Rose Hill Ramblers
Fond Memories from those who were among the first to settle in Rose Hill
Rose Hill was beautiful, with red roses along the entry road and horses grazing along the fence, as greeters. We were lucky to be there, living with all nice people who gradually filled up the empty houses as they were completed. They became our friends, our world. During snow storms the men gathered food and distributed it as needed, and in summer impromptu parties broke out with BYOB and communal odd bits of food and dips to munch on. Cottonwood became known as the Party Street!!!
We moved up the road to Maple Grove in 1958 as our family outgrew the rambler, but kept up our friendships for many years.
Many neighbors became lifelong friends in person and memory, such as the Thompson’s, Stemple’s, Jim and Billie Morgan, Bill and Marguerite Malatesta, and Walt and Lucy Shupe. Lucy was my best friend , until her death in February, 2016, just two months after the death of my Bud in December, 2015. We went through both good and bad times together!
One day a truck rolled in and out came guards with long guns and prisoners in stripes, to clean the streets! We mothers rushed our playing children into the house or back yard under careful eyes until they moved on. That was Fairfax county then as complaints went to Joe Alexander. It only happened once!
In 1964 we outgrew our rambler and moved up Franconia Road to Maple Grove to our big house! It was across the street from the Methodist Church and Franconia Elementary School, both convenient to walking, as we only had one car. We spent twenty eight happy years there as our four children grew up and out on their own, leaving us with too much house. Our next move was to a new condo at Kingstowne for eight years, then moved to Gainesville to Heritage Hunt, a new “over 55” golf and country club. , thinking that would be our forever home. However thirteen years later, my husband became ill and could not drive, nor could I, so we moved to Springfield, to Greenspriing Retirement Campus. That was almost five years ago now! It is a wonderful place to call home with most services provided, including a chapel right on the grounds! I find myself at ninety, with many new friends and more than enough things to do of interest and comfort, and almost back in the same vicinity as when we began with our first Rose Hill home. I call it a wonderful life! — Joyce Mack
Fond Memories from those who were among the first to settle in Rose Hill
My parents and sisters and I moved into our home on Climbhill Road when it was still unpaved. The original number was 2312 but was later changed to 6217. I rode the school but to St. Louis elementary school with Tom and Beverly Eppolito's daughter Madonna and her brother Tommy was one of my best friends in those years beginning around 1955 or 56. My younger sisters were Joanie and Eileen and my dad and mom were Bill and Alice Stapleton. They lived on Climbhill Road for approximately 25 years until about 1980, and then moved to Reston. I am still in touch with several folks from Rose Hill, through friendships made at Highland Park pool where I was a lifeguard for several years after spending several years as a summer pool kid. I also delivered the Gazette for a few summers and worked for the Alexandria Water Co. a few summers in the late 60s and early 70s. Rose Hill was a great place to grow up during those years.
Please drop me a reply email if you'd like any questions answered about the early days. If I can't remember I'm sure my sisters or some of my friends can. Also, if you have email addresses for some of the folks you've identified as early residents I'd love to get back in touch with some of these families. — Bill Stapleton
My family bought a house on Apple Tree Drive in 1955 or 1956. I was born in Georgetown Hospital in May of 1956. The house numbers were changed in 1965 and I don't remember the "new" number, only the old house number we had originally, 3618. Perhaps one of the Rose Hill Originals would know how to translate the numbers. I can certainly point the house out on the map! (The house is now 4519 Apple Tree Drive)
My parents were Neale and Ruth Foster; my sister was Ruth Ann. Rose Hill was a great place to grow up. There were lots of kids to play with. My sister graduated from Edison High in 1965. My dad worked for the government and was transferred to Florida. We had to leave Rose Hill in June of 1965 and life was never the same. We all wish we had never left. Those were the "Golden Years" for us. I still think about our house, our neighbors, and wonder what happened to all those people. I'm sending a few photos, and you may use any of them you wish. The one of my mother and I is one of my favorites because I remember that view so well. We had a big picture window in the living room and I would watch the seasons change in the woods across the way.
