate; The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in October 1969, signed a long-term mortgage agreement; for existing income-producing properties with Gulf Reston, Inc. in the amount of $10,500,000. Not only did this resource come at a time of extremely tight money, but the commitment evidenced the ability of Gulf Reston, Inc. to perform as a recognized and independent real estate developer.

Finally, the apparent success of Gulf's intercession must be measured by the fact that, contrary to the early fears of some Reston citizens, Gulf's management supported the innovative master plan as a continuing guide to each new developmental phase.

VI. A Year of Impressive Gains: 1970

1970 will long be remembered as the year of economic depression. With the White House sitting on one of the worst inflationary spirals in history, a tight lid was clamped on mortgage and lending market. Everyone felt the squeeze of nation-wide spending cutbacks. But hardest hit by tight money was the housing industry. With an estimated 26 million new homes needed in the 70's alone, housing starts fell far behind the 1.7 million units hoped for in 1970.
Contrary to this trend, 1970 registered some impressive gains for Gulf Reston, Inc., and the development of Reston, Virginia.


Housing was a significant part of the success story. Aided by lending money and standby commitments from the parent Gulf Oil Company, Gulf Reston kept sales moving at a good pace during the most severe postwar credit crisis.

In twelve months, Reston's population jumped from 7,500 to 11,250-a 50 per cent increase over December, 1969- Five hundred and fifty-five apartments, 328 townhouses and patio homes, and 272 detached homes were completed in 1970 for a grand total of 1,155 living units.
November residential sales set an all-time Reston record for one month-$2,800,000 which was double the November, 1969, volume and triple the same month in 1968.

In November another precedent was set: Northgate Square, Reston's first cluster of town- houses with FHA/VA financing went on the market. Two to five-bedroom townhouses ranged from a low of $26,350 up to $37,250. For the first time in Reston's history, a family could buy a home with no money down.

As a result of this market expansion, a large number of families living in Reston rental units purchased their first home. Sales started briskly from floor plans and models in a trailer at the building site. By the end of 1970, even before the grand opening of Northgate in January, 1971, almost half of the 80 townhouses had been sold.

Another portion of the housing success story occurred in the area of low and moderate-income housing. One hundred and ninety-eight low and moderate-income units, in a garden apartment complex called Cedar Ridge, were completed in May, 1970. Built with financing made available under the 221(d) (3) Section of the 1968 Federal Housing Act, Cedar Ridge demonstrated Gulf Reston's willingness to forego profits on the land in order to establish a sound housing mix.

Writing about Reston's Cedar Ridge in his architectural column in the April 6 WASHINGTON POST, critic Wolf Von Eckardt stated: "The Federal government has an official policy of promoting integrated new communities, and a lofty goal of building more low-cost housing- Yet, it seems that Gulf, which is in business to make money, shows a greater sense of urgency than the government about having blue-collar workers, barbers, mailmen and even some people on welfare live in the same town with well-paid researchers, managers and GS-15 civil servants."

Rents in Cedar Ridge ran from $120 for a two-bedroom apartment (for families earning between $6,000 and $9,400) to $165 for a four-bedroom unit (available to families with incomes ranging from $7,900 to $12,200. Ten of the 198 units, interspersed throughout the complex, were designated for public housing families and leased to the Fairfax County Housing Authority. Qualified families could rent one of the $165 four-bedroom apartments for $90, with the Fairfax County Public Housing Authority making up the difference.

With only word-of-mouth promotion, Cedar Ridge opened its first units to the public in the fall of 1969. By year end all 198 units had been rented; and two months later there was a waiting list of 150 families.
In February, 1970, ground was broken near the entrance of Lake Anne Village for the construction of Fellowship House, Reston's first housing project for senior citizens-the first housing project of its kind in an American new town.

Sponsored and managed by Fellowship Square Foundation; Inc., a non-profit corporation, Fellowship House was built with monies obtained under Title 202 of the National Housing Act of 1968. The 138-unit; nine-story high-rise offered efficiency, studio, one and two-bedroom apartments for singles or couples of any race, color or creed over 55 years of age with incomes not exceeding $5,400. Rents ranged from $99-50 to $126-50.
Like Cedar Ridge; Fellowship House contributed to Reston's growing population mix. By the end of 1970, 80 per cent of the units were rented.



