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NOOO! I grew up riding here in the 60's, had 5 horses there, over the years

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  • NOOO! I grew up riding here in the 60's, had 5 horses there, over the years

    Another stable in danger! From Shelley Castle.

    The Federal Highway Administration with other state and local agencies are recommending a bypass proposal that would have Richmond Highway cut through Woodlawn Stables property and riding facilities, causing the stables to have to shut down. This was a last minute proposal, introduced in private, at the Rt. 1 widening environmental assessment meetings and introduced after the public scoping and informational meetings were conducted. Though the environmental assessment has not been officially made public, we have been told by good sources that they will recommend this proposal over the previous widening-in-place proposal that did less harm to the stables and most other areas in the community.

    A few other volunteers and I have joined together to create a citizens group named “Saved Woodlawn Stables” because we feel the loss of this iconic institution, equestrian facility and beautiful historic green space would be a tragic loss to the entire community.

    As all of us in the horse community know, we are quickly losing our equestrian heritage and resources in this part of Fairfax County. We could really use everyone’s support and help in passing this information around. Attached is our position paper; we have also started a Facebook page under “Save Woodlawn Stables”. We are working with Mt. Vernon’s Supervisor Gerry Hyland and also with Rep. Moran’s office. They have not taken a position yet, but said they are willing to help if there is substantial support. We also have many local newspapers and media sources interested and investigating, so the more support we have, the more likely they will write not only about the loss of Woodlawn Stables, but all our other threatened equine facilities in the area.

    We are asking the following for right now:

    · Please read our position paper and spread it on to other horse owners and community residents that would be interested. (Note, I’m sure this email list I’m using is old, I would appreciate if it can be passed on to anyone new that is at Jarvis Stables)

    · Please “like” and share our Facebook page “Save Woodlawn Stables” with as many people as you can.

    o https://www.facebook.com/#!/savewoodlawnstables

    · Please read more about the subject on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) website at : http://www.efl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/environment.aspx (Scroll down to US Route 1 Improvements At Fort Belvoir, VA) To see the map of the original widening in place proposal and the bypass proposal that will run the highway through the barn and cut off the barn’s facilities from the pastures see here: http://www.efl.fhwa.dot.gov/files/pr...s-01.30.12.pdf

    · Please call or email Supervisor Gerry Hyland and your House of Representatives’ offices and let them know that you would like their support on opposing the current Richmond Highway widening alternative Southern bypass proposal that would shut down Woodlawn Stables and cause the removal of the historically significant Otis Mason House built in 1973 . Please see our position paper for more information.

    o Mt Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland, 703-780-7518 , mtvernon@fairfaxcounty.gov, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gerry...39849632762077

    o Rep. Jim Moran , 202-225-4376, https://moran.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

    o Rep. Gerry Connolly, 202-225-1492, https://connollyforms.house.gov/inde...tiontree=3,132

    · Please keep updated with our Facebook page for other ways to help, we will be soon adding a petition and direct ways to reach officials

    · Please show up to the final public hearing that is expected in May or June.

    If any of you have questions, feel free to contact me anytime.

    Best,

    Shelley Castle

    Spottedhorselover@gmail.com

    703-568-0188
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")
  • Original Poster

    #2
    my personal connection to the place...

    My parents moved to Alexandria in 1965, lived 2ish miles from Woodlawn, it was pretty much where I grew up riding, bought my second pony there, when I was 8, sold to us by a neighbor who had outgrown him, and had bought a TB mare to replace him, who he boarded at Woodlawn. There are old movies of him--taken from a car--riding her down the shoulder of the road on 235 (sans helmet, of course ), past the Grist Mill and to our houses, where we rode the horses in our yards. I subsequently boarded FIVE of my horses there, at various times, through college. I started in Pony Club there, and have many happy memories of the place (and a few memories. )

    My parents still live down there, right down the street. We pass it on the way down to visit them, every time. And I always say something about it, to the eye rolling tolerance of my husband and daughter. There are SO many memories (and pictures, and movies, oy--a total trip down memory lane!)

