Back in 1951, when Fairfax County was just a bunch of farms, dirt roads and nudist colonies, a fellow named Stanley Mehr bought four acres in McLean for $5,800, or $1,450 an acre. He just wanted some space to grow dahlias, and things were getting gobbled up by developers.
So he and his brother Seymour began operations as Mehr Brothers Flowers, near the corner of Old Dominion Drive and Balls Hill Road. And 60 years later, Mehr, now 92, is still at it.
In this highly entertaining piece by the Fairfax County Times’ Holly Hobbs, we learn that Mehr is a World War II veteran who had an interesting specialty, he met his wife after she was freed from a concentration camp, and he used to write a weekly gardening column for the Providence Journal.
Mehr says he’s fended off numerous offers to sell his land, saying, “What would I do sitting on millions of dollars? Sit in an apartment in a high rise? I couldn’t grow any flowers if I had houses here.”
Read the rest of Mehr’s fascinating life story here.