News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Flashback Monday: How Reston Won the Cold War


At incredible risk to life and limb, our favorite correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, brings us the following explosive discovery, from deep within the mouldering archives of the U.S. government:
Exchanging his coarse woolen sheepherder's cap for Indiana Jones’ snappy fedora, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston has made an extraordinary archeological find involving our beloved New Town that has the potential to rewrite world history as we understand it. Toiling of late in a non-descript government building in Washington to salvage historical material that will go to the National Archives (the country’s second largest repository of old records, dwarfed only by RA headquarters), The Peasant has spent countless hours in a dank, dusty sub-basement storage room similar to those confines where Jack Bauer is always brought for torture on “24”, or where the RA conducts enhanced interrogation techniques on hapless Reston homeowners who have dared to use red mulch.

It was on one such salvage expedition that The Peasant stumbled across a set of historical documents related to a traveling exhibition, “Architecture USA”, that Uncle Sam sent to Poland via the U.S. Information Agency in 1970 during the height of the Cold War. Exploring further, The Peasant discovered that one thematic issue covered by this exhibit was…new towns! And there, before his unbelieving eyes, were photos of our beloved 'burb.


One, showing the Lake Anne Village Center in 1963 and looking strikingly similar to the Lake Anne of 2009, described Reston as “a pleasant mixture of cultural facilities, shops, places of entertainment, and residential areas.” (And all this before the Macaroni Grill graced us with its presence!).


Another, showing two happy little nippers running in the driveway of their detached house with beer-bellied Pop looking on, notes that “a variety of housing is available at Reston…prices are very moderate to expensive.” The exhibit also included a photo of our town’s satanic twin in Howard County, Maryland, but we will not speak here of such evil.

According to USIA, the exhibit was seen by nearly 700,000 Poles during its four-month tour of Katowice, Wroclaw, Poznan, and Warsaw, and was “perhaps the most popular foreign exhibit ever shown in Poland.”

So…we now can definitively conclude that the rise of Solidarity a decade later in fact was not due to Red Army occupation, political repression, and food shortages in Poland. No! It is clearly evident that the Polish people ended one-party Communist rule and set in motion the chain of events leading to the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 because they had seen the wonders of Reston and were inspired by this other-worldly vision. We are certain that high on the agenda of Solidarnost as it took power that year was streambed restoration of all 651 miles of the Vistula River, construction of a new seat of government with ample file storage capacity, restriping of the E-67 motorway from Tomaszow Mazowiecki to Piotrkow Trybunalski to create dedicated bike lanes, and building a new state-of-the-art recreation center so that Warsaw can compete head to head with Reston as the venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

There you have it. Historians, please note: Reston single-handedly brought down the Evil Empire and ended the Cold War.
This shocking development has the potential to completely rewrite history. A generation from now, students will no longer be misinformed that this movie won the Cold War:


  1. The house in the photo of the "two happy little nippers running in the driveway of their detached house with beer-bellied Pop looking on" was my house growing up (11602 Virgate Ln). It came as a shock to see this while searching on Google for something in Lake Anne. We moved there in 1977. I believe the folks shown were the original residents. Funny!

  2. ... so, you need to add "20191 and 22091 (former zip)" to your labels of this story, and I take offense to the "Gawdawful architecture" label. Of all the 1960s/70s homes in Reston, you consider a colonial to be "Gawdawful?"


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