I certainly enjoyed the Rose Hill Civic Association Web Site! It was like going home again! — Mary P. (Foster) Delaney
My name is Eddie Ervin. I was born on November 4, 1954. My parents (Reese and Dorthy Ervin) picked out the house (and the lot) they wanted and watched it being built. I think we moved in around December 1954. The original address was 2406 Rose Hill Drive, but I think the address number had changed to 6415 right before we moved away when I was 11.
I stumbled onto the 'MyRosehill.com' website and the pictures in the photo gallery brought back a flood of memories and feelings. My older sister was friends of the Beaty's daughter (Bonnie), and Pat Shankle (Miss Rose Hill Shopping center) was another friend of my sister's. I used to play inside the original Rose Hill home - we kids thought it was haunted. There was an underground tunnel behind the house we use to dig in.
I have nothing to offer in the way of old photos - sorry, I'd gladly contribute if I could.
Would there be any other photos before 1965 that I could view? What a wonderful thing it would be able to view a treasure-trove of old Rose Hill photos. — Eddie Ervin
My name is Barry Kutz and I live in Rehoboth Beach, DE. My godmother is Kae Furneisen and she lives at 4912 Treetop Lane. I am sure they were original owners in Rose Hill from day one. My father and John Ferneisen were workmates at the police dept in Washington DC even before I was born fifty years ago. That's how they got to be my godparents.
When I was a kid we used to go and visit the Furneisens all the time and we used to rummage through the old mansion on the property of Rose Hill before they burned it down. I'll never forget how spooky it was but we would have a great time there! My older brother Phil still has a scar on one of his arms that he got climbing though one of the broken out windows in the mansion. We would go to the pool there all the time with the Furneisens and their kids Craig and Vicki.
Anyway, I was looking for info on the old mansion and found this site, the old PICS are great and I enjoyed looking at them too. Thanks for the Memories. — Barry Kutz
My family lived on Rock-A-Bye Road before Bee Street was a thru Street. There were the Kings (that's me), the Harris', the Saranos, and the Pulzones. That acreage was bought by my grandmother Minnie Agnes Lovett, and two acres were give to each of her children. I was told that our house was moved from across Rose Hill Drive to what was then 6400 Rock-A-By Road. I lived there with my family until I got married after my graduation from Thomas Edison in 1972. My parents sold their acreage in 1977 and moved to Hebron Maryland. I consider my family one of the first as new homes were being built around us in 1953. I remember my dad taking me to what is know Lee District to look for arrowheads and we used to find quite a few. We also found a lot where the golf course was or now is, you see I haven't been back for many years. My childhood consisted of building forts in the woods, and walking to the shopping center to get an ice cream on hot summer days. I never regretted a minute growing up in Rose Hill and loved the fresh air and the peacefulness. — Carol A Johnson
In Memory of Some Rose Hill Originals - When our family moved onto Hayfield Place in 1961, we were the only “newcomers.” All the other houses on the cul-de-sac were occupied by Rose Hill Originals. Over the years, most moved away, but two families should be remembered. For the sake of clarification, I should note that both of these families had to move a few years ago due to ill health. They would have stayed here otherwise.
Rosemary and Henry Anderson were two delightfully different people. Rosemary was a true Renaissance person: she was a Red Cross volunteer at Alexandria Hospital; she refinished and reupholstered furniture; she could have run a tailor shop, that’s how good she sewed; she was a great cook; and very active in politics. Henry was an avid golfer and worked for the FAA. It wasn’t until he was deceased and we went to the viewing that we found out he had been a decorated officer in the Air Force during World War II.
Shirley and Ned Brogan were also great hosts and gardeners. They hosted quite a few of our New Year’s get-togethers when the whole block gathered to celebrate. One year, during the aftermath of a blizzard (Remember when we had blizzards?), our block had not been plowed for a number of days. Finally, a snowplow came along but the driver would not stop. Ned went out and stood in front of the snowplow until the driver reluctantly said he would plow one lane around the circle.
