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Creative Vision

Hollin Hills was the brainchild of Robert C. Davenport, a Department of Agriculture employee who came to Washington from Nebraska in 1938, at the peak of FDR’s New Deal. After World War II, he became a successful merchant-builder in the Virginia suburbs as a sideline to his government day job.

Davenport had a vision for Hollin Hills, and he also had the ability to assemble the raw materials, funding, and creative cast of characters needed to bring his vision to life. The land he chose in 1946 was hilly, with meandering creeks, steep slopes, difficult building sites, no utilities, and no roads. For most developers, that combination would have spelled disaster. For Davenport, it looked like destiny on his doorstep.

Houses with inverted “butterfly” roofs were among Charles Goodman’s most distinctive designs, offering expansive interior space with a wide view from the frame upper floor that oversails a brick ground floor.

Houses with inverted “butterfly” roofs were among Charles Goodman’s most distinctive designs, offering expansive interior space with a wide view from the frame upper floor that oversails a brick ground floor.

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About

Hollin Hills was the first community in the Washington, DC Metro area to be made up entirely of contemporary homes. The 326-acre tract was developed by Robert Davenport and the Rodman brothers. Renowned architect Charles Goodman was chosen to design  this visionary mid-century modern subdivision.

All of the houses in Hollin Hills represent a design aesthetic rarely expressed in the Washington Metro area, and certainly not in such a concentrated way. The houses’ modern feel is shaped by abundant glass to bring the outside in, clean geometry, with both horizontal and vertical lines working in concert, low-slope or flat roofs, and unadorned and uncluttered exterior surfaces.

Although planning had been underway for several years, the first house was completed in 1949. Subdivision development moved roughly east to west. The first streets were Stafford Road, Glasgow Road, Beechwood Road, Bedford Lane, Drury Lane, Pickwick Lane and Rippon Road. The names were selected  to complement the community name, itself a variation of Hollin Hall Plantation.

Other streets were named for the developer’s family — Davenport Street, Martha’s Road (Davenport’s mother), Rebecca Drive (his daughter), Recard Lane and Nemeth Court (family names). Elba Road and Nordock Place were named for Davenport’s prize bulls. Beechwood Road was named for the trees lining the street and Daphne Lane for the flower. Popkins Lane takes its name from a farm that used to be on that hill. The newest streets, built after 1960, were selected from a list approved by Fairfax County.

The last Hollin Hills house, on Kimbro Street, was finished in May 1971. And with that house, the community of 458 homes was complete.

 

Hollin Hills today comprises 483 households:

  • The original 458, save for one that was torn down because its property was extremely prone to flooding
  • Two non-Goodman homes on Rebecca Drive
  • Five on Delafield Place or Brentwood Road sites
  • 19 traditional homes on the cul-de-sac end of Range Road

While additions are a prominent part of the current landscape, the original aesthetic and sense of architectural continuity has lasted for more than 60 years. Drive around the neighborhood and you will see, with only a few non-Goodman-designed exceptions, a subdivision working as a stylistic whole, continuing to exist as the founders imagined.

 

Homeowner adherence to the covenants set up by Davenport and his colleagues at the beginning, and which run with the land, has been critical to the vision successfully remaining in place. That and neighborhood commitment to following the design review process for ensuring that exterior changes are in harmony and conformity — outlined in the covenants so long ago.

 

Recognized many times in the past for its architectural and design vision, Hollin Hills was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

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Wiki Pedia
Hollin Hills is a neighborhood in Hybla ValleyVirginia, though much of the neighborhood was transferred to the Fort Hunt CDP for census purposes prior to 2010. It has about 450 houses conceived and built by builder Robert C. Davenport, and designed by D.C.-based architect Charles M. Goodman (who also designed the Washington National Airport) and landscape architect Dan Kiley.[3][4]
Hollin Hills is next to other neighborhoods such as Villamay and Mason Hill, just south of Alexandria in the South Alexandria section of Fairfax CountyVirginia.
History
Designed by Charles M. Goodman and developed by Robert Davenport in the 1940s, Hollin Hills brought contemporary construction to northern Virginia. The community was one of the first post-World-War-II developments around Washington, D.C., and it is known primarily for its modern architecture, which remains very cohesive because of a design review committee that advises on building or modification of existing houses.

Neighborhood entrance sign on Sherwood Hall Lane

The name of Hollin Hills was intended as a variation of the 18th-century Hollin Hall Plantation, originally owned by George Mason, one of the founding fathers, known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” General Mason named his lands after an English estate of his mother’s family. Some of the Hollin Hall plantation buildings still stand on Sherwood Hall Lane.[5]
While planning the community, architect Goodman and landscape architect Dan Kiley designed each home with lots no smaller than one-third of an acre. During construction, many trees were retained to block sight lines, and houses were built at angles to ensure privacy. The popularity of the homes, which feature huge expanses of glass, established Goodman as a nationally acclaimed guru of modern architecture.[6][7] Davenport named some streets to complement the community name, while others were named after family members: Martha’s Road for his mother and Rebecca Drive for his daughter. Elba Road was named after one of his prize bulls.[8]
Awards
Hollin Hills has won many awards, beginning with the Revere Quality House award from the Southwest Research Institute in 1950 and including two 1982 Test of Time awards from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects, for houses on Stafford Road.
Hollin Hills is on the Fairfax County, Virginia, Inventory of Historic Sites.
Hollin Hills was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in late June 2013.[9] The Board of the Civic Association of Hollin Hills (CAHH) sought a National Register of Historic Places national historic district designation for the neighborhood, which was granted in 2013.[1]
The Hollin Hills Historic District encompasses 468 contributing buildings, two contributing sites, and three contributing structures.[10]
Notable residents
Over the decades, Hollin Hills has attracted artists, politicians, and political liberals.[11] Notable residents include former CBS newsman Eric Sevareid,[12] former U.S. Representative James G. O’Hara (1925–1989),[13] United States Senator Pat Roberts, singer Roberta Flack,[14] architect Michael Sorkin[15] and the production designers for Mad Men, Dan Bishop and Jeremy Conway.[16]

Contact

Civic Association of Hollin Hills

1600 Paul Spring Road

Alexandria, VA 22307

CAHH@hollin-hills.org

 

Design Review Committee: DRC@hollin-hills.org

(Questions about the exterior project design review process, the design review guidelines and/or to request time on an upcoming meeting agenda to present your project to the DRC)

 

Hollin Hills Pool

1602 Paul Spring Road

Alexandria, VA 22307

(703) 765-9628

admin@hhpool.org