Reston Through Time

Reston Through Time

<bt>Nancy Larson, editor in chief at New Town Publications, permitted the re-publication of the Reston historical timeline below. Each year Reston residents receive an updated phone directory called “A Place Called Reston” produced by New Town Publications. This historical timeline created and updated by the company has long been a staple component in the directory.

<lstt>* 1649 - England's King Charles II deeds vast Northern Virginia holdings — including what now is Reston — to seven of his supporters.

* 1852 - Reginald Fairfax, descendant of original owners, sells land which includes Reston for $5 an acre.

* 1886 - What will become Reston is sold at a tax auction. Land to the south goes to William Dunn, that to the north to Dr. Carl Wiehle, divided by the W & OD Railroad, which in the late 20th century will become a hiking and biking trail.

* 1892 - Dr. Wiehle drafts plans for a Utopian new town.

* 1897 - Wiehle is incorporated. (Revoked, 1990).

* 1927 - A. Smith Bowman from Kentucky buys 4,000 acres in never-established town, renamed Sunset Hills Farm.

* 1934 - With the end of Prohibition, Bowman begins sale of Virginia Gentleman bourbon from the distillery on his property.

* 1947 - Farm expanded by 3,000 acres, becomes largest in Northern Virginia.

* 1961 - Robert E. Simon invests money and dreams to purchase all but the farm's main house and distillery to begin a new town on 6,750 acres.

* 1962 - Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passes Residential Planned Community (RPC) zoning to make Reston possible. Nationwide imitation will follow.

* 1963 - Construction begins on Lake Anne dam in March, and in Lake Anne Village Center in May.

* 1964 - First industrial tenant comes to Isaac Newton Square in November; Reston's first residents come a month later.

* 1965 - Lake Anne Village Center officially opens. Hunters Woods' first residents move in.

* 1966 - Reston holds dedication ceremony in May. Reston Players present, "Greatest Game in Town."

* 1967 - First issue of Reston Directory published. Gulf Reston buys developer interest from Simon in town of 1291 residents. Reston Community, now Citizens, Association founded to continue Simon's ideals and to foster interests of residents.

* 1968 - Reston Commuter Bus System's instant success gets national attention as demonstration that customized service can lure riders out of autos.

* 1969 - Common Ground opens as a coffee house/luncheon/meeting place at Lake Anne Center.

* 1970 - 11,500 residents note founding of Reston Interfaith and The Common Ground Foundation, opening of Cedar Ridge, Reston's first low/moderate income housing.

* 1971 - Now 16,000 strong, Restonians hail May opening of Fellowship House in Lake Anne, first housing for senior citizens.

* 1972 - Gulf Reston's paid-ahead taxes build ramps onto Dulles Access Road. The Toll Road will not be ready for another 12 years. Common Ground Foundation begins intra-Reston bus service, forerunner of RIBS, Hunters Woods Village Center opens.

* 1973 - International Center, including Sheraton Inn and Conference Center, dedicated. Some staff arrives in nearly-completed 1 million-square-foot U.S. Geological Survey head-quarters. Reston's first stoplight is at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive.

* 1974 - Tall Oaks Center dedicated.

* 1976 - Reston gets post office building and police substation. Statistics: 28,000 residents, 265 businesses, 7,500 jobs, 372 acres maintained by RHOA, later RA.

* 1977 - Openings — Terraset — the nation's first underground, solar heated/cooled school, and ACCESS-A national prototype of free-standing emergency medical care. Internal travel easier with opening of four-lane Wiehle Avenue bridge and added two lanes on Reston Avenue bridge.

* 1978 - South Lakes High School opens. 600 acres now maintained by RHOA.

* 1979 - Reston Community Center, funded by a special-tax district, opens after long citizen campaign. Mobil subsidiary buys out town of 30,000 residents and 349 businesses from Gulf-Reston.

* 1980 - Voters reject town status. Rent increases force closings on Lake Anne Plaza of two institutions: the Common Ground and Lake Anne Hall.

* 1981 - In place: more than 13,000 homes, more than 500 firms with more than 1 0,000 jobs. 750 acres of common property.

* 1982 - Reston Information Center opens north of Route 606; North Point Village begins. Reston Board of Commerce organizes.

*1983 - About 40,000 call Reston 'home;' more than 15,000 earn paychecks in more than 700 businesses; RHOA maintains more than 854 acres for recreational use.

* 1984 - Expansion means almost 22,000 jobs in more than 1,000 businesses. Openings: South Lakes Shopping Center, the Dulles Toll Road and dozens of office buildings.

* 1985 - Twentieth Anniversary Celebration highlights achievements. Residents own more than half of property and become majority on RHOA board. New government sector off Reston Avenue contains Reston Regional Library, County Supervisor's office, police department.

* 1986 - Population exceeds 45,000. National attention given Dulles Corridor business expansion, much of it in Reston, where over 1,300 firms employ over 25,000. New cooperation between Reston and next-door Herndon.

* 1987 - 50,000th resident arrives. Town Center area adds Reston Hospital, Human Services Center and North County Community Shelter. CIA and NASA among newest employers. RHOA becomes RA (Reston Association).

