|Broyhill Crest features brick homes with large lots.|
Mason Crest Elementary School, to open in September, will be “a shot in the arm to the community,” says long-time resident Eileen Garnett, noting it will encourage parents to get more involved with the neighborhood. Community groups will be able to meet at the school, and its fields and playgrounds will be available for local families.
The new school is on the site of the former Masonville Elementary School, and Garnett was on a task force that tried to prevent Fairfax County Public Schools from closing that school. Since that effort failed, and Masonville closed in 1980, children in Broyhill Crest were bused to Beech Tree or Woodburn.
|Mason Crest Elementary School|
When asked what makes Broyhill Crest special, several residents cited its location inside the beltway and the active community pool. Broyhill Crest Community Association (BCCA) President, Brian Johnson also pointed to the neighborhood’s large lot sizes, the large numbers of mature trees, the increasingly diverse population, and its central location close to downtown Annandale and within easy reach of D.C. and Tysons Corner.
Last year, BCRC was awarded a Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program grant from Fairfax County to create a winding path through a wooded area near the pool.
People who live here care about one another and care about the schools, says Garnett, who moved to Broyhill Crest in 1972 and has been a leader in the BCCA, several PTAs, and the Annandale Commercial Business District Planning Committee and currently serves as the community’s hospitality chair.
Her husband, Stan, a former president of the BCRA, helped save a property close the pool out of the clutch of developers several years ago and turn it into Kendale Woods Park with a playground. Other assets in Broyhill Crest include the Holmes Run trail, the Holmes Run playground, and the community gardens in Broyhill Crest Park.
|Mcmansions tower over the original houses.|
Those 196 homes sold quickly, so the developer purchased additional land that had been a dairy farm owned by the Oliver family. After the last section of Broyhill Crest was completed in 1954, the subdivision had 500 homes, making it one of the largest in Fairfax County.
Over the years, several newer developments were incorporated into the BCCA—including Annagrove, Annandale Garden, Annandale Mews, Annandale Woods, Annanwood, Beverly Manor Park, Chatelain Village, Holly Hills, Kenwood Park, Masonville Heights, Oliver Knolls, Oliver Park, Rolfs Heights, and Timberwood.
Many of the original houses, mostly ramblers, with a fair number of bi-levels and colonials thrown into the mix, have been expanded or replaced with much larger houses. Prices range from about $300,000 to $580,000.
The original Oliver farmhouse, on Gallows Road, is up for sale, and the neighborhood is concerned that the house could be torn down to make way for several mcmansions.
BCCA’s Neighborhood Watch has been going strong for nearly 32 years, says coordinator Gordon Weihmiller. The group currently has 25 volunteers, including three who have served for 30 years. The neighborhood’s babysitting co-op, which started in the 1970s, recently morphed into a family co-op. Its members plan family activities and raise money for community events, as well as babysit one another’s children.
The co-op is currently planning an annual pig roast/silent auction fundraiser with live music, July 21 at the pool. It’s open to the public.
|Holmes Run Trail|
“We have to get new blood. This is serious,” Eileen Garnett told the mostly middle-aged residents who came to the group’s annual meeting this spring. Several long-time volunteers, including those in charge of the newsletter and directory, are quitting, and no one has stepped up yet to take their place.
BCCA Vice President David Holland said people struggling to get by in the troubled economy and many of the neighborhood’s increasing number of older people are less able to keep their properties well maintained.
To address those issues, members of Broyhill Crest’s Neighbor 2 Neighbor committee routinely patrols the streets and deliver notices when they see problems like grass that is too high or too many junk cars.
Despite the challenges, Holland says Broyhill Crest “still has a Happy Days, Mayberry feel to it.” Johnson says when he was house hunting in Northern Virginia, “this place felt like a community.”