    Yet more "progress and IMPROVEMENTS in Fairfax County", (yeah, my ASS!); there are a LOT of crummy, crappy sections of Rt. 1 that they could sacrifice instead. I know the place has gone downhill over the years, but it has always kept going; a little oasis in the middle of the yucky urban/suburban sprawl--right across from the Custis Mansion (I rode on the lawn of the Mansion in 1976, a special and rare treat, allowed ONLY for the Bicentennial--I had been chosen, along with one other Woodlawn boarder--to take our horses down to OldTown Alexandria for the Bicentennial, for a photo shoot; they had a van that was staging these picture opps (for a magazine, I think?) up and down the East Coast, in "historically significant areas" of the country. We wore TriCorn hats and costumes, and posed for pictures (have one or two saved for posterity), and we rode on the cobblestone streets, I still remember the shocked looks on the faces of the diners who were having lunch at the local restaurants and looked out the window to see "two young women dressed as George Washington" riding by! Just one of my many memories of being there. It is kind of a place of living history. Alas, low rent businesses border Rt. 1, all the way down, and they are trying to do "road improvements" by widening it for traffic.

    Can I drop the F bomb??

    *SIGH*

    THIS just confirms my general contempt for "so called progress" in this area. Need to do my Yoga Breathing.
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

    Comment


    • #3
      I rode at Woodlawn for a bit too when I was a kid _ think I rode a little black pony named Smokey? this would've been in the early 70's. I also remember going to a couple of shows there - didn't they have an outside course around their arena (at that time the arena if I recall looked similar to a polo arena).

      Progress my A**, it's the stupid lack of planning fallout from the boondoggle known as BRAC! Seriously they took all these people from the Pentagon and Crystal City (and public transportation like METRO) and shifted them to places w/o metro and good public transportation and how about this no parking. So the answer is to mow down some nice little farm.

      Good luck Doolittle, I'll click on the links you've provided and do what I can.

      Comment


      • #4
        I feel your pain. Places I rode in the 60s in Houston got paved over beginning in the 70s.

        Places I hunted in Northern Virginia as late as mid-90s- housing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Life must go on.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by henrythe 7th View Post
            Life must go on.
            "Life" can go on without destroying land, (and the local history that lives with it) for a big black ROAD..

            Convenience isn't the way to happiness, and if you have your way with that attitude , those who come after you will have no reason to thank you.

            Do you ever think of the younger generation that will be effected by your "whatever" attitude?

            Comment


            • #7
              My Virginia relatives used to live very near Mt. Vernon and I can remember passing this stable many times while in the area. I always thought it was great that the stable managed to survive in the midst of so much urban sprawl.

              Route One is a mess, and needs improvement, but, as I remember, it runs along one side of the stable. I don't understand why the plan is to move the road into the stable's pastures, effectively destroying it. If you want to widen the road, just take the land along the edges of the existing thoroughfare and do it. Don't destroy a landmark.

              I don't know how good my memory is, but, isn't Woodlawn Plantation on the other side of the road? It's a wonder they aren't threatening to take that.
              If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
              Desmond Tutu

              Comment


              • #8
                I definitely feel your pain... Of the four places in San Diego where I rode when I was a tween/teen, only one still exists and it is the worst of the lot.
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for posting - I grew up riding in Chevy Chase and the horse stable made it possible for me to ride as a kid with two working parents who simply didn't have time to drive me to riding lessons further away.

                  As someone who now lives in Old Town and keeps my horses in Fairfax County, I too would like to see Woodlawn stay and will join you in writing letters to our representatives.

                  The development of Fairfax and Loudoun consistently frustrates me. Life may go on, but the quality of life in these areas is consistently decreasing due to painfully irresponsible development and will cause nightmares for years to come.
                  ---
                  They're small hearts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I already knew it was going to be the preferred choice. No surprise there. You can try to save it, as well you should since it's important to you, but do not entertain any ideas that you will be taken seriously as this road construction is a key part of a mega-millions development project for that area intended to line the pockets of many commercial and residential developers and regional construction companies who are getting in on the ten-year plan to suburbanize the area with McMansions for the overpaid DOD folk and contractors with at least one shopping center.
                    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      VDOT always wins in the end.

                      I'm so sorry. Good luck saving it. I too rode there as a child.

                      What barns are left in that county? I think only a handful? There is still Jarvis out on Mason Neck, I think Oliver's is still there... what else?
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There's one near my house that is readily accessible to the suburbanites but I can't remember the name of it for the life of me since it's not one that anyone ever talks about. There really is no economical or practical way to keep horse-related activities in Fairfax County at this point. Whatever land is available now cannot be developed as needed, is too expensive (millions per acre here), or simply unsuitable for anything relating to keeping animals.
                        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not that old (really, I'm not) and I remember when Fairfax County had dairy farms.

