A trusted member of the community since 1980.
Founded by The Temple Foundation, The Virginian began its long history as a non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community in Fairfax in 1980. Since then, it has become recognized for its standards of excellence, sound values, and quality of care.
In the early 1970s, Roland Thompson, a real estate developer, had purchased 58 acres of the Walker farm on the north side of U.S. Route 50 in Fairfax County for development. By 1976, his townhouse community, Stonehurst, was completed. Wanting to do something for the good of the people of Fairfax County, Mr. Thompson then purchased about 32 additional acres of the original Walker farm on the south side of Route 50 to build a Continuing Care Community, a retirement option then gaining popularity across the country.
Mr. Thompson described The Virginian’s land as follows: “It was purchased from the heirs of the Walker family, including three future residents of The Virginian – Mrs. Edna Stenhouse; George Walker, who had acquired the 120 acres shortly before the Civil War; and George’s wife, Leila.” According to Mrs. Stenhouse, “the property had at one time been occupied by the Algonquian Indian tribe, who lived on what is now Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River. They camped for a portion of the year on the property where The Virginian is located. At that time, there was an outcropping of pure quartz just to the west of The Virginian from which they made their arrowheads and other tools.”
At about that same time, Dr. James Robertson, a United Methodist Minister, had established a new United Methodist Church in the Arlington County community of Rosslyn, just across Key Bridge from Washington, D.C. His new church, Temple UMC, was opened in 1972 above a gas station and was designed to serve the special needs of the surrounding community. He had also formed a voluntary association, The Temple Foundation, to build and operate a continuing care retirement community, The Washington House, in Alexandria. Dr. Robertson and the Foundation were willing to lease and operate a second such community if Mr. Thompson should build it.
Twenty-one residents known as The Pioneers moved in on December 14, 1980. They quickly developed a unique camaraderie, enjoying a wide variety of activities including trips, a library, craft and therapy rooms. Those residents remembered how all the parties were “really dress-up affairs!”
It is also worth mentioning that throughout our history, a significant number of residents have reached the century mark. We are fortunate so many of them have maintained remarkably good health, and still enjoy an excellent quality of life in our community. The Virginian has much to celebrate.
Excerpts from Then and Now at The Virginian, a 25-Year History, 1980-2005 by resident Lily Houseman.