From the charming ramblers in Hollin Hall to the stately mansions in Belle Rive, there is some place that everybody can find to call home in Mount Vernon. There are traditional colonials and split levels in Waynewood and classic waterfront homes along the Potomac. And on a less-traditional note, Mount Vernon can also claim Hollin Hills, the first community of contemporary homes built in the Washington, D.C. area, as one of their own. These one-of-a-kind homes were developed by Robert Davenport and the Rodman brothers, using the designs of architect Charles Goodman. Up and down Richmond Highway, renters and owners alike can find everything from lower-cost apartments to brand new luxury homes.
Even more important than the building where one resides is the neighborhood that building is a part of. Here too, neighborhoods in Mount Vernon are as varied as the types of housing that comprise the neighborhood, each of which has its own personality. Some are small, like Woodlawn with 101 lots, or large, like Waynewood, which has about 750 homes. Many have very active and organized civic associations, while others employ a looser setup. Many neighborhoods are mixed, consisting of families, singles and retired folk; other neighborhoods that are closer to the action tend to attract more singles.
There are almost a hundred different neighborhoods, which are supported by citizens' associations, civic associations, community associations, property owners' associations, homeowners' associations and condominium unit owners' associations. Sixty-five of these groups are members of The Mount Vernon Council of Citizens' Associations, Inc. Commonly referred to as MVCCA, this is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of citizens' associations in the Mount Vernon Magisterial District. Members include: Belle Haven, Belle Haven Terrace, Belle View Condominium, Berkshire Homeowners, Briary Farms Townhomes, Collingwood Springs, Collingwood-on-the-Potomac, Fairfax Residents, First River Farms HOA & Genus Realty Mgmt, Inc., Forest View, Hollin Glen, Hollin Hills, Hollindale, Hunting Creek Club, Huntington, Huntington Station HOA, Hybla Valley Farms, Keys and Russell, Marlan Forest, Mason Hill, Milway Meadows, Montebellow CUOA, Mount Vee, Mount Vernon Civic, Mount Vernon Farms, Mount Vernon Manor, Mount Vernon Square, Mount Vernon Terrace, Mount Zephyr, New Alexandria, New Gum Springs, Newington, Newington Forest, Olde Belhaven Town Association, Olde Belhaven Towne Owners, Olde Mill Condominiums, Overlook Pointe HOA, Potomac Valley – Riverbend, River Towers Condo, Riverside Estates, Riverside Gardens, Riverwood HOA, Sherwood Estates, Southwood, Spring Bank, Stratford Landing, Stratford on the Potomac, Stratford on the Potomac - Section IV, Sulgrave Manor, Surrey-at-the-Potomac, Tauxemont, Townhouses of Saratoga, Village of Mount Air, Villages at Gum Springs, Villamay, Waynewood, Wellington, Wellington Heights, Wessynton Homes, Westgrove, Williamsburg Manor, Williamsburg Manor (North), Wm. H. Randall Civic Association and Woodlawn Manor. Three neighborhoods will be highlighted in this article—Pinewood Lawns, Woodlawn Manor and Engleside.
PINEWOOD LAWNS sits across Pole Road from Woodlawn Little League’s baseball fields and adjacent to Fort Belvoir. This development of 288 units consists of both townhomes and condominiums. Site Manager Paul Henry McGuire said that the median price of the townhomes is in the $200,000 range, while the condominiums sell for around $150,000. The site was built in 1972. Edith Beaty was one of the first homeowners; she lives in one of the upper units with her dog, Schnapsi.
“I like it here; I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” Beaty said. “They do everything for you. All your needs are taken care of on the outside; otherwise you go to the office and they will help.”
McGuire is the first line of command to help residents like Beaty. While he doesn’t live in Pinewood Lawns, he does enjoy working there, and said, “It’s a great community. People here make me want to stay.”
While McGuire has serious responsibilities like enforcing housing codes and checking parking stickers, he also enjoys doing things like planting a garden with the neighborhood children. So successful is the garden that several of the older residents come by periodically to ask McGuire to cut flowers for them to use as arrangements in their homes.
Marianne Baltimore serves as president of the Board of Directors, assisted by Lorenzo Brown, vice-president; Roxanna Cruz, secretary; and David Wielkiewicz; treasurer. There are also several directors. Wielkiewicz, who’s lived in Pinewood Lawns since 1972, said that it’s really convenient to everything—shopping centers, Route One, and bus routes. He pointed out that they are close to four different bus stops, a fact that Beaty likes very much. When it’s cold and snowy, she can leave her car in the covered garage space (every owner has one) and take the bus.
WOODLAWN MANOR is an unexpected jewel of a neighborhood. Nestled between the Mount Vernon Country Club and Grist Mill Park, this small neighborhood does not have any main streets to intersect it.
“There’s no cross traffic,” said Andrew Felice, association president. “It’s a very relaxing neighborhood. Kids can bike and hang out in the street. ”
While the original section was built in 1947, a newer section was added later on. The original homes were custom built, making for a variety of home styles. The smallest lot is a half-acre; some are two-thirds and others are one acre.
“I like the fact that all the houses are different,” said Caroline Dennison, Felice’s wife. “A lot of people are expanding for space and the changes are interesting."
Felice said that the neighborhood is very active and while they only have one meeting a year, they have several neighborhood events, including an Easter Egg Hunt, Fourth of July celebration, Halloween block party and Christmas caroling.
The Fourth of July activity, which was new this year, was held at the home of one of the more active community members, Dusty Scott. She and her husband, Scotty Scott, hosted this year’s Fourth of July celebration. Children sang patriotic songs; somebody read the Declaration of Independence and the children played games.
“It was a little slice of America,” said Dusty Scott. “It was old-fashioned, the kind of Fourth of July everybody wants to have.”
Scott and her husband purchased their home in 1967, but traveled with the military from 1972-86. They returned to the Woodlawn Manor neighborhood because they couldn’t think of anyplace else they wanted to be. Scott continues to maintain a beautiful garden, sharing plants with many of the neighbors. She enjoys the neighborhood and said that “everybody pitches in.” In addition to the annual events, the neighborhood also has a summer party to welcome all the newcomers.
Scott said that Felice is a great president, as was Clyde Phelps, who was the past president and did much to improve the neighborhood.
“We stumbled on [the neighborhood] and we love it,” said Felice. “The only problem is the herons that eat the goldfish in our ponds.”
ENGLESIDE is another one of those neighborhoods tucked away. And they too, have a variety of home models. Many of them have large lots, including Maxine Case’s, whose large colonial sits on several acres of open land. Those acres will soon be consumed with the development of new homes.
Across the street, Janice Harris also has a large lot. It is on the side yard that neighbors gather for the National Night Out celebration. This annual celebration is one of the largest in Mount Vernon. Harris, who has coordinated the event for the Engleside community the past 10 years, said, “It’s gotten to be a big thing. Everyone looks forward to it. They all bring their favorite dish.”
Tables overflowing with sandwiches, chips, dips, finger foods, cookies and brownies greet neighbors—and visiting police and fire officials. Everybody pitches in to help, like Fred Harris, who cooked up the burgers, and Pat Padberg, who worked on the hot dogs.