News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Flashback Monday: Reston's First Single-Family House, And The Tenuous Thread of History Between It and This Web Log

Furst reston houseWe all know that Lake Anne Plaza and its groovy rabbit warren of not-even-remotely-near-town townhouses and midrises are at the center of Reston's ur-creation myth. But what about the first single-family home, complete with appropriately earth-toned fence and appropriately colored stone/mulch combinations to attract the "squares," as the kids back then might have said?

Turns out it was built at exactly the same time, meaning that Reston's first single-family home is also celebrating a Multiples of 50 anniversary this year. And more shockingly, it was in Less Desirable South Reston! Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at the Fairfax Times:

In 1964, when architect and homebuilder Ken Bonner, 75, built the first home south of the Dulles Access road in Reston, he remembers having to transport a portable generator to the building site in the back seat of his 1957 Ford because there were no power lines yet.

“It was rough,” he said. “That was a cold, wet winter and I was building primarily in the mud, with only woods around me. We had to haul all our equipment down there by hand and on foot from Reston Parkway. There wasn’t any other road to drive on yet.”

The home, Reston’s first detached single-family house, still stands today on Stirrup Road and turns 50 this year, along with Reston itself.
Turns out the first owners of the ultramodern house were less than pleased with the other, more typical suburban homes that were built nearby, which in turn, led to the Reston Times, which in turn, led to the Internet and filthy "web logs." SRLSLY:
Joan Smith has lived in Reston’s first stand-alone house since 1967. She and her husband purchased it from the Segman family, the home’s first owners, when they moved out after only three years.

According to both Smith and Bonner, Ralph and Sally Segman became disillusioned when other environmentally conscious homes were not built on surrounding lots. They voiced their displeasure in a newsletter they created that eventually became the Reston Times newspaper.

“This is the room where the Reston Times was born,” said Smith, pointing to her den.
Something tells us that somewhere down the road, a down-on-their-luck real estate agent will think about using the same line about Restonian World Headquarters, but then think better of it and get some tiki torches out of her car instead.

Of course, this history-filled Quinquagenarian home is not to be confused with Reston's oldest extant building, which itself was part of the drunken village of Wiehle that predated the nudists, and then, the new urbanists, the end.


  1. Funny looking slanted rooflines, poor insulation, lots of white interior spaces, usually painted brown or grey. Ugly stuff from the 70's. Looked dated even when they were new. Ugh. Lots of those around here.

  2. To Architek Critic@2:07: Yeppers, there are lots of cheaply-built homes in the suburbs of the 70's and 80's, but many of these homes are ripe for renovation and remodeling anyway, and even serious lapses of 70's design judgment can be corrected by the current owners.

  3. Dear Contractor/Critic/Homeowner,
    Do what you want inside of the house, but if you change the exterior one iota, we will squash the homeowner like a bug.


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