For Emolyn Yranela, living in Arlington County’s Lyon Park means convenience. She can walk to the main Arlington post office, Trader Joe’s, the Clarendon Metro station and her bank.
“It’s a very nice neighborhood,” said the retired registered nurse, who has lived in her home for almost 35 years.
For John Goldener, 39, and his wife, Carol, living in Lyon Park means their two children — who are in second and third grade — can attend Long Branch Elementary School in a neighborhood that feels like a small town but is minutes from the District.
“It seemed to be, for us, the perfect mix,” said Goldener, who is president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association. “You can find a house that is not astronomically expensive and can get to Clarendon Metro,” he said.
Lyon Park consists of second-generation residents, immigrant families, empty-nesters, couples with young children and those with college-age children, Goldener said.
Developed after World War I: Lyon Park was developed as a planned residential community between 1891 and 1951, according to the Interior Department, the National Park Service and the National Register of Historic Places. “Lyon Park is an excellent example of one of the many residential subdivisions that emerged in Arlington County after the First World War to support the burgeoning population flocking to the nation’s capital and its suburbs,” the National Register of Historic Places notes.
Lyon Park was the first of several Arlington County suburbs that developer Frank Lyon platted, according to the National Register of Historic Places. Lyon and Fitch Inc., which was later renamed Lyon Properties, developed it. Designed by engineer and landscape architect William Sunderman, Lyon Park was comprised of “sloping and flat lots available with or without trees, along both curving and grid-pattern streets, all expanding from a central community park,” the National Register of Historic Places said.
In fact, to this day, the park itself — named Lyon Park — is owned and maintained by the Lyon Park Citizens Association, as is the Lyon Park Community House, which dates to 1925, and is undergoing renovation.
A 1920 promotional brochure, produced by Lyon Properties, touted the amenities of Lyon Park, including “natural shade, pure water, clean sewers, gas, electricity, cement sidewalks, mail by carrier, playgrounds and parks,” according to “Historical Analysis of Lyon Park, Arlington County, Va.,” an unpublished paper done in 1988 by Amy Ballard and others at George Washington University.
At first, the commuter railways connected the area to the District. Later, streetcar and ultimately, cars and Metro became the major mode of transportation to and from LyonPark.
Architectural diversity: The streets — most of which form a grid while a few meander up and down hills — are dotted largely with single-family homes ranging from 2
Styles include Queen Anne, Craftsman, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival. The various styles represented in Lyon Park reflect “suburbanization of the style rather than the initial high-style expression,” according to the National Register of Historic Places. Some are catalogue houses, while others are new homes built where a previous one stood, a trend in neighborhoods throughout the region.
“This is definitely not your cookie-cutter kind of neighborhood,” said Natalie U. Roy, a past president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association who is now the vice president for programs. “You definitely have a sense of neighborhood and community.”
While parts of Lyon Park are within two to three blocks of the Clarendon Metro station and the surrounding shopping and restaurants, the neighborhood is roughly bisected by Washington Boulevard, a major thoroughfare that cuts through the neighborhood.
To the east, a former strip shopping mall was transformed into mixed-use development that has brought some restaurants and other shopping into the neighborhood along with residential space above it.
Living there: Lyon Park is bordered by 10th Street North to the north, Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) to the east and south, and North Irving Street to the west.
In the past year, approximately 30 properties have sold in Lyon Park, according to Roy, who is also an agent with Keller Williams Realty.
In addition to lower-priced condominium units, they range from a four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial from the 1940s that sold for $630,000 to a new farmhouse-style five-bedroom, five-bath home that sold for $1.735 million.
Three single-family homes are now on the market, including a three-bedroom, three-bath 1938 Cape Cod listed at $945,000 and a new Craftsman-style six-bedroom, seven-bath house listed for $1.995 million.
Schools: Long Branch Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle and Washington-Lee High.
Transit: Lyon Park can be reached from the Clarendon Metro stop on the Orange and Silver lines as well as the 38B Metrobus line. Arlington Transit routes serving the area include the 41 and 42. Capital Bikeshare has several locations in Lyon Park and nearby Clarendon.
Crime: In the past 12 months, according to Arlington County, there were three aggravated assaults, three robberies and six burglaries in Lyon Park.
Harriet Edleson is a freelance writer.