Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
January 2004

President's Message

Holiday Decorations Provide Cheer for Community and Area

Rose Hill is now a destination for folks out admiring holiday decorations. And, as has been the case for the last 5 or 6 years, the tour was rewarding.

Visitors and Rose Hill residents alike could not miss the outstanding display at the Mayo household at the comer of Rose Hill Drive and Leewood Drive. And, although you had to know its location, the Dillons on Winston Place off Cottonwood Drive in Rose Hill Park was just as impressive.

Both properties were awarded grand prizes in the 2003 Holiday Decoration Contest. The Downey residence on Telegraph Road once again qualified for the Hall of Fame award as a fitting tribute to Willard Downey, who passed away last October (see next article).

The Mayo and Dillon properties received stiff competition from 21 other residences that combined to make Rose Hill a wonderland of Holiday cheer. Certificates also were awarded to six properties in specific categories. And, another 68 properties were cited for outstanding displays. .

If you think we missed someone because maybe they did not have their lights on the night the judges made their rounds, please give us a call and we will add the name(s) in next month's Rambler. Likewise, give us a call if we have the name wrong or it is misspelled.

The best Christmas outdoor trees were at the Luginvills on Rose Hill Drive, the Eppolitos on Driftwood Drive, and the Dodsons on Wayside Place. Since the judges could not decide to give either the window or door award to Cynthia Johnson-Carey of Eastchester, they decided to establish a category for the best entrance and give it to her.

The Doyles on Willowood once again won the best door award and Pearl Butler on Cottonwood Drive had what was judged to be the best window.

Certificates will be presented to all the winners at the January 27th meeting of the Rose Hill Civic Association at 7pm at the John Marshall Library. Please attend to claim your certificate. It is the community's way of saying thank you for all your hard work. If you cannot attend, we will try to get the certificate to you over the next few weeks.

A Fitting Tribute

The decorations were in place at the Downeys on Telegraph Road this past Christmas as a memorial to the memory of Willard Downey, who passed away last October after a long illness. For many years, Mr. Downey had brought Holiday cheer to Rose Hill and the entire area through his extensive decorations and religious displays.

"We did it because we knew that's what he would have wanted," Mrs. Myma Downey said. The Downey's son Richard and grandson Matthew, with the help of a neighbor, put up the decorations. "We didn't get it all up," Mrs. Downey said, "but we did the best we could." That was good enough to catch the eye of the thousands of passersby on Telegraph Road and the judges in the Rose Hill Holiday Decoration contest.

Since the Downeys have won a grand prize in the contest for as long as anyone can remember, the judges last year decided to establish the Hall of Fame award and annually award it to the Downeys.

The Downeys moved to Rose Hill in 1968 after purchasing the house from Mrs. Downey's father, James Colette, who had lived there since 1961. Mrs. Colette died a few years before her husband.

Both Willard and Myrna Downey had worked for the Pomponio companies that built most of Roslyn and Crystal City. Mr. Downey served as an Army medic in Korea and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Although Willard Downey is no longer with us, his memory remains strong especially during holidays because of the efforts of his family and friends.

Rose Hill Apartments Report

Mona Williams, the manager of Rose Hill Apartments, will be our speaker at the January meeting on Tuesday the 27th at 7pm in the community room of the John Marshall Library. She will update us on what is happening at our large neighbor. Mona is no stranger to the area, having grown up in Springfield and previously worked at Lee District Park. RHCA and the apartments have worked together on several projects in recent years and the complex's maintenance crew keeps the median of Rose Hill Drive in outstanding shape with regular mowing and seasonal plantings. We are working together to repair the entrance sign (see next article) and remove some dead trees from the median.

Entrance Sign Repair

We are working with Ron Dillon of Winston Place to come up with an affordable cost to repair the stone work on the entrance sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road. Apparently, a large vehicle failed to make the turn and hit the sign, knocking off the stones. Ron's company includes some personnel who can repair the sign. We hope to obtain their services during downtime or off-hours in order to have the repairs done at a price we can afford. Rose Hill Apartments, which has agreed to make a contribution toward repair of the sign, obtained one estimate of $3,000. Since that figure is out of our reach, we are hoping to get it done for a much more reasonable figure. As you renew your membership, make note of the fact that contributions will be greatly appreciated. Check off the box for contributions on the form below to the general fund and the money will be used to repair the sign.

