The historic neighborhood of Maywood, in North Arlington, has come a long way in the 30 years since Joan Lawrence purchased her American Foursquare on Lincoln Street.

Gone are the “rough characters who rode motorcycles,” she says, the glut of rental properties, and the nails that the previous homeowner — “an elderly lady” – used to secure the windows on the first floor of the house Lawrence bought.

Today, wooden swings hang from mature oak trees, and treehouses dot several yards.

“It’s amazing to see how the neighborhood has changed over the past 30 years,” said Lawrence, an intellectual-property lawyer.

Sears catalogue houses:
Maywood’s transformation, from sketchy to tranquil, happened gradually, but it wasn’t without intention, said Cynthia Liccese-Torres, coordinator of Arlington County’s historic-preservation program.

Most of the homes in Maywood date to the early 1900s, and a few are original mail-order houses from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue. Home styles are varied, ranging from Queen Anne to Colonial, Tudor Revival to Craftsman. Residents worked for years to have the entire 46-acre neighborhood declared a local historic district.

The effort paid off in 1990, when Maywood received its historic designation. Liccese-Torres said the community was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

She said that the community’s historic designation creates a framework to help guide residents through design and repair projects that contribute to Maywood’s old-fashioned charm — a major selling point for potential home buyers.

“Residents of Maywood really appreciate having a physical, tangible connection to the past by living in a home that’s been standing for 100 years or longer,” Liccese-Torres said. “It’s also one of the rare neighborhoods in the area that truly has a sense of community.”

No McMansions:
Andrew Porter said that his family was drawn to Maywood by the idea of raising his two preschool-age daughters in a community full of homes that felt plucked from a bygone era.

“The historical designation really helps preserve the character of the neighborhood,” said Porter, a lawyer in his mid-30s who lives on 23rd Road. “You don’t have to deal with people tearing down the original structures and replacing them with huge McMansions on tiny lots.”

Holly Beville, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, said that many of Maywood’s residents view their community as a much-needed escape from the frenetic pace of the city.

“Maywood offers residents access to a lifestyle outside of the bustle associated with Washington. A lot of residents appreciate being hidden and tucked away, but close enough to easily access lively activities and dining,” Beville said.

Courtney Vincento, 28, a freelance copy editor, said that Maywood offers a great mixture of neighbors and just “seems like such a nice place to raise a family.”

Cecilia Kennedy has lived on 23rd Street for 20 years and said she enjoys regular meet-ups with neighbors, such as the monthly women’s book and wine club, and “sitting on my front porch when the weather is nice and talking to neighbors.” She adds: “It’s all so very informal and warm.”

Holly Beville, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, said that many of Maywood’s residents view their community as a much-needed escape from the frenetic pace of the city. (Evy Mages/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Living there:
The neighborhood is bordered roughly by Lorcom Lane to the north, Interstate 66 to the east, Lee Highway to the south and Nelson Street to the west.

In the past 12 months, 17 properties sold in the area, ranging from a two-bedroom, one-bathroom Cape Cod for $530,000 to a six-bedroom, four-bath Colonial for $1,312,500, said Beville, the agent with McEnearney Associates.

Beville said no Maywood homes are now on the market; two are under contract, for $899,900 and $1,398,000.

Taylor Elementary, Swanson Middle and Washington-Lee High.

Metrobus’s 3A route runs through Maywood, and Arlington Transit service is nearby. The closest Metrorail stations, Clarendon and Court House on the Orange and Silver lines, are a little over a mile away.

From January to late September, the area that includes Maywood had one robbery, one assault and one report of trespassing, according to Sgt. Mohammed Tabibi of the Arlington County Police Department.

Lester Davis is a freelance writer.