Wessynton - Alexandria, VA
Located in the far southern region of Alexandria is a gem of a mid-century modern subdivision known as Wessynton. There’s about 156 homes here, nestled into a hilly portion of the larger Mount Vernon area. The neighborhood is bordered by Little Hunting Creek which leads out to the Potomac River, with 23 waterfront homes sitting right along the water.
This part of Alexandria is in Fairfax County and is known both for its lengthy history. The land dates all the way back to Doeg Indians, followed by colonial setters. Mount Vernon along with other surrounding properties once belonged to George Washington and his family. During the 1960s, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association sold 65 acres of wooded land to a developer. And so Wessynton was born, with stylish homes nestled into natural settings, along with tennis courts, a swimming pool, clubhouse, boat dock on the river and 20 acres that remained undeveloped as Wessynton Forest.
Homes in Wessynton were built between the late 1960s and 1970s with Nicolas A. Pappas of Deigert, Yerkes and Associates as the chief architect. There were five models, including River, Forest, Garden, Manor and Meadow. Like other modernists of the day, Pappas designed homes that would suit their natural surroundings, set into the curve of the hilly woodlands on large ungraded lots.
At the time of the community’s conception, home buyers in the Washington Metropolitan area had many choices—old and traditional architecture, mainstream mid-century movements like Ramblers and split-levels, and homes for sale with a more iconic, modernist look. The latter was a trend that cropped up in certain suburbs across the country including the west coast, and locally as well—the remarkable modernist Hollin Hills neighborhood is a couple miles north of Wessynton.
But Wessynton itself offered an interesting blend of different archetypes. For instance, the River Home of which there were 37, incorporated a U-shaped Rambler look with contemporary flair including a 16-foot entry, slate floors, walnut paneling and open living space. The large Meadow Home, on the other hand, combined a modernist single-story wing with a two-story quasi-Colonial structure.
Common attributes to all models included large windows, redwood ceilings and redwood outdoor decks. The exteriors were finished in tones that comported with the natural surroundings, such as sand, olive and pale yellow. Primary colors were avoided except as accents. Fences were also frowned on, both due to the large size of the lots and in an effort to preserve the natural flow of the terrain. To learn more about home for sale in the Wessynton area, call District Partners at Compass, (202) 798-3600.
These days, an architectural review committee works with the Wessynton Home Association to help preserve the integrity of the community’s original design philosophy. In other words, don’t purchase a home here in hopes of tearing it down to build a McMansion. This is a neighborhood that prides itself on originality. Properties don’t often come to market but recent prices have been in a reasonable mid to high six figure range.
Residents can easily get to Old Town Alexandria and Washington DC via the George Washington Memorial Parkway which hugs the coastline. Or, take Mount Vernon Highway to Route 1. With swimming, boating, tennis and nature walks, plus lots of organized community activities, Wessynton offers a relaxed upscale lifestyle in a great location.