News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Flashback Monday (or Tuesday): Lake Anne's Earliest Tennants

J Building.jpg

From last week's presentation on the early history of Reston at the Reston Museum, please to be enjoying this schematic of the "J Building" (so named for J.J. Walker) at Lake Anne Village Center, ca. 1965. It's interesting for two reasons: 1) It lists the original tenants of the Village Center, and 2) it provides concrete evidence that the Village Center was 100 percent occupied at one time.

Some of the tenants remain well known to this day -- Lakeside Pharmacy, the Community Center, the long-lamented Safeway, etc. Others provide an interesting glimpse of what the heck they were smoking the early days of Reston, including:
  • Gallagher Dry Cleaning. When customers asked for extra starch, did they smash a watermelon with a sledgehammer?
  • The Quay Club. Sounds fancy! And exclusive! And given the era, also that a bowl in which couples tossed their car keys upon arriving might have been involved, if you know what we mean and we think you do.
  • Something called "Scandinavian" (the second word was cut out of the presentation slide). Was this a purveyor of fancy minimalist furniture that has since been sourced for the Mad Men set, or a merchant of fine meatballs and turtle soup?
  • "Lawyers." Just as the best barber shops are simply called "barber shop," if you want to initiate a hostile takeover of a Fortune 500 company, look no further than the firm called "Lawyers."
  • "Restaurant." Clearly, the earliest Restonians eschewed the whole trendy ethnic cuisine movement. We're guessing folks who worked at "Lawyers" had lunch here a lot.
  • Something called "Youngland." NOT. GOING. THERE.
If you love you some hawt PowerPoint action, click here for a good time the entire presentation.


  1. The Quay Club is where Don Draper's Reston-based city slicker mad men colleagues trolled for jailbait milk maids from Herndon area farms after the girl partied all Saturday night at Youngland, all in the effort to uphold Reston's original theme as a place to "...Live, Work and Chase Underage Farm Girl Catholic School Skirts Easily Impressed By Men With A Full Set of Teeth and Holding College Degrees From Ivy League Schools Not Served By Greyhound Bus.'

    Yes, the Quay Club finally brought some much needed real elevated culture to the cow patty covered landscape that once dominated the Herndon/Reston area.

    1. The education level of the clientele is much lower, and the name has changed several times, but the goal seems to have remained the same.

  2. Reston was so ahead of the times that we had a place where people could be openly quay. In fact, I'm surprised that Reston didn't immediately implement a Quay Pride Day Parade, complete with color coordinated deck shoes and those ever so cute lace up jeans.

  3. Youngland and the Quay Club were placed so far apart from each other for appearances.

    1. Offering some 1968/69 recollections...

      VIENNA TRUST CO: A bank under a different name(s) for many years.

      YOUNGLAND: Dental office up first flight of stairs for DDS Shattuck and Zacko that moved to nearby Clubhouse Road around 1970? Space may have housed (several) tenants?

      CARDWRIGHT: Yep, card/gift shop that sold lot's of items. Had a nice multi tiered revolving Matchbox toy car display placed in the front window.

      RESTAURANT: Can't recall the orginal name. The flower planters outlining the outdoor seating section had thick cordage wrapped around them for a nautical theme.

      TOM'S BARBER SHOP: It was Tom's Barber Shop for many years! Herndon and Fairfax city barbers were the only other options.

      MEENEHAN'S HARDWARE: Recall them there before moving to a stand-alone building on far side of present parking lot and Village Center entrance. It's now a bodega store of sorts.

      LAKESIDE PHARMACY: Still, Lakeside Pharmacy.

      LAKE ANNE LAKE: Still, a nice lake!

  4. Yes, Reston in 1965 was definitely a more civilized place...'live, work and quay, indeed.'


    Well, today Reston is a place to 'engage in random acts of abduction, discharge firearms and punch little dogs.' seriously.

  5. A Rose By Any Other Name,July 3, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Both Reston, VA and Columbia, MD were prominently featured in a text on the "history of city planning", which I read as an undergrad way back when. Never did I dream that I would end up living in BOTH of those places for a time. But a suburb is a suburb is a suburb. I remain underwhelmed by the whole experience, history or not.

  6. How I miss Meenahan's. They stocked parts for the stuff Reston builders put in your house. You could actually find parts that worked. Last time I bought a made-in-China washer from Home Despot it actually leaked worse than the one I replaced.

  7. Take Mao Wife, PleaseJuly 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    No surprise there, scubadiver

    Made in China = contaminated crap

    Buy American

  8. Rose,

    Don't you know Columbia is the anti-Reston? Instead of Lake Anne, they envisioned a different sort of town center... a shopping mall. Enough said.

  9. A Rose By Any Other NameJuly 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    To Anonymous:
    I see far more similarities than differences between Columbia and Reston. The Columbia Mall has better shopping than RTC, but that's not what I'm talking about. Both are just part of the outer suburban landscape, and have become part of the sprawl we all claim to hate, but golly, it sure is convenient to have all those fast food choices, isn't it? Both burbs have the unfortunate "community village" shopping clusters, which work better in Reston only because in Reston they now actually look and operate like regular strip shopping centers. Columbia has actually developed ( finally! it only took until the mid 90's) its lake front
    as a community recreation/gathering place. Reston has been swallowed uo by the surriounding NoVa development, and is no longer a distinctive place. RTC is not all that special, either, it has become nothing more than a cluster of offices, parking garages and high-priced apartments with mall-type shopping at ground level. Both "new towns" have many of the same amenities, just rearranged a bit. Columbia's relative isolation in Howard County guarantees a captive real estate market. But then what do I know? I'm just a former city planner who thinks that both places are/were nothing more than speculative real estate ventures dressed up with liberal follderoll pitches about "community" blah blah so Sixites! bleagh and they both ( oh how do I put this gently?)... suck![ Note: To my teenagers, Columbia's sole saving grace is the presence of Merriweather Post Pavilion, which means that they didn't have to drive miles and miles to see their favorite big name rock-pop-hip hop performers. This was/is not an insignificant consideration when you are aged 13-to-25!]


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