News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Flashback Friday Monday: A Land Before Time (But Not Before Golf Courses)

Imagine a long-ago epoch, years before the first 7/8 scale brick was laid for the Reston Town Center(tm). Before the Macaroni Grill, even, or much of the mauve housing stock we've grown to know and love. This exciting aerial photo, ca. 1968 or 1969, we're guessing (click to enlarge), looks east from a vantage point somewhere over the giant plat of clearcut virgin forest which would eventually become the USGS Headquarters. It definitely shows what was most important to the New Town (tm) -- its two awesome golf courses. Aside from the ominously named N-1 Building in Isaac Newton Square, which was Gulf Reston Headquarters at the time, they were pretty much the only prominent landmarks that were actually completed at this point. (Lake Anne Village, marked on the map, is hardly a speck from this vantage point.)

Note how Sunrise Valley Road appears to be nearing completion, snaking through what promised to become a magnet to attract many of the DC area's many associations (except probably not this one). The future home of the American Newspaper Publishers Association is yet another plat of virgin trees, which presumably were chopped down and ground into pulp to make long sheets of paper on which the news of the day was printed in a portable, disposable format called a "news-paper." People did crazy things like that back then, in the days before the Internets! (Speaking of which, at the time of this photo, a younger Al Gore was probably lurking around the Defense Comm Agency building marked on the map, helping invent them.)

But we digress. On the other side of the Toll Road Dulles Access Road, Sunset Hills Road is finished, meandering through a bunch of low-rise dreck which must have been later demolished to build the first of SallieMae's awesome palaces offices.

The only question: How did people get to Reston? At this point, there was only a promise that the off-ramps from the Toll Road Dulles Access Road at Reston Parkway would be completed by 1970. The white crayon marking Wiehle Avenue's bridge didn't get completed for another 20 years. Besides, who would dare cross the ominous-looking dotted lines at the eastern edge of the photos? Did the earth end there, or just the awesome earth tones?


  1. For years the only ways in/out of Reston were:
    --Baron Cameron Avenue
    --Reston Ave (aka Reston Parkway) to West Ox & north to Rt. 7.
    --Fox Mill to the West
    --Lawyers Rd. (fording the stream) to Vienna

    Thinking back, maybe that wasn't so bad after all.

  2. Hey! I think I can see the Monkey House! Neat!


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