Rose Hill Originals were true pioneers of a kind. Now that everyone else has moved away, I am the oldest person, both in age and tenure, on the block. I have never regretted moving to Rose Hill and continuing to live here. — Betty BalchIn 1954, my husband and I lived in Barcroft Apartments in Arlington with our (then) 3 daughters. We were interested in buying a house and a friend who had looked at the homes here in Rose Hill told us how nice they were.
When we came out to see the houses we decided to buy one. We bought the one on the west comer of Rose Hill and Apple Tree. The lady who sold it to us said they had not sold any with the power lines overhead on this side of the road. My husband worked on overhead electrification on the Railroad so it was not an issue for us. When we came back a month or so later to take pictures, the lady who sold us our home said they were able to convince people to buy where the power lines were because a man who worked on that had bought one. Our house was not completed until January 1955 and we moved in on January 17, 1955.
Rose Hill Drive from Telegraph Road dead-ended at our lot. When they started building the next section of homes on Apple Tree past Cottonwood and on Round Hill, that is when they built the rest of Rose Hill Drive to Franconia Road.
The Rose Hill Elementary School was not built until 1958 and I can only remember that because my oldest daughter started school September of 1955 and had to attend to Virginia Hills school for 1st grade then Bush Hill for 2nd grade, and finally 3rd grade and on at Rose Hill. Twila Noble
My name is Brenda (Sovonick) Perry and I live at 4515 Lark Lane across the street from the house my parents, Louis Sovonick, Jr. and Katherine (Kay) Sovonick, purchased in August of 1954 (4516 Lark Lane). My sister, two brothers, and I grew up in that home and we attended all the local schools. My mother was also a member of the Rose Hill Civic Association and, for a few years, was the Editor of The Rambler. Of course, my sister, brothers, and I also helped by distributing The Rambler throughout Rose Hill. My mother passed away in 1967, but my father remained at our home on Lark Lane until he passed away in 1994. We had to sell his house in 1996, but I also had purchased my current home on Lark Lane in 1993. So for 50 years the Sovonick's have lived on Lark Lane and to this day the Sovonick blood line continues on Lark Lane.
I have watched this community grow so much over the years and change in so many ways but still remain a good strong community which I love to call home. I remember when all there was in the shopping center was the Safeway and the hardware store, Franconia Hardware, which was owned by Joe Alexander's father. Brenda Perry
My family has lived at the top of Climbhill Road as an original owner since around 1957. Other original owners who have since moved on who were wonderful neighborhood residents of Rose Hill for many years were the Camps, the Duvalls, the Herrings, the Kozaks, the Ketchums, the Parks, the Coles, the Phillips, and the Eppilittos. Some of you old-timers may remember those families. Other original and long-time residents of Rose Hill include families named Crouch, Huntington, Brill, Brown, Proctor, Kaldenbach, Houck, Brogan, Dent, Harris, Ludwig, Daniels, Shifflett, King, and of course, Noble.
Back in the late 1950s and well into the 1970s, Rose Hill was a very "small town" and almost everyone knew everyone on most of the streets throughout the community. Summer days were spent either at Highland Park pool or the other rival neighborhood pool known as Meadowview swim club. You were either a Highland Park family or a Meadowview family and there was a friendly rivalry between the two. Both clubs had huge weekend swim meets, and Friday and Saturday night "Splash Parties" where there would usually be a local band, lots of fun, and dancing by neighborhood teens.
Our little street had a custom whereby all the adults would gather together with lawn chairs in somebody's backyard on hot summer nights and the neighborhood kids would put on a "talent show" loosely based on the format of "The Ed Sullivan Show." It was a great family atmosphere and a wonderful place to grow up.
