After Vincent Fusaro moved to Hollin Hall Village in 2009, it didn’t take him long to fall in love with his new neighborhood. The New York native said the community has a unique charm that makes newcomers comfortable, and a small-town feel that provides an oasis amid the day-to-day bustle of living in Northern Virginia.
“You always see people out walking with their kids, walking their dogs,” said Fusaro, vice president of the Hollin Hall Village Citizens Association and a resident since 2009. “You can walk up to our shopping center, you have a combination of big supermarket and small, niche-type stores. It’s just a very welcoming community.”
Fusaro and other Hollin Hall Village residents celebrated the 75th anniversary of their community on Sunday at Mount Vernon Park. There was music, cold drinks, food trucks, activities for kids and even a 1950s vintage Chevy pickup — a perfect symbol for a community that still offers little slice of Mayberry in the 21st century. A host of local politicians also stopped by, including State Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Paul Krizek, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and State Sen. Scott Surovell — who actually grew up in Hollin Hall.
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The first houses in Hollin Hall Village were built in 1943 on land once owned by George Mason IV, author of the Virginia Bill of Rights. In the next 15 years the community grew from a handful of homes surrounded by farmland to around 700 houses, as well as the Hollin Hall Shopping Center and Hollin Hall Elementary School.
To mark the 75th anniversary, the Hollin Hall Village Citizens Association put together a 50-page booklet recounting the history of the neighborhood. It features photos, newspaper clippings and recollections from longtime residents about what Hollin Hall was like, particularly during the post-World War II baby boom period that saw its population grow.
The booklet includes pictures of Mount Vernon Park and Hollin Hall Elementary School, which was a focal point of the community until declining enrollments forced its closure in 1980. The evolution and growth of the Hollin Hall Shopping Center is also documented, with images of businesses that have came and went, as well as longtime standbys like the variety store.
Numerous proclamations commending Hollin Hall were also on hand to view at Sunday’s gathering, including a copy of remarks from U.S. Rep. Don Beyer in the Congressional Record, letters from Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner, and a resolution from the Virginia General Assembly sponsored by Surovell and Ebbin.
Ted Godbout, president of the Hollin Hall Village Citizens Association, was one of the main organizers of Sunday’s event. He has called Hollin Hall Village home since 2002, but his ties to the neighborhood go back much further — his mother was one of the original homeowners when the community was established in the 1940s. Godbout says there’s still a certain quaintness to Hollin Hall that bonds residents to the neighborhood — and draws folks back after they’ve lived elsewhere.
“It’s a small town feel in the big city,” said Godbout. “It feels a little bit like Mayberry, everybody knows everybody. It’s just a great, great neighborhood.”