Financial Report

On page 12 you will find the Association's financial report for 2003. Be advised that the total income includes funds from members who signed up for 2004 during last December. The major expenditures are for printing of The Rambler, the Rose Hill Beauty signs, and landscaping services for the entrance sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road. We received generous contributions to offset the costs of the seasonal landscaping at the sign. Also received were contributions toward purchase of a flag and renovation of the flagpole and shrubbery on the hill at Lee District Park entrance overlooking Telegraph Road. The flag, which flew over the United States Capitol, was provided at no cost by Congressman Moran. We have not yet received a bill for the cost of renovation. We may wind up making a donation to Lee District Park in lieu of actual costs. We are planning to hold a ceremony on or about Flag Day 2004 (June 14) to raise the new flag. Congressman Moran and representatives of the Park Authority will be invited to participate in the ceremony. If you have any questions about the finances, please either ask them at the January 27th meeting or call or email Treasurer Carolyn Slenska or myself.

Fines for Junk Cars Coming?

Supervisor Dana Kauffman of Lee District has proposed tougher laws governing the removal of junk or inoperable cars on private property. Both RHCA and the neighboring Virginia Hills Civic Association have been pressing the County to make it easier to remove wrecks and vehicles without valid tags and county stickers and/or inspection stickers from full view on private property.

At present, only the Police Chief or the single officer assigned to impoundment duties for cars on private property can take action to remove these vehicles. Under Kauffman's plan, any officer or auxiliary police officer could ticket and fine junk or inoperable cars on private property. Failure to respond to the ticket could trigger impoundment.

Currently, the police can ticket any junk or inoperable car parked on a public street.

The County staff will evaluate Supervisor Kauffman's proposal and recommend action to the full Board of Supervisors. RHCA supports the proposal as a method of ridding eyesores from our community.

Development Update

Members of a RHCA committee are continuing discussions with the developers who want to build Rose Hill Park Section III. The developers have provided written answers to questions and requests made on behalf of the community. Those comments are available online at Click on correspondence and you can follow the latest information available. Protection for current residents in the form of a bond established to repair any damage to existing homes caused by the development are the main thrust of the comments. The committee and RHCA also are working to expand buffers in specific areas of the plan. If approved by the committee and RHCA, those written comments will become part of the County's approval process. At present, the request is to be heard as part of a public hearing before the Planning Commission on March 11. No date has been set for the Board of Supervisors public hearing. If the request is approved, the developers then will begin the second phase of the process by submitting detailed plans to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Management.

Approval of those plans is mandatory before any building can begin. An up-to-date report will be made at the February 24 RHCA meeting.

In the case of Highland Estates, the County continues to defend its approval of the development plan that has resulted in devastation (my words) of the hillside behind homes on Climbhill Road, Roundhill Road, Saddletree Drive, and adjacent to the properties on Maryview Street that border the property. Hopefully, our complaints will result in changes to the Zoning Ordinance that will help prevent future approvals of development plans such as Highland Estates. Supervisor Kauffman has begun a process that will better police the approval of irregularly shaped and odd-shaped lots. RHCA has also asked the County to change its procedure for calculating the density penalty for development on marine clay. It appears the County staff is using outdated maps to determine the extent of marine clay rather than more recent engineering. You can find all of the correspondence on this subject on

--Carl Sell

Do Not Forget To Renew Your 2004 Membership

This year marks Rose Hill's 50th anniversary and one of the ways we would like to celebrate is by having a very large membership. Those of you who join and contribute are helping keep Rose Hill an excellent place in which to live. Your Civic Association is committed to continuing to be the catalyst in improving our little comer of the world.

If you are interested in how the Association spends your money, a rundown for the entire year 2003 is included in this issue of The Rambler. We hope you will agree that we accomplish a lot on a shoestring budget! If you do not agree, come to the meetings and tell us how to improve!

Your membership and contribution pays for the printing of The Rambler, the Rose Hill Beauty contest signs (available to members only), the cell phone for neighborhood watch, the post office box, and supports several charities and community organizations. We save money by using volunteers to deliver The Rambler. And, our excellent website,, is maintained at no cost to the Association.

This year, we are asking for contributions to provide funds for a 50th anniversary program and continued maintenance of the plantings at the entrance sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road. Because the stonework on the sign was damaged last year, we are going to incur a major expense for repair. The owners of the Rose Hill apartments have offered to make a contribution toward the repair and we hope that, combined with your contributions, will be enough to complete the job.

Please fill out the membership form on page 2. Mail it the RHCA or better yet, bring it to the January 27th meeting!

You also can find a form at While you are there, take a look at all the interesting information about your community. You will also find links to State and County websites along with other informative sites.

We cannot be effective without the support of the community!