Integral with the bright Reston housing scene in 1970 was an unprecedented year of industrial and commercial sales. By December, 1970, more than 100 businesses and industries, associations and educational institutions, government agencies and professional services as well as shops and stores were located in Reston.
One of the major news stories to come out of the year 1970 was the announcement that the Nation's largest educational association, the National Education Association, and ten national affiliates had purchased 56 acres of the campus-like Reston Center for Associations and Educational Institutions adjoining the site of Reston's Inn and Conference Center complex.
James D. Gates, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and coordinator of the NEA move to Reston, stated the following reasons for coming to Reston: "The site of the Educational Park, located next to the Dulles Expressway, five miles from Dulles International Airport, adjacent to the Inn and Conference Center and public golf course, was one of our primary reasons for selecting Reston.
"Reston has consistently appeared as the number one choice, not only of independent study groups sponsored by the associations but also of two consulting firms employed by the associations to review possible sites for relocation because of the inadequacy of present facilities in Washington, D.C."

"We were attracted to Reston because of the open space, community facilities and attention given the environment. It affords us flexibility, room for development and planning for the future." "Another very important factor is the availability of housing for different income groups. We would like to be able to help provide jobs for people, traditionally bound to the inner city, in a rural environment-in an area of planned development — such as Reston," Gates concluded.

In October, 1970, the Board of Directors of the American Newspaper Publishers Association made public their decision to move the ANPA headquarters from 750 Third Avenue, New York City, to ten acres in Reston's Center for Associations and Educational Institutions. This decision was the culmination of more than two years of extensive study and location review by the ANPA Board.

In making the announcement, Stanford Smith, ANPA General Manager, said, "Reston was selected from three different locations under consideration because of its ideal proximity both to the U.S. Government departments in Washington and because of Dulles Airport. The ten-minute drive from Dulles to our headquarters location will provide greater ease of membership contact with ANPA headquarters than our present location in midtown Manhattan. FAA studies indicate that Dulles will possibly become the largest airport on the East Coast in the next 15 years."

Architectural Awards
In January, 1970, at an awards ceremony on Washington Plaza, Centreville District Supervisor Martha V. Pennino presented to Gulf Reston President William H. Magness a bronze plaque-the highest recognition in the County's First Annual Beautification Awards Program. Selected from over 30 applications and cited for its "fortuitous blending of architecture, site planning and landscaping as a focal center for the community of Reston," the Lake Anne Village Center was awarded one of three bronze plaques by the Fairfax County Government.

Six months later at an awards ceremony luncheon in Fairfax Dr. William S. Hoofnagle, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, presented another bronze plaque to Mr. Magness in highest recognition of the County's First Industrial Beautification Awards Program.

A special category-Mixed Commercial and Industrial Award-was created by the panel of judges to recognize the Newton Building in Isaac Newton Square and the Professional Building located at 11401 North Shore Drive at the entrance to Lake Anne Village. The Reston plaque was one of four awarded to industrial facilities within the County judged to have been "designed, constructed, landscaped, and maintained so as to enhance their immediate environment and the County as a whole."

Land And Facilities Deeded To Reston Homeowners

In the early days of 1970, Gulf Reston deeded over to the Home Owners Association a total of $600,000 worth of debt-free recreational facilities, walkways, bridges, parks, lakes and open space. This included seven swimming pools, 18 tennis courts, a riding stable and 280 acres of lakes and open space. In August; a $90,000 pedestrian overpass at the intersection of North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue was dedicated to the Home Owners Association.


Two Golf Courses
On June 1, 1970, the Reston North Golf Course was transformed into a private Reston Golf and Country Club. A championship 18-hole, par 71 course, the North Course first opened to the public in the summer of 1964.
An extensive addition to the existing clubhouse provided for the new Country Club a formal dining room, dance floor, cocktail lounge and grill, exercise suites, sauna baths, an Olympic size six-lane indoor pool, indoor handball and squash courts, and a golf pro shop. In addition, two all-weather outdoor tennis courts were installed.
On the same day a new 18-hole, par 72, 6,700 yard South Golf Course was officially opened to the public on Sunset Hills Road across from the site of the Reston Inn and Conference Center complex.

