Bobbie Judge remembers life in Howard County, B.C. -- Before Columbia.

In 1958, when the nation's largest planned community was just a gleam in developer James W. Rouse's eye, Judge and her family moved into Allview Estates, one of the farming county's first suburban developments. Located just off what was then a two-lane road called U.S. 29, Allview was designed to give commuters easy access to Washington and a taste of country living.

Since then, others have followed. Today, Allview is surrounded by Columbia's industrial parks, office buildings and other residential areas. Plans call for U.S. 29, now a four-lane highway, to be widened into a six-lane freeway. But according to Judge and other longtime residents, their community has managed to hold on to its rural atmosphere and to avoid being absorbed into the city emerging around it.

"We really don't feel like a part of Columbia at all,"Judge said. "Of course, we don't still have the wheat fields and corn fields and cows roaming about. But it's very quiet and isolated back here."

Willis H. Rickert, a retired NASA employe who purchased his Allview home for less than $20,000 in 1959, said: "The way the roads were laid out and so forth lend itself to making us a community by ourselves. Even though Columbia surrounds us, it doesn't really touch us."

Allview Estates is a neighborhood of solid brick ranch homes with country-style mailboxes. It has driveways built for 1957 Buicks and yards made for barbecues. Its streets don't have sidewalks or street lights, but they have crab apple trees that bloom pink and white in April.

Local developer Henry Witt began the project with four three-bedroom houses in 1953, and by the mid-1960s had built most of the 500 single-family homes that stand on half-acre lots today. Until 1980, it had its own water supply, drawn from eight community wells and stored in its own water tower. There is little commercial development, except for Bill Hinkle's small shopping center on Old Columbia Road.

"It's worth the extra 25-minute drive to have a nice, quiet, country setting," said Steven Wallach, a real estate specialist with the Veterans Administration who moved from Silver Spring to Allview two years ago. "I think about that a lot when I'm in the car at night because it does take more time. But on weekends and during the summer, it really does pay off. I like to jog and I can go for five miles all within this area."

Wallach said his 3,700-square-foot ranch-style house, at $113,000, was a bargain compared with what a similar house would cost in Silver Spring. He said his house was recently reappraised at $153,000, a price that is about average for Allview residences.

Bounded by U.S. 29 on the west, Broken Land Parkway to the north, the Little Patuxent River to the east, and two other pre-Columbia subdivisions -- Arrowhead and Donleigh -- to the south, Allview's geography has contributed to its relative stability.

When U.S. 29 is expanded in the next decade, Allview's shrub-lined entrance, which is maintained on a volunteer basis, will be closed, further isolating the community. With few vacant parcels left and no place to grow, it is home now to about 1,500 people, a number that is not expected to change much in the future.

Allview residents seem to include a higher than average percentage of people involved in "security" work -- at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the nearby National Security Agency and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics

Howard (Bill) Amos, president of the Allview-Arrowhead Civic Association, said his neighbors aren't "joiners," so the community has few institutions other than the Atholton Swim Club, Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church and local schools.

"Sometimes you'll go months or even years without seeing your neighbors," he said.

Allview residents have also tended to be more conservative than residents in nearby Columbia, Amos said. "The people here, by and large, are older and more stable {less transient} than in Columbia," he said. Amos estimated that fewer than a dozen households in Allview are black -- a stark contrast to Columbia's more integrated neighborhoods.

Allview residents' conservatism and identification with their community generated a protest in the mid-1970s when the postmaster said they would have to change their mailing address from Ellicott City to Columbia, Judge said. For a time, Allview residents were allowed to use the Ellicott City addresses as long as they included a Columbia zip code.

"People had a little bit of animosity toward the new city. They wanted it to be known that they weren't Columbians; they were here before Columbians, and they were Howard Countians," she said. "Columbia brought a new life style. There was a great deal of liberalization, and I think {for} the people here, that was not their life style. They were settled people, in their late 30s, and this was a totally new concept. There was a concern what effect this liberalization would have on their family unit."

To Columbians, Allview Estates is what is known as an "outparcel," meaning it technically falls within Columbia's boundaries but was built on land not owned by the planned community's developer, The Rouse Co. As such, Allview's residents escape paying the extra taxes charged to all property owners in Columbia while enjoying the new town's amenities and, whether they like it or not, the prestige of a Columbia address. Columbia's landscape is dotted with numerous such properties that existed before the development of the new town in the early 1960s.

Although many residents still prefer to distinguish themselves from Columbians, little overt hostility remains. And some Allview residents say that a nearby burgeoning city gives them the best of both worlds.

"Columbia has certainly afforded the young people a tremendous amount of employment. We have a college and a wonderful library. Shopping has been made so much easier to do. I can't find any fault with it all," Judge said. "Let's face it, it's progress."