Members as of January 14, 2004

Nida & Jerry Antonio   6406 May Boulevard
Donald E. Bise    4423 Roundhill Road
James & Edith Bradbury   6427 Carriage Drive
Bob Brown   4526 Apple Tree Drive
Pearl Butler    6401 Cottonwood Drive
Raul & Kelly Castillo   6413 Willowood Lane
Bev & Norm Cherkis    6300 Saddle Tree Drive
Robert G. Ciccotelli    6511 Haystack Lane
Sally Coler    6401 Hayfield Place
Francis Dugan    6118 Driftwood Drive
Wahed Faraz    4608 Roundhill Road
Helen Flahive    6416 Cottonwood Drive
Helen Hass   6304 Cottonwood Drive
Elmer & Alice Haupt    6208 Thornwood Drive
L.M. Holman    4611 Roundhill Road
Rick & Karen Jones    6420 Willowood Lane
James & Lynda Kandul   6218 Blossom Lane
Randy & Eloise Lewis   4501 Bee Street
Edna Mitchell 6305 May Boulevard
Twila Noble 6316Rose Hill Drive
David & Nancy Ridgeway   4609 Cottonwood Place
Jim & Pat Sapp    6422 Haystack Road
Kathleen Schaefer    5912 Ewing Place
Carl & Marti Sell    6601 Cottonwood Drive
Ray M. Stone    4528 Roundhill Road
Connie Vincenzes    6610 Cottonwood Drive
Karen Wheeless    6709 Greendale Road
Jeff & Anita Williams   6121 Dew Grass Court Update

I have made several updates to The updates include:

  • Rose Hill Heritage: I have created a new category on the home page entitled "Rose Hill Heritage." Under this category, you will find a list of the historical information we have gathered so far. Carl Sell has contributed, with the help of many others, historical information on a variety of topics including the latest historical information on the John Marshall Library. In addition, Carl is working on the history of the Rose Hill Shopping Center and the surrounding parks. Once he has it pull together, I will add it to the webpage. If you have any historical information to contribute, be sure to drop Carl a note. I know he will be very pleased to hear from you.
  • RHCA Correspondence: I have added several new documents to the RHCA Correspondence database. The additions include several related to the Highland Estates development and one letter related to the Rose Hill Section III development plans. The correspondence is in chronological order. Simply click on the dates to review the files.

    As part of the RHCA correspondence, I have included the Proposed Special Exception Development Conditions presented to the RHCA Development Review Committee by potential developers of Rose Hill Section III. If you recall, developers Diane Basheer and Kenneth Thompson presented their plans to develop Rose Hill Section III in recent meetings of the RHCA. They have listened carefully to our concerns and have drafted the conditions they will present to the County when they apply for a Special Exception to develop the property. Please review these conditions carefully and let Carl know of any concerns or questions you may have. As Joe Gibbs says, "This is a work in progress." (Please don't ask who Joe Gibbs is :-) There is a long way to go before the final development plans are presented and approved by the County. It is important that we continue to be engaged in the process along the way.

  • 2003 Holiday Decoration Winners: I have added the 2003 Holiday Decoration Contest Winners to the webpage. If we inadvertently spelled your name wrong, please call or email one of the RHCA officers and we will correct it. If we do not have your name listed with your address please let me know so I can correct your certificate. Congratulations to our winners for "brightening our Holiday" and a special thanks to Carl and Terrie for making the selections.
  • Other Useful Links: I continue to add helpful and informative links to this webpage. You will find them helpful when you need to know a phone number, a recipe, a new/used car, definition of a medical term, tomorrow's weather forecast, how many sticks of butter in a cup, or what "Granizo a los Pieles Rojas" means. If you have a favorite link that would be helpful to others, drop me a note and I will add it to the list. This could very well become the "One Stop Shop" you have been looking for.
  • Crime Reports: I continue to update the Crime Reports on a weekly basis. I usually get the reports on Friday and they are added to the website by the weekend. We are fortunate that crime within our community is very rare. The same cannot be said for some of the surrounding communities, especially some of our nearby shopping districts. It is very useful to review the crime reports on a regular basis to keep yourself and your family informed of the criminal activity in our area. YOU are the first line of defense to prevent crime. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity.
  • Rose Hill Moms Group: I have added the following inquiry to our home page: Are you interested in meeting other moms in the Rose Hill area? Are you a stay-at-home mom with young children who is looking to form friendships with other moms? If you are interested in forming a Rose Hill Moms Group, please contact Beth Balmanno, 703.921.0792, or by email at
  • RHCA Membership: Have you sent in your RHCA membership dues yet? If not, there is a convenient online membership application form just for you. Just fill it out and send it in. What could be easier? The fee is low and the benefits are great. Support your RHCA--they are working hard to keep our community a wonderful place to live.

On average, gets about 285 visitors a month. I know you were one of them, but how about your neighbor? Please tell a friend about our website; this may be just the "good news" they have been looking for.

Take care everyone.

