News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reston Real Estate: Reston's Oldest Building on the Market

Not the Wiehle House.jpegJust steps from Reston's fake downtown Gritty Urban Core, the oldest building in Reston is now on the market. The picture at left is what inexplicably comes up when you do a Google image search for the Robert Wiehle House, which makes it look like those 1895-era builders were big fans of garden-style apartment complexes with vinyl siding and ample off-street parking.

Not to be confused with Linden Springs or the Bowman House, the Robert Wiehle House is all that's left of the first attempt to build a planned community in the wilds of the Virginia countryside, nearly a full century before Reston was a gleam in Bob Simon's eye. When Carl Adolph Max Wiehle, a doctor from Philadelphia, bought the chunk of land that is now Reston in 1886, he envisioned an 800-home bedroom community, presumably with detailed rules about appropriate burlap window treatments and on-street horse parking. Only 10 houses were actually built, though, and most of them went to family members, and then Wiehle said, "eh, this real estate stuff is hard, let's just get someone to build a distillery instead and get hammered every night," which is exactly what happened until the nudists showed up.

Who wouldn't want to spend a mere $474,900 to own a piece of that colorful history? The real estate listing helpfully points out that the property could be converted into a B&B, which we'd suggest calling "Garden Apartment View," based on what has since been built around the home:

Maybe the Wiehle House.jpg

Maybe if you ask really nicely, you could use the tennis courts that are just out of the frame of this shot.

Actually, this place looks seriously cool, at least from the vantage point of Google's all-seeing space machines. If we had the spare cash, we'd move Restonian World Headquarters into one of its two bedrooms in a heartbeat.

Finally, we learned one new (to us) Fun Fact about the drunken village of Wiehle. When Dr. Wiehle lobbied to have the post office change the town's name to his own, Wiehle replaced the area's even older name, "Thornton's Mills," unknowingly sparing future generations of Restonians from having to fight for parking at the "Thornton's Mills Station Metro Station Garage," the end.


  1. If I hit tonight's lottery drawing, I might just buy it, paint it bright pink then dare RA to come after the richest guy in Reston on a covenants violation.

  2. I love how the realtor talk says "or turn it into a B&B!" AS IF RA would allow that! Plus, it has 2 bedrooms...a little awkward without remodeling. Oh wait, they can hire someone who already serves on the DRB to make sure it passes approval to design a modification!

  3. I'm surprised it's only $474,900. I figured it'd be 2x that.

  4. I'm quite impressed with Restonian's knowledge of the history of Reston and Robert Wiehle -this is one of the more interesting (and humorous)accountings of Reston's early days.

    Because Robert E. Simon did not purchase this part of "Reston" it doesn't fall under RA or an HOA guidelines. So the buyer can paint it any color they want. That's worth the price alone. Freedom of color choice!


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