He is also within walking distance of a skate park, a regional park, a community pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, and the spectacular azalea and rose gardens of Bon Air Park.
“I saw the great outdoor advantages to this neighborhood, that the physical setting was a great place to raise kids,” said Hannigan, whose children are now grown.
“I used to run 10-mile mornings along those trails, and I can’t tell you the number of bike rides I took with my kids,” added Hannigan, 67, president of the Dominion Hills Civic Association and a government relations consultant. “I see a lot of older people walking, too. The recreational opportunities are a big advantage of this neighborhood.”
“Dominion Hills’ best feature is that it’s so comfortable for families to locate here and be happy,” Hannigan said. “They’re happy because the quality of life is good, schools are excellent . . . and although prices are a lot higher now, they’re still evidently affordable for young families.”
Harmony in monotony: Two-story Colonial Revival was the original — and initially the exclusive — style home in Dominion Hills, which was developed primarily in the mid- to late 1940s on lots of 6,000 to 7,000 square feet. (Ranches and split-levels were later added.) That older section is on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, in recognition of its significance as a large-scale postwar suburban development in one architectural style, and demonstrating principles of mass production and standardization.
“Some could say it would be monotonous to have so many homes the same, but for us it makes Dominion Hills a rightly scaled, harmonious and attractive neighborhood,” Hannigan said. “Houses are set on their lots in different ways, there’s a variety in house details such as door surrounds and placements, and you see a lot of varied additions.”
Claim to fame: Actors Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty, who are siblings, grew up in a house in the 900 block of North Liberty Street as Shirley and Henry Warren Beaty.
A 2005 biography of Beatty by Suzanne Finstad said the two were drawn to the arts during their early days in that house. The Beatys, according to the book, were among the first families in the neighborhood to get a television, and Warren would tune in weekly to the “Texaco Star Theater” to follow his idol, Milton Berle.
Both attended Washington-Lee High School (MacLaine, Class of 1952; Beatty, Class of 1955). Beatty was a linebacker on the football team, and was offered 10 scholarships to play in college. MacLaine was a straight-A student, a cheerleader and president of a sorority, and she sang and danced in school and community musicals.