In the beginning, there were 6,750 acres of trees, fields, and cows — and a self-described “Jewish guy from Manhattan” with a yellow legal pad, trying to figure out what to do with this large chunk of land that he was about to buy in the suburbs of Washington.
“So I worked out on the yellow pad,” Robert E. Simon Jr. said, “everything I could think of that I’d seen in the world that appealed to me.” That included vibrant village plazas with both shopping and housing, concentrations of high-rise apartment buildings and clusters of residences that allowed more green space for recreation. It was 1961, and all of these ideas were contrary to how suburbs were then being built.
Simon took title to the rolling Fairfax County acreage soon afterward, and by 1964 the first residents were moving into his “New Town.” Fifty years later, the town he christened with his own initials — Reston — has nearly 60,000 residents and about 60,000 daily workers and is soon to welcome its first Metro stop on the new Silver Line.
On Saturday, Reston plans to celebrate “Founder’s Day” with parties and a new documentary film, and the following week, Simon will celebrate his 100th birthday. He still lives in Reston and enjoys strolling and chatting up passersby in the town he created. . . .Click here for the rest of this article.
In the video accompanying the article, Founder Bob Simon says:
(Metrorail) is just a tremendous investment. And I am wondering who will be using it. I mean the kids aren't going to be using it. The elderly aren't going to be using it. The people who live in Reston and work in Reston aren't going to be using it.Yes, well we're spending six billion dollars to build it and the County has just authorized a doubling of station area building density (including about 40,000 new people and jobs)--so somebody better use it!