Get on Board!
Banner headlines beckoned prospective buyers to head down the Potomac to buy new construction along its shores. “You could come by boat…but the magnificent view one gets coming along Mt. Vernon Memorial Boulevard, should not be missed” was the siren song. Multiple advertisements and articles in the Washington Post from 1957 sang the praises of this community named Stratford Landing.
Anne Andrews decided to take a look at the models along Captain’s Row when signs caught her eye en route to a day of touring Mount Vernon. She and her husband Dick were first time owners on two occasions: building their first home in 1960 and later a larger model to accommodate their growing family.
And indeed, this is a community surrounded on three sides by water. The bylaws for the Stratford Landing Citizen’s Association read as follows: “bounded on the South by the tributary of the Little Hunting Creek that runs parallel to Creek Drive; on the West by Little Hunting Creek; on the North by the tributary of Little Hunting Creek that runs parallel to the East-West course of Brewster Drive; and on the East by Riverside Road and a line extending Riverside Road but also including Wittington Boulevard and its feeder roads.”
This neighborhood, as well as others in the Fort Hunt area, is located on what was once George Washington’s River Farm and is just a short distance from Mount Vernon estate on Little Hunting Creek. Construction began in 1956 by a construction company from Long Island headed by Ernest C. Beck and Walter Beck—sales were handled by The Stratford Realty Company. It was claimed in one newspaper advertisement that the Becks actually had a “floating sales office” that carried prospects along Little Hunting Creek! As quoted by the Washington Post in that same year, this was to be an $8 million development and would cover about 150 acres. The home styles are typical of those seen in the 1950s—a preponderance of “modern” four bedroom, 2.5 bath split levels and three bedroom, two bath ranch homes. Prices ranged throughout the $20,000s, but the interest rates have a familiar ring, as they were in the 4 percent to 4.5 percent range.
Today the citizen’s association counts 772 member homes and current prices range from $399,900 to a high of over one million. There has been a fair amount of infill construction over the years, accounting for these million dollar plus prices and any lots with waterfront footage are highly valued. Rob Maher, the current president of the Stratford Landing Citizens Association (SLCA), reports that all waterfront lots, except for the old pumping station, are privately owned.
There are many long-time volunteers who have given their time over the years. Donna Brinitzer has lived in Stratford Landing since 1967; her husband Peter spent many years as association president and is credited with founding and overseeing the building of the swimming pool, which is the centerpiece of the Stratford Landing Recreation Association. And Jack Shawn spent countless hours over decades representing the community on the Mount Vernon Council on the Health & Human & Work Force committee; he and his wife Betty also spearheaded the annual blood drive for many years.
So yes, it’s the water—the creek and the Potomac River—the variety of floor plans, the excellent location close to Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon, Old Town Alexandria and Washington, D.C. and the community amenities, but it’s also many dedicated volunteers making Stratford Landing the welcoming and pleasant neighborhood it is.