Self-Government In Reston
In April, 1970, after a Reston citizen-wide vote, the First and Second Home Owners Associations, organized when Reston was first founded in 1963, became officially consolidated into one organization, The Reston Home Owners Association.
One month later citizens went to the polls to elect five representatives to Reston's first two Village Councils. The Lake Anne and Hunters Woods Village Councils then elected their own chairmen who automatically sat on Reston's first Town Council. Three citizen Board members from the Reston Home Owners Association made up the balance of the Town Council.

Graduate Studies In Reston
In July, 1970, the Gulf Reston Executive Offices were moved into new and expanded quarters at 11440 Isaac Newton Square, North. The former office space, a converted farmhouse on Spring Street and the site of the Executive Offices since Reston's origin in 1961, was renovated and leased to the Graduate Studies Center of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI).

Located in temporary quarters in the Newton Building since 1968, VPI opened the Fall Semester, 1970, with 250 students in seven graduate degree programs.

In August a graduate study center aimed at exploring and solving the problems of new communities was officially designated by Virginia Governor Linwood Holton to be located in Reston.

Governor Holton, who had in April made an official inspection tour of Reston, made this announcement at a luncheon meeting in the Reston Golf and Country Club. Also speaking at the luncheon were Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney and VPI President Marshall T. Hahn.

The New Communities Study Center, the first of its kind in the United States, was to be funded by state and Federal grants and administered by VPI.

1970, a cruel year for the nation's economy and the housing industry as a whole, was a year of impressive gains for Gulf Reston, Inc. Four years after Reston was officially dedicated population had risen 600 per cent, housing starts hit an all-time high, a record sales month was recorded. For the first time one could buy a townhouse for no money down, tax revenues to Fairfax County made impressive gains with support from Reston-based industry, and the completion of Cedar Ridge marked an important milepost in Gulf Reston's determination to provide housing for all income groups. Families of every income level could now live in Reston-the realization of a major planning goal.
Shortly before Christmas, a 259-page study prepared for the U.S. Department of Transportation by The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research was made public. As a solid endorsement of Reston's success, the report concluded that out of ten planned communities interviewed, "General satisfaction among adults with their community was highest in Reston, where 61% said their satisfaction level was excellent."


An Editorial, Restonian (1968)
A New Magazine of New Ways to Live.

Before America was a nation its people were pushing outward. From the Massachusetts Bay Colony some of the pilgrims went south to what was to become Rhode Island. The farmers of Virginia trekked across the Appalachians to the Northwest Territory. Later, as the states gathered themselves together as a nation, the people moved further west – into the Great Plains and on to the Pacific Coast. Future generations, driven by the depression years or lured by speculative ventures, kept up the movement outward. Even as America pressed up against the ocean, the migrations continued.
This time the movement was interior – from the cities to the neighboring countryside. No Indians were killed or treaties broken to settle the suburbs, but all the same, our demographers and historians have not dealt kindly with this migration. In the story of urban America, it can be found under the heading "Urban Sprawl."
There are Americans today who are trying to write a new, hopeful chapter to this story. They are the pioneers of the New Towns. Like pioneers before them, they too are pushing outward. But their towns are not just new places to live. The New Towns, looking toward the future but remembering the past, offer an alternative to the sprawl of the suburbs and blight of the cities. Future cities themselves of 80,000 to 100,000, they are planned into the next generation – not to mold people into conformity but to give them options that land-grabbing, helter-skelter development doesn't.
The New Towns are building their own industry to give themselves eventual economic self-sufficiency. They provocatively mix residential and commercial areas so that shoppers have the convenience of the city neighborhood. They cluster homes together so that everyone can see the countryside from his kitchen window.
Already there are three score New Towns abuilding or on the way. Will they succeed or simply prove to be contemporary company towns or middle-class ghettos? And what of the people who live in the New Towns? Who is this new generation of pioneers? These are some of the questions that Restonian magazine will answer.
Because Restonian is a new magazine of new ways to live, it will not confine itself to New Towns. Wherever people are turning to new ways of living – New Town, suburb or city, in America or abroad – Restonian will turn.