I attended Rose Hill Elementary from 1960-1966. The first principal of the school was named Miss March and she was a young and beautiful blonde lady whom we all loved. She left in the early 60s (if memory serves me, she and her son Brad moved home to Dallas, TX) and the new principal was Mr. Hucks, who was a jolly sort. The original Librarian at Rose Hill was our beloved Miss Wright. She was an "old-maid" type who devoted her life to sharing her love of books with the children of Rose Hill. I am sure many a child can remember an afternoon spent in the Rose Hill School library mesmerized by her book readings. She had a special gift for making stories come alive as she would read them to us. The original janitor for many years at the school was a gentleman named Mr. Gorham. He quietly roamed the halls of the school with his broom, mop, and bucket and always had a smile for the children. Rose Hill School was always a wonderful family atmosphere and a safe and secure place to play and learn. Almost all of the students walked to and from school in those days. There were a few busses but they were seen mostly when there was a field trip scheduled. It was a big deal when you have to ride the bus into Washington to visit the zoo on a field trip! I imagine that is still the case!
It was the custom back in the 60s at the school to have an afternoon recess when the school bell would ring and all classes would go out to the back and play in organized games on the playground field. Popular games were Dodge Ball, hopscotch, and boys chasing girls. On one such afternoon in November 1963, we were playing at recess when the bell rang early and we were all told to go back to our classrooms. All the teachers and office staff was unusually somber and businesslike as they led all the students back to their desks. Once we had settled back into our assigned seats, we were told that President Kennedy had been shot and we were all to go home and talk to our parents. When I got home, I found my Mother sitting in front of the television watching the news coverage. Somehow all of life seemed a bit less carefree after that day. Donna (Youmans) HaberMy name is Leo Joseph Arico. My parents bought 6401 May Boulevard in the fall of 1957. At that time, the original manor house (abandoned) still stood. The farm was managed by a Mr. Cook; who, for a number of years, kept pigs and baled hay. When the farm closed, the site was used by a construction company that fabricated the wall panels for the houses near Telegraph Road (Split Rock, Cottonwood, etc.).
Our original address was 2308 May, and the telephone numbers were "SOuth 5-xxxx." My father contracted for central air conditioning; we were, for years, the only house in the neighborhood to have it.
On our website, MyRoseHill.com, there is a photograph taken by Mrs. Noble of the burning of the manor house by the Franconia Volunteer Fire Department. The fat kid looking into the camera isme. Leo Arico
My name is Connie Beatty. My husband, Frank, and our two children, Bonnie and Gary, moved from Presidential Gardens Apartments in Alexandria to Rose Hill Farms on December 15, 1954. We were one of the first five families to move here. The streets were not paved, no stores close by, and no streetlights. It really seemed like country!
We had one car. I worked at the Alexandria Post Office on the 3 to 12 midnight shift and my husband had to go each night to the pay phone near the model homes on Apple Tree Drive to find out if I had to work overtime so he would know when to come and bring me home. Since it was so near to Christmas and so busy at the Post Office, I only had one day off to move. Needless to say, we had a lot to do in one day.
My husband drove for the AB&W Transit Company owned by Mr. May who also once owned the Rose Hill properties. Later, my husband became a Manager of one of the Giant Food Stores.
As far as I can remember it took quite some time before we had telephones, paved roads, and streetlights.
We used to shop at the old Fitzgerald Store on Franconia Road where CVS is now located and the children loved to go to Wards Corner (which later burned down) and buy candy from the old fashioned glass sloped store counter.
My daughter, Bonnie, went to Cameron Elementary, Virginia Hills Elementary, Bush Hill Elementary, and finally to Rose Hill School, built in 1958.
My husband and son have passed away and my daughter has married and moved to Manassas. I have a granddaughter; Amy, and a great granddaughter, Alexis, and I still live in my comfortable rambler onRose Hill Drive and love it here. Rose Hill is a wonderful place to live and I am proud to be part of this Community. Connie Beatty
If you are one of Rose Hill's original owners, we'd love to print your story about how you came to live in Rose Hill. In connection with our 50th anniversary, we are trying to collect stories from all those who bought their houses in 1954-55. It doesn't have to be long and wordy or perfect English (I will help you with that), just as long as it comes from you. Even if you're not an original owner and have a stow to tell, we'd love to include it in the next Rambler. eMail me with your thoughts, notes, and stories (firstname.lastname@example.org), and put Rose Hill or The Rambler the subject line so I won't delete it. If you don't have access to eMail, you can mail it to the Association's P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310.
Hope to hear from you soon!
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