There is an unintended irony in the effort, described in yesterday's paper, by some residents of the Fairfax County community of Dunn Loring to maintain it as an isolated and bucolic community as Metro train service is being introduced over this weekend.
Dunn Loring was, 99 years ago, subdivided and promoted as Fairfax County's first true railroad suburb -- a place where those downtown could commute to homes in the sylvan countryside.
To tell the story -- and to explain how Dunn Loring got its strange and charming name -- we now turn to "Fairfax County, a History," published by the county government in 1978, and a chapter authored by Patrick Reed.
What follows is a verbatim report from the book, with brackets indicating my addenda:
The Washington, Ohio & Western ultimately Washington & Old Dominion Railroad route through Fairfax was responsible in 1887 for the evolution of a new conception of the county's future.
That year the newly formed Loring Land Improvement Co. announced that it had "secured a tract of land . . . on the . . . railroad about 14 miles from Washington, and midway between Falls Church and Vienna."
Although a number of county residents, from Falls Church to Herndon, were already commuting daily over the line to jobs in Washington, the Loring Co.'s proposed new community of "Dunn-Loring" was the first organized effort to present the county as a suburb rather than as an agricultural supplier to the District of Columbia.
"The nearness of the town of Washington," the company's promotional pamphlet explained, "being only 45 minutes from the Baltimore & Potomac station at Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW , renders it most desirable to persons employed in that city and wishing for a healthful country home. Good railroad accommodations are provided . . . and telephone and postal arrangements have been made . . . . "
Unfortunately for its promoters, before the first two houses could be completed, Civil War Union Gen. William McKee Dunn, described as "a wealthy man living near Lewinsville and the driving force behind the development," died, and his chief partners, George B. Loring, a Washington, D.C., oculist, and George H. LaFetra, the proprietor of a temperance hotel in Washington, were unable to keep the project alive.
Not until . . . 1913 . . . did the community again awaken, and not until after the second World War did rapid growth begin.
Despite the original failure of the "Dunn-Loring Subdivision," had the county been paying attention in 1887, it could have caught an accurate glimpse of its future.
The Sound of Music
There was an unusual Metro Sound yesterday in Rosslyn.
To escape Metro's infuriatingly slow, long escalator (as I do whenever possible), I rode to the platform level by elevator. When I got there, the sound of music greeted my ears. A youth chorus, riding upward on the escalator, was singing in perfect harmony.
Who were they? Unless a member of the chorus calls today, we'll never know, but their melodious ride was, if a pun be permitted, very uplifting.