Where We Live | Fort Hunt in Alexandria, Va.

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Fort Hunt is a neighborhood of single-family houses 15 minutes south of Washington along the Potomac River. The population of nearly 17,000 is mostly families and retirees. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post)

Driving down Fort Hunt Road in Alexandria, the center of the Fort Hunt neighborhood, you are swept back to an idyllic time of post-World War II suburbia, where split levels and kids on bikes ruled the streets and Little League games dominated Saturday activities.

“When I came here in 2005 to look for houses, I saw parents walking with coffee mugs in their hands as kids ran around while they walked around the neighborhood,” says Brian Costanzo, who moved to Fort Hunt from San Francisco. “I thought, this is exactly where I want to raise my kids.”

Even with updated homes, Fort Hunt has retained its 1950s small-town charm. Now, many of the refreshed split levels blend in architecturally with the older homes on well-kept lawns surrounding leafy streets.

Paul Murphy, an engineer with the Navy, has lived in Fort Hunt “for all of my 55 years,” he says. After college at Virginia Tech, he returned home and married a fellow student from Fort Hunt High School, which operated from 1963 to 1985.

They had four children who all participated in Fort Hunt’s many youth sporting opportunities, he says. Murphy has been involved with four neighborhood Little League teams over the past 18 years.

“We have a lot of volunteerism in this area. It’s what makes the community tick,” Murphy says.

Situated just 15 miles south of metropolitan Washington, Fort Hunt is isolated from the city by a multitude of parks, creeks, recreation areas and school grounds. But its history predates America’s mid-20th century suburbs.

Fort Hunt Park, near the southernmost part of Fort Hunt, was originally part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, which he took over from his brother in 1761. Over the years, the 136-acre park has transformed from batteries during the Spanish-American War to a field hospital for 43,000 Bonus Marchers — World War I veterans and their families who descended in 1932 on Washington, D.C., to demand back pay for their service.

During World War II, the site housed secret World War II military intelligence operations and an interrogation center for prisoners of war.

Today the park is the jewel of the Fort Hunt neighborhood, says Jason Quimby, director of the Fort Hunt Realty Group, who has lived in Fort Hunt for more than 20 years.

Run by the National Park Service, the park is home to pavilions for parties, woods, a bike and walking path around the perimeter, and open fields for recreation and sports. In the summer the site hosts a regular Sunday night concert series.

Fort Hunt residents take pride in their close-knit community and time-honored values, Quimby says.

North of Fort Hunt Park, on Fort Hunt Road, is the area’s original shopping center, built in 1958.

“Hollin Hall Shopping Center hasn’t changed since I was a kid,” Murphy says.

The anchors of the center are a small Safeway and the Hollin Hall Variety Store. “When you walk into our store, you will feel like you stepped back to 1958,” its Facebook page says. Like a five-and-dime from yesterday, the Variety Store is packed with more than 12,000 items, from Shrinky Dinks and candy cigarettes to fabric, notions and knickknacks. It has employed the neighborhood’s teenagers for generations and is emblematic of the community’s values, Murphy says.

“The Variety Store and others in the shopping center sponsor our youth sports teams and really contribute to our small-town feel,” Murphy says.

Intersecting roads on tree-lined Fort Hunt Road lead to four different recreation associations, each with a pool, tennis courts and playgrounds. They are the heartbeat of the area’s social life, says Costanzo, who has served as president of Fort Hunt’s Waynewood Recreation Center since 2016.

Waynewood Recreation Center has a four- to five-year waiting list for membership. Mount Vernon Park pool has a one- to two-year wait list.

“I always say, if you want to know what’s going on in Fort Hunt, go to the pool,” says Quimby.

The Fort Hunt neighborhoods of Stratford Landing, Waynewood, Mount Vernon Park and Hollin Meadows each have their own pools — with tennis and swim lessons and parties and activities for children and adults during the summer.

The area attracts a lot of military families, thanks to its proximity to the Pentagon about 12 miles away, and Fort Belvoir, about eight miles southwest, Quimby says. Government families also populate the community, says Murphy.

A classic suburb that has resisted commercial buildup, Fort Hunt has no condominiums and no multifamily houses. Just single-family homes for its population of almost 17,000 mostly families and retirees.

Fort Hunt has 28 single-family houses for sale. The lowest-priced home is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, split-foyer house for $525,000. The highest-priced home at $4.5 million is a four-bedroom, six-bathroom Colonial on two acres with water frontage.

The average sale price for a home in 2018 was $732,628.

Living there: Fort Hunt is bound by Morningside Lane to the north, the Potomac River and the George Washington Parkway to the east, Little Hunting Creek to the west and south, and Fort Hunt Park to the south.

Schools: Waynewood Elementary, Stratford Landing Elementary, Fort Hunt Elementary, Hollin Meadows Elementary, Whitman Middle, Sandburg Middle, and West Potomac High.

Transit: The 11Y Metrobus runs from Fort Hunt to the Reagan Building in downtown Washington. The Huntington Metro station on the Yellow Line is about five miles from the center of Fort Hunt. The 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail, which follows the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to Theodore Roosevelt Island, is a popular route for cyclists into the District.