This past week, I've received quite a few emails and Facebook messages from people concerned about the future of Woodlawn Stables due to the widening of U.S. 1.
Here's what's going on. U.S. 1 is going to be widened between Telegraph Road and Mount Vernon Memorial Highway/Old Mill Road (a.k.a. where Roy Rogers is). The project is fully funded and is currently undergoing design and environmental reviews. The Mulligan Road (Old Mill/Jeff Todd Way) project is also proceeding along the other edge of Woodlawn Estate.
I've written about it a few times:
At its northern terminus the road runs right in between the the Woodlawn Mansion and Woodlawn Stables. Woodlawn was originally the main home on the 2,000-acre estate of Eleanor Parke "Nelly" Custis Lewis - the granddaughter of Martha Washington who gifted the property to her. Both properties are owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This was also the National Trust's first property and was donated to them by former U.S. Senator Oscar Underwood of Alabama in 1952. The main house was designed by the Architect of the U.S. Capitol and was constructed between 1800 and 1805.
There are also two other houses on the property that are historic - one between the main mansion and Fort Belvoir and the other south/east of the stables.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently considering two alternatives. One is widening in place (Yellow) and the other is a Bypass around the south/east side of Woodlawn Baptist Church (orange). The FHWA has had several meetings with the National Trust and Woodlawn Baptist regarding these plans. These alignment proposals have been out there for at least six months.
Recently, the folks at Woodlawn Stables have started a campaign to oppose the "bypass" alignment. They were able to generate about 3,000 signatures in a very short period of time.
Here's the issue. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires governmental entities to take actions that will minimize harm to National Historic Landmarks. In this case, that would be Woodlawn Mansion. There is also a second historic home behind Woodlawn. Additionally, there are historic graves in the cemetery right next to existing roadbed.
[I had previousl made a map roughly depicting what I thought the plans were along with some older FHWA designs - the doc I've posted below is what I'm told is the most recent designs under discussion].
The National Trust also just issued a statement opposing the widening of U.S. 1. Here is their statement:
“In addition to managing the historic resources on the site, the National Trust leases land at Woodlawn to a for-profit stable facility. We recognize that many Northern Virginians care deeply for Woodlawn Stables and consider it an anchor for the community. If the FHWA’s road project requires the stables to move its operations, the Uniform Relocation Act would provide funds for moving costs and related expenses to reestablish the facility at another site.
“Let me be clear, the National Trust adamantly opposes widening Route 1 through Woodlawn; however, we realize the road expansion will happen and we are doing what we can to be a good neighbor, to support the community, and to work with the county, state, and federal agencies involved to minimize harm to the nationally significant historic site that is under our stewardship and care.”