                          And I remember when Prince William was rural. So was Loudoun. Fauquier was really rural.

                          Guess some people think all that development is progress. Doesn't look like progress to me. Looks like an abomination.
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The funny thing about Fairfax is that if you want to build a soccer or baseball field or housing development where none exists, they will bend over backwards, pat your head, and rub your tummy to get it done, but if you want to use available land for something else like a multi-use park, they do everything to keep you from doing anything shy of taking it from you in court.
                            Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                              I'm not that old (really, I'm not) and I remember when Fairfax County had dairy farms.

                              And I remember when Prince William was rural. So was Loudoun. Fauquier was really rural.

                              Guess some people think all that development is progress. Doesn't look like progress to me. Looks like an abomination.
                              One of my best friends grew up in a farmhouse in then-rural Fairfax and he and his mom can point to a tree they used to sit under when he was small. That tree is in the middle of the parking lot at Fair Oaks Mall.

                              I've lived in Fauquier for 15 years and applaud the 'slow growth' approach, but there is no question that it is a matter of time before at least the southern end (read: non-rich folks) falls to the developers. We're getting pinched from both the Prince William and the Stafford side. The cattle farmers here are aging out and their kids have long since left for office jobs. I anticipate we'll look like South Riding in another 10 years. The latest foray: http://www.pecva.org/index.php/our-region/fauquier/633

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It's the same in any place that has a good economy.

                                There was a huge riding stable one town over from us that got sold to be developed into senior housing, maybe 10 years ago. The developer tore down most of the buildings right away. Th senior housing never happened because of finances, and now the land just sits, covered with building debris and weeds.

                                Another blast from the past: I was born in 1964 and when I was young, there was still a dairy farm right in Mission Valley in San Diego. This area is now covered with malls, condos, a freeway, etc. But when interstate 8 was built right up the valley in the late 1960s, they actually put in a tunnel for the cows, because the pasture was on one side of I-8 and barn on the other side. The cows are long gone, as is the barn, but I am pretty sure the farmhouse is still there.
                                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                  "Life" can go on without destroying land, (and the local history that lives with it) for a big black ROAD..

                                  Convenience isn't the way to happiness, and if you have your way with that attitude , those who come after you will have no reason to thank you.

                                  Do you ever think of the younger generation that will be effected by your "whatever" attitude?
                                  Unfortunately I am not of "that" generation and have not been for some time but mostly agree with the life goes on statement.

                                  It sucks...where I grew up everything is gone as that city grew. Some of it needed to go. Some of it did not but there was no money for preservation/reconstruction/upkeep. And sometimes the property owners were eager to take the money and run...something that is never shared publically.

                                  Maybe your Woodlawn is operated by those who want out? Maybe they are getting taxed to death and feel it's time??? I think it is worth noting that the proposal here was made in a PRIVATE session and all but approved????

                                  Are the property owners actively fighting this???
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I taught at Woodlawn in the late 90s and seem to remember that the Mitchells don't own that land. I think Woodlawn Plantation, or the historic trust maybe, owns the land and the Mitchells lease it. And I want to say that they had a very long lease. Leases can be broken, but most historic trusts tend to be preservationists, so there may be some hope that Woodlawn Plantation would not be happy about these developments.

                                    I wouldn't, however, get any hopes up for Rep. Moran assisting in any way.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm not sure who owns the land and I don't think it's controlled by the National Trust like what remains of the Woodlawn Plantation property, but I remember being told (and seeing evidence of this) that the stable land was once used as a dumping ground for something as there are plastic barrier sheets in the ground if you dig or happen upon eroded ground on the property.
                                      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Low voter turnout does wonderful things, doesn't it?

                                        Where I was, there were also long term historical trusts involved. But they did not figure on skyrocketing land costs and governments eager for the revenue road improvements and development generate.

                                        There is a shot Woodlawn trust is bartering that potion of their land to keep the Plantation itself viable. You might want to investigate that as a starting point. If they want to turn it over, want that money, there is no point forcing them to keep it.

                                        Would that trust want to get onboard with your petition? It would certainly give it more credance with the local government. IF they do.

                                        If it's not owned by the trust, see who does actually own that land. If they want to sell, it's a lost cause to force them to keep it. It may also be classified as a former dump site or something and cannot be sold except for certain uses-like a road.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                        Comment

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