Reston Virginia: A National Planning Landmark Plus Video of Lake Anne Village Center

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax


How Reston got its name


Melody: How did Reston get its name…from being a restful place to live? How come its design is so unusual?

Steve: No Melody, Reston is a peaceful place to live…but the name Reston was derived from the initials of Robert E. Simon, the man behind the outstanding design, vision, and creation of Reston.

That is a sculpture of him above sitting on a bench a Lake Anne Center.






I will write about the history of Reston from time to time, since it is an intriguing topic for anyone interested in real estate development and the thought process that goes into designing a livable community…rather then just slapping up some The Head of Reston's founder Bob Simonbuildings, selling them and running off to do it again somewhere else.

The following quote is from the Washington Post 2004:

“Robert E. Simon Jr. is the pioneer behind the groundbreaking planned community of Reston, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year.




Reston’s European-style plaza, clustered townhomes, centerpiece Reston Lake Anne Village Centerlake, and contemporary architecture are studied by planning and architecture students across the country.

Named by the American Institute of Certified Planners as a national planning landmark, Reston is a classic study in community planning. Simon, who turns 90 next month, moved back to enjoy his creation 11 years ago.”

Source: Washington Post, Mar 25, 2004


What was he thinking?

Melody: Do you have some quotes from any speeches made by Mr. Simon which give some background into his thought process?

Steve: Yes …..the following quote is from his Genisis speech in 1961:

More Lake Anne Center“This brings me to 1961. A representative of the Washington real-estate firm of Shannon & Luchs was given the assignment to sell a 6,750-acre parcel of Virginia countryside.

He spoke to Jim Lannegan in New York, hoping to interest Roger Stevens, but instead Jim called a friend of his, Henry Wrightson. “Henry, do you know anybody that is interested in 6,000-odd acres in Virginia?”

Henry replied, “Maybe, if you come on up and see me.” The person he had in mind, of course, was me.





 The project was really out of my area, but it seemed such a marvelous opportunity. The location was perfect.

The foundations were just being laid for the magnificent Dulles Airport terminal building and construction crews were scratching away at the runways.
An airport like that in what seems like a desert will cause the desert to flower.

And Dulles Airport was being put into Fairfax County, then the single, fastest-growing county in the United States.

The property was about 18 miles from Washington, the nation’s capital and fastest-growing metropolitan Bob sits Benchingly in Bronzearea in the country. On top of this, the terrain was beautiful. It was an irresistible challenge, so I didn’t resist.  What should be done with the land? With a parcel this size, the only conceivable single use was a bedroom community; and that, to me, was a repulsive idea.

We began to think about a “New Town.” Of the many definitions of a New Town, I prefer the one given by Ada Louise Huxtable in the New York Times: a New Town is a large-scale development with residential, commercial, industrial, cultural and civic functions. In other words, a well-rounded community.


Melody: Is Mr. Simon still alive…I hope so...... he sounds like such a good guy?

 Steve: Yes Marnie Mr. Simon is alive and living in Reston at Lake Anne, where it all started. You can kind of visit him at the Lake Anne Plaza….his life size bronze sculpture sits on a park bench there. You can sit beside him after learning more about the very cool history of Reston at the Reston Museum.

Here is a video of Lake Anne and Reston's visionary below:




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Why pay more and get less when selling your home? Jan and Steve Bachman of RE/MAX Gateway use professional photographers, create interactive photo floor plans, print full color brochures, and make an individual property website for your listing that goes out to 40+ public real estate search sites including, Trulia, Zillow etc.


We also create a custom photo tour that is sent to other agents and prospective buyers.



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Jan and Steve Bachman are full time Realtors® with RE/MAX, specializing in Homes for Sale in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington Counties.




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Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

I love the bench video talks.

May 04, 2011 01:18 AM #1
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

Steve ~  This is a wonderful post -- I remember being able to ride around on the to-be-runways of Dulles when it was being developed and my step-father telling us that we were riding where the planes would be taking-off and landing . . .  thanks for the memories.

May 04, 2011 01:40 AM #2
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Steve, this really is a great post. I have a friend who moved here from Reston and could never say enough great things about living there.

May 04, 2011 09:44 AM #3
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Thanks Andy, Bob is a good listener.

Tish, my wife has lived here her whole life and seen it all...amazing growth. I can watch the planes queue up for landing from our front porch.

Connie, the thing I like about Reston is the great care and thought that was put into its development. You do not see rows of houses lined up. In fact it's hard to see any houses at all. For a town of 60,000 people...good luck finding them.

Most housing clusters are hidden behind bands of trees left for that purpose. Very few roads are straight so you do not feel like you live on a chess board.

May 04, 2011 10:24 AM #4
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