Leonardo da Vinci and the New Town, Restonian (1968)
Thomas R. Huth

Being a ruler by birthright and a hedonist by nature, Lodovice Sforza had the means and the desire to divorce himself from the disagreeable elements of his 15th-century Milan. Venturing out from his splendid palace, he could not avoid the huddled masses, the aggressive prostitutes.
The noisy street-sellers and, most loathsome of all, the garbage that rained on the heads of unsuspecting passers-by and collected with noxious odor in great decomposing heaps along the streets. Lodovice issued regulations and imposed penalties, but the urban rot remained. It was left to Leonardo da Vinci to offer the solution: New Towns.
Leonardo had come to Milan in 1483 as a member of Lodivice's court. He had sold himself as a genius in the design of military hardware, but by the time he arrived Lodovice had turned to diplomacy as the better part of survival. So Leonardo busied himself with sketches and experiments, and proposed one noble project after another. But Lodovice, something of a Philistine, saw little sense in his young artist's ideas. What's more, Leonardo went months on end without getting his salary.
Then, in 1484 and for the next two years, Milan was visited by the Black Death. Lodovice quarantined the sick and, when that didn't work, fled the city. (His only illness was hypochondria—he wouldn't even go near state documents until they were perfumed.) It was in this situation of disease on top of squalor that Leonardo da Vinci imagined the New Towns.
"Give me the authority whereby, without expense to you," he wrote tactfully to Lodovice, and went on to propose the building of ten satellite cities of 5000 houses and 30,000 residents each. Thus, he wrote in phrases that ring familiar five hundred years later, "you will disperse... people who, herding together like goats one upon the back of another, filling every part with their stench, sow the seeds of pestilence and death."
Leonardo's plans were so ambitious, in fact, that his ten towns of 30,000 people would relocate the entire 300,000 residents of Milan. But, if he was proposing a revolution in city planning, he certainly had in mind no social revolution. This bastard son of a peasant woman was injured in the pleasures of good living and suffered uncommonly form contact with the mob.
His new cities were to have two levels—the upper for the "gentlefolk," as he called his crowd, and the lower for the "common people." As in today's New Towns, Leonardo provided for a separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic—not for safety but so the poor people's wagons and carts would not clank and clatter through the beatific upper city.
And, so noblemen would not have to walk around enclosed in clouds of perfume, Leonardo devised an elaborate sewer system. The towns were to be built along rivers; all toilets and stables were to empty into conduits, which would carry the garbage into canals and then to the river, where the cycle would begin again with fresh water. All roads would have gutters down the middle, so street sweepings, too, would be whisked away. Smoke was also to be carried away from sight, and Leonardo presumably provided for underground cables in case someone discovered electricity. The beauty of the upper city was insured by his design, in which elevated reservoirs would water the gardens and the average height of houses would equal the width of the streets.
For the workingmen below, Leonardo designed openings in the upper streets to admit shafts of light. And he drew spiral staircases for the lower city, "because in the corners of square ones nuisances are apt to be committed" – Leonardo had discovered that men unfailingly urinated on the landings.
Leonardo may have realized that he was ahead of his time, because he pointed out to Lodovice the practical benefits: the municipalities would share in the costs of the towns, and the Duke would share in the profit. With a flourish, he told his patron that "the city will be of a beauty equal to its name, and useful to you for its revenues and the perpetual fame of its growth."
But this proposal, like Leonardo's earlier ideas, fell on unsympathetic ears. Instead, Lodovice called on physicians to fight the plague. He also consulted astrologers (they told him not to eat oysters). The plague eventually faded away, leaving 50,000 dead, and Leonardo set his sights lower in his search for freedom from stench and filth. Among his first projects was a redesigned toilet seat, and soon after that he drew plans for a sensible bawdyhouse.




Related Resources

Genesis of Reston

Can a New Town Be Democratic?

GMU Planned Community Archives

GMU-PCA Search