There is a certain cachet that comes with living near Mount Vernon.
For years, small communities have been developed near George Washington's Potomac River mansion, which has long been one of this area's major tourist attractions.
People living in Riverwood, Stratford, Walden Woods, Woodley Hill Washington Hill, Union Farm, Belle Rive, Ferry Point, Westgate, Yacht Haven and Mount Vernon Park can all say they live next to the first president's estate. Some of the homes were built on Washington's original holdings.
One of the few undeveloped tracts near Mount Vernon was acquired several years ago by Alexandria realtor Charles S. Shaw and attorney Gant Redmon. They bought the 72-acre Bryant farm from Arthur Bryant. The eight-bedroom mansion Bryant's parents built on the farm is the center-piece of a development called Mount Vernon on the Potomac Shaw and Redmon are now-building.
Arthur Bryant's grandfather, the late Sen. James Couzens of Michigan, bought the land at the turn of the century for a retreat and hunting lodge. Bryant's parents acquired the farm in 1939 and made it working horse and dairy farm. That continued until 1965.
Shaw said he and Redmon plan to spend $1.5 million to develop 115 half-acre lots on the site a mile and a half below the original Mount Vernon.
Fredericksburg, Va., builder Paul Fleischmann has sold 29 houses in the $160,000 range in Shaw and Redmon's community. Eugene Cullinane, who lives nearby in a house with a river view, will build on 48 lots nearer the river and around the manor house.
Cullinance has done considerable building and rehabilitation in Old Town Alexandria. His houses at the Mount Vernon development will start at about $200,000.
Only 11 of the lots will front on the river, but a number will have river views because of the elevations. Shaw plans to reclaimsome of the original waterfront to build docks next to the Yacht Haven marina.
The Bryant's manor house was sold recently to Clifford and Elaine Brown. He heads the Hallmark Iron Works here.The Browns plan to redo the mansion, which deteriorated in the years when it was unoccupiedn, which deteriorated in the years when it was unoccupied.
People living in that Mount Vernon area recall that the Bryant mansion and farm were the local for scenes of the motion picture, "Houseboat," filmed there about 20 years ago. Cary Grant and Sophia Loren starred in the film, which is occasionally seen on television.