Chapel Square is a charming Annandale neighborhood of gently rolling streets, cul-de-sacs, and brick homes with manicured yards. It is ensconced among old-growth oak, poplar, beech, pine and maple trees, minutes from the Beltway in eastern Fairfax County. Residents celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
The community stretches across 60 to 70 acres and is dotted with 167 houses on roughly one-third-acre lots, all with at least four to five bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,000 square feet before additions. Many residents have made improvements over the years or added another room, such as a dining room or a master bedroom, “but the bones are good,” said Tammi Curran, a 20-year resident.
The houses were built as one-level ramblers and two-level Colonials with seven floor plans. Underground utilities keep the streetscape suburban-looking and over the years helped prevent power outages.
Kettler Brothers built the community in the 1960s. It is credited with siting the houses within folds of the topography and terrain, thereby creating an attractive visual landscape with abundant trees. Sales materials from 1965 emphasized land planning, diverse architecture and well-proportioned rooms.
“That’s why we have huge trees in our front and back yards,” said Charles Hookey, who moved there in 1992.
“We’re the beneficiaries of the Kettlers’ original activism and environmental consciousness,” said Curran, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates whose husband, Charlie C. Curran, is a past president of the civic association.
Esprit de corps: Sitting around the table in Curran’s kitchen one morning, several longtime friends and neighbors talked about their community. “The first time I walked through the front door,” Curran recalled, “I got goose bumps.”
Susan Burk, recording secretary of the civic association, said she and her husband stumbled on the neighborhood and moved there in 1986. “Our Realtor told us ‘no one ever moves,’ and that’s so true. Our son was born three weeks after moving in. He just turned 29. Now we’re empty-nesters and still want to stay. I want to be the old lady walking around the block while people drive by me to work.”
Hookey, another past president of the civic association, reminisced about joining the babysitting co-op in 1994. “I became a stay-at-home dad when Glen was 3 and David 18 months. It was a way for social interaction, and I was a pioneer and a novelty,” he said.
There’s an esprit de corps among residents that makes them feel connected. In 1996, when the Currans moved in, a number of parents didn’t work outside the home. “It was a luxury for me to have friends whom I could call if my daughter, Annie, was sick,” Tammi Curran said.
There are still people to rely on. “Like when we had a water breakdown in our basement, I knew whom to call,” said Burk, “and when we go on vacation, I send an email to my cul-de-sac.”
“We take out the trash cans of elderly or incapacitated neighbors,” said Hookey.
“People always shovel for me,” said Glenna Luttrell, an original owner who moved in on July 4, 1965.
“Classic Chapel Square neighborly behavior. People are thoughtful,” added Curran.
Neighborhood events: Membership in the civic association is voluntary, as are dues of $25 per family. “We use our modest treasury to defray the cost of community events like the annual Halloween parade and the farewell celebration for postman Joe Zarnick, who delivered mail along the Chapel Square route for 17 years,” Hookey said.
The civic association will sponsor its WinterFest networking cocktail party on Feb. 20 at Kilroy’s, a restaurant and sports bar in Springfield. Local jazz musicians with Virginia Musical Adventures will perform.
Living there: Chapel Square, Zip code 22003, sits east of Holborn Avenue and west of Wakefield Park. Its houses are on Toll House Road, Duncan Drive and the cul-de-sacs that branch off those streets. The community consists entirely of single-family houses, and, according to Curran, none are now for sale or under contract.
Eight properties sold in the past year, at prices ranging from $560,000 for a five-bedroom, three-bathroom fixer-upper to $738,000 for an updated five-bedroom, four-bath house.
Fifty years ago, the new houses were priced from $33,250 to $37,950, according to the master price list from February 1965. “We paid $38,000 for our house because it came with a garage,” Luttrell said.
Schools: Wakefield Forest Elementary, Frost Middle and Woodson High.
Transit and shopping: The closest Metro station is Dunn Loring-Merrifield on the Orange Line. All-day parking there is $4.85; there are 30 short-term metered spots and 40 bicycle racks. Metro’s 29W bus provides express service to the Pentagon from Toll House Road. Kings Park and Ravensworth shopping centers are nearby for grocery shopping. Merrifield’s Mosaic District is less than six miles away, and Tysons Corner Center is about eight miles away.
Crime: According to Fairfax County’s online crime map, the area had one burglary, one larceny and one drug offense in the past year.