---Jim Sapp

Our Journey to Rose Hill - One Family's Memories About Their Move

In 1954 our family lived in military quarters at South Post, Fort Myer, where I was stationed. We were interested in buying a house so we could move out of the quarters. Every weekend we would scan the newspapers for houses that we could quality for with a GI loan. We would see ads for houses in the $20,000 range and would drive to see the models, but they cost more than we could quality for. Then, in early September, we saw this ad for a three bedroom, 11/2 bath, brick rambler for only $13,500. So on a Sunday afternoon we took a drive out to the "country." We drove Shirley Highway to Springfield and then took Franconia Road east. After a drive along this country road we came to a sign for the Rose Hill development. We turned into a country driveway that was lined with maple trees and drove up the driveway to two model houses. One of the models was the basic house and the other model had all of the extras you could add. These included wood parquet flooring, brick fire place, kitchen exhaust fan, cement patio, and central air conditioning.

We were very impressed with the house and initiated steps to purchase one. The sales person drove us over the area in a jeep so we could decide which lot to select. We came to the edge of the open field and to a completely wooded area. We thought we would like to have large trees around the house so we selected a lot in the wooded area. Now came the wait for the house to be constructed.

Almost every weekend we took a drive out to the "country" to check the construction progress on our house. Finally, in February 1955, the house was completed and ready to be occupied. On Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1955, we moved into our beautiful new home on Cottonwood Drive in Rose Hill. The day was cold and cloudy but it was so great to be in our own home. Cottonwood Drive was not paved and the mud was really bad at the corner of Cottonwood and Apple Tree. It was not unusual for cars to have problems navigating this area. One of our neighbors was Betty Currie. She worked in the office of the builder, Mr. Morrell, and lived across the street from us. If we found any problem with the house, we just went across the street and told Betty.

In the summer of 1957, I was transferred to Germany where our family lived for 3 years. In the early- and mid-1970s, we lived in the Tidewater area for a few years. Other than these two times we have enjoyed living in Rose Hill, seeing all the growth and the many changes.

--Bill and Jean Stemple

Thank you, Bill and Jean, for your great 50th anniversary contribution. We hope to receive more of these vignettes from the other original owners who are still here. Email your story to or mail to RHCA at P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310.

The Original Ramblers.

If you are one of Rose Hill's original owners, we would love to print our story. In connection with our 50th anniversary, we are trying to collect stories from all those who bought their house in 1954-55. As you can see from the article above, it is not hard to jot down what happened to you during that time and how you came about owning in Rose Hill. It does not have to be long and wordy or perfect English (I will help you with that), just as long as it comes from you. Email me with your thoughts, notes, and stories (marty_williams2000@, and put Rose Hill or The Rambler in the subject line so I will not delete it. If you do not have access to email, you can mail it to the Association's P.O. Box 1089, Alexandria, VA 22310.

The Rambler Wants Your Input
If you would care to write an article about Rose Hill, the area, or how it has affected your life, The Rambler would be interested in printing it. We’d love to hear what you have to say about traffic, development, your great neighbors, or the convenience of your shopping center. It does not have to be long and wordy or perfect English (I’ll help you with that), just as long as it comes from you. Email me with your thoughts, notes, or articles (just put Rose Hill or The Rambler in the subject line so I won’t delete it). If you don’t have access to email, you could either mail it to the Association’s P.O. Box (see page 1) or drop it off at my house.  Hope to hear from you soon!
—Marty Williams

RCHA Positions Available (Volunteer, of course!)
Seeking an individual who likes to walk (at least once a month, but perhaps only nine months out of the year). This individual would be available to deliver The Rambler on the weekend before the meeting (which is always the 4th Tuesday of the month). To apply, simply call Carl Sell at 703.971.4716 or Marty Williams at 703.924.7192 and say, "I want to deliver The Rambler."
Seeking an individual who would like to try to sell ads for The Rambler. This individual could be you! Simply call one of the association representatives above and say, "I can sell ads for you in The Rambler."

The next Rambler deadline is February 13, 2004
The next delivery weekend is February 21-22, 200

Advertising in the Rambler

We have recently received several inquiries concerning advertising in the Rambler. While a listing in the Business Directory is free to Rose Hill residents who own their business, placing an actual advertisement is open to all with rates as follows per month:

Business Card size 3 1/2" x 2" $10
Quarter page size 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" $25
Half page size 7 1/2" x 4 3/4" $50
Full page size 7 1/2" x 9 3/4" $100

Ads may be bought for either one month only, month-to-month, or as many months in advance as desired. Our newsletter is published nine times a year, excluding July, August and December.

Advertising in the Rambler is an excellent way to reach the 700+ homes in our community. In addition, the ads each month are placed on our website for the world to see.

Anyone interested in placing an ad may call me at 703-924-7192. Artwork can be sent to marty-williams in tiff or jpeg format or hardcopy mailed to P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310. Checks made out to RHCA should be included with ads and sent to the P.O. Box.

Marty Williams

Previous Issue of the Rambler

Next Issue of the Rambler

RHCA Home Page