* 1988 - About 28,000 work in the new town. Reston Land Corp. starts Town Center's urban downtown. Opened for the elderly: Cameron Glen Nursing Home and third Fellowship House at Tall Oaks Center. For younger generation: Reston Child Care Consortium plans facility. Local government options again weighed.

* 1989 - Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence recognizes Reston's precedent-setting first 25 years, and the Fairfax-Falls Church United Way and Fairfax Chamber of Commerce gave the first IMBY (In My Back Yard) Award to RCA, Reston Interfaith and Reston Land. First Town Center tenants arrive. Community Center celebrates first decade. Homeless shelter widely supported; moderate income housing under construction at government center. Bowman Distillery closes and its buildings leveled.

* 1990 - Town Center first phase hailed for innovative urban design in suburban setting. LINK, traffic management program, launched.

* 1991 - Town Center attracts tenants, crowds despite area-wide recession which shrinks Reston business base. Fall elections produce shift to Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors but sends Restonian Janet Howell to the state Senate. Reston Interfaith named first-ever suburban social services agency to win annual award from TV Channel 9; Reston street lighting demonstration project finally is underway.

* 1992 - Changes: 392 new Reston businesses despite recession; Town Center District subsidized housing completed and first private housing begun; RCA became the Reston Citizens Association and Centreville became Hunter Mill District with Robert Dix as new supervisor. Milestones: New Town Publications, 25 years and the Reston Board of Commerce, 10 years.

* 1993 - 2038 firms employ 30,025, despite loss of NASA. North Point Village Center opens. Robert Simon returns to Reston to live. Teen Center opens in county space, prompted by Supervisor Dix. Reston Board of Commerce becomes Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

* 1994 - Spectrum retail strip on Reston Parkway approved after controversy. Reston Festival moves to widened sponsorship. Hunters Woods Center loses Safeway, goes bankrupt, is taken over by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. County board approves the funding of refurbishing the Plaza at Lake Anne Village Center, the shift to a private operator of local bus service, and many provisions of citizen-rewrite of the RPC (Residential Planned Community) Ordinance.

* 1995 - Retailing takes new directions: Plaza America and the Spectrum Center open; Lake Anne's renovation begins; Hunters Wood and Tall Oaks Centers decline with fates unresolved. Employment grows to nearly 38,000, residents to more than 56,000. Approaching build-out, Reston Land relinquishes final seat on Reston Association Board.

* 1996 - Final development nears — Reston Land sells holdings: major new owner is Westerra, renamed Westbrook, Communities. Atlantic Realty buys Hunters Woods and Tall Oaks village centers, plans upgrades and restorations. Supervisors approve Sheraton expansion and redevelopment. Sallie Mae complex opens on Bowman distillery site. BDM and Oracle announce pending huge relocations to Reston.

* 1997 - Town Center development specifics announced, second stage launched. Construction of huge Oracle and BDM buildings at Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills intersection under way. Other commercial construction, including redevelopment, picks up; vacancies in town hard to find. Reston Historic Trust opens storefront museum at Lake Anne.

* 1998 - Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road street widening projects necessitated by booming commercial construction at Town Center, Plaza America and along Sunrise Valley Drive. Employment tops 45,000. Town Center housing now open. After much controversy, Reston Community Center's second site confirmed for Lake Anne Village Center.

* 1999 - New commercial construction — with many large buildings completed and occupied and others in the pipeline — is fueled by the arrival of high tech firms, both long-established and new "dot com" start-ups. Employment climbs to 53,000. 2000 first-phase assessment of needs and goals completed, becoming blueprint for Reston's future. Reston Community Center's second site opens at Lake Anne. YMCA under construction. Population now more than 62,000.

* 2000 - Reston certified as Community Wildlife Habitat by National Wildlife Federation. YMCA opens. Employment tops 55,000. Final single-family lot sold as population tops 60,000.

* 2001 - Sept. 11 disaster dominates. Hi-tech business downturns. Multicultural & Martin Luther King festivals grow in significance. Contractors, educators & community rebuild fire-destroyed Dogwood school ahead of schedule. Restonian Alan Webb is national track champion.

* 2002 - Voters endorse new Southgate Recreation Center; Wiehle Ave. completed to Dranesville Rd.; Reston Dog Park upgraded; Hunters Woods Elementary School gets renovations & additions. Support for Reston Interfaith breaks all records; South Lakes Seahawks turn in great football year. Little rainfall.

* 2003 - Okayed: Rebuilt Southgate Community Center in RA referendum (to be funded by county); rehab of RA’s 17-mile stream bed in mitigation agreement (to be funded by developers in trades for eliminations of watersheds elsewhere.) Yesterday’s Reston youth initiate weekend reunion. Fight over rail to Dulles accelerates. Lake Anne Elementary School addition began.

* 2004 - In April, Founders Day commemorates Reston’s 40th & Robert E. Simon’s 90th birthdays; county & residents begin exploration of Lake Anne revitalization; ARCH organized to serve clusters. RCA spearheads exploration of city or town status. Real estate prices soar; Redskins coach Joe Gibbs is among buyers. Employment increases.