Clover-College Park, 1937

by Patricia Dane Rogers

Clover-College Park, circa 1937

Courtesy, Amy Bertsch, Office of Historic Alexandria.

Courtesy, Amy Bertsch, Office of Historic Alexandria.

This is an aerial image of part of our neighborhood as it looked when only a few houses had been built in College Park and Clover was still part of the Woodleigh estate that was sold to developer Rozier Beech in 1946.

Janney’s Lane runs horizontally across the top of the picture with King Street angling off on the right; Duke Street (formerly Little River Turnpike), on the bottom and Cambridge Road, the white vertical linking Janney’s and Duke on the leftmost side of this 1937 picture.

Starting top left on the south side of Janneys, you can see two of the earliest houses in College Park – 1000 and 1002 Janney’s Lane and across the road from them, the driveway to the 19th century farmhouse that still anchors the Walleston subdivision. To the right of Cambridge Road, the white oval is the spring commemorated in the niche in the stone wall at 810 Janneys; to its right, running down to Duke Street is Taylor Run. To the immediate right of Taylor Run, are the orchard and driveways to two houses built by Judge Robinson Moncure and in the far right corner, south of the wishbone created by the intersection of Janney’s and King Street, is the white frame house once owned by inventor Eli Janney, a Confederate veteran.

It was as industrial below Duke Street in the ’30s as it is today, the mainstay being the Alexandria headquarters of the huge railroad shipping complex of the Fruit Growers Express Co. But, as you can see, there were residential areas, too.

Starting at the intersection of Cambridge and Duke, the original farm was owned by Davey Watkins in the 19th century but in the 1930s, the house and barns belonged to one, George M. Cragg.

See the clump of trees across the street on the east side of Cambridge? That’s where “Woodleigh” stood, a 20 room antebellum mansion razed when Bishop Ireton was built. Its owner, Virginia Bullock-Willis, sold 48 acres to Mr. Beech in 1946 and the house and the remaining 15 acres to Bishop Peter Ireton in 1953. If you look closely in the middle of the trees, you may be able to make out Woodleigh’s roof and turret and see the unpaved road that led to it from Duke. To its immediate right is another driveway with a sharp left turn leading to another antebellum house, “Four Winds,” (on present day Nob Hill Court) which burned c. 1956.

Next comes a white rectangular patch – a grazing field for the cows and horses that lived at “Longview” – an early 19th century house off the road we now know as Longview Drive. The house at the end of Longview Drive was built in the 1920s for the owner’s son and still stands. It backs up to Vassar Place. Just to the right of Longview Drive near Duke, is another driveway with a small circular turnaround. Celebrated for its ancient boxwood allee and rose gardens, the L-shaped house with a dark roof (left of the circle and at the end of the alley) was called “Summerhill.” It was built around 1804 by an Old Town mover and shaker, a Swiss emigre named Anthony Charles Cazenove. It was torn down in the ’50s and eventually replaced by the Carydale East high-rise.

We have a few more even earlier aerial shots from the 1920s which we hope to post soon. If anyone knows anything about the building on the left side of Cambridge, half-way between Duke and Janney’s or spots something that I’ve left out, please feel free to fill all of us in.

For a neat Web site for checking out YOUR house on line as of ’49, 60-64 and beyond, try www.historicaerials.com.

For a clearer idea of where things are on the 1937 aerial compare it with the aerial view below taken in 1988 (courtesy of Tony Fletcher).

aerial1988