In the late sixties, the concept or St. Charles was a twinkle in the eyes of many Washingtonians.

It was 8,000 beautiful wooded acres in Maryland's Charles County, with nothing to show except thick trees, rolling hills, and an idea.

The idea was living, learning, working, and playing in one place. A community that was more than houses and streets. A community of neighborhoods, one relaxing to the other. The idea of the old New England town center, with commercial, religious, educational, and community services centering around a common green.

Now that idea has materialized into homes, stores, schools, business parks, recreation and parkland - with nine different builders offering new residents everything from rental apartments, to townhouses, to cluster homes, to large single family homes.

And the first residents of St. Charles in the early seventies are now among a population that well exceeds 3,000 families - enough to make St. Charles a reasonably impressive dot on the Washington area map.

All "test" phases are over. St. Charles is now an established prosperous, active community - and the momentum is big and exciting.

Wakefield Square, a heavily wooded townhouse community starting at $39,990, begins construction near the new Wakefield Neighborhood Center.