"Don't take off if you don't know where you are going to land."
-- very old aviator who never violated this rule
Colonel Ed Nass, Civil Air Patrol, conducting preflight on Stinson Gull Wing. (courtesy Nass Family)
Before Beacon Field there was.....
Beacon Field Airport was located on the City View land tract on Historic US Route 1. On May 4, 1848, Benjamin Barton II, an Alexandria businessman, jeweler and silversmith, purchased the original land tract as a country residence consisting of 74 acres located on the high elevation west of Richmond Highway in southeast Fairfax County, 3.6 miles north of Mount Vernon, 3 miles south of Alexandria City.
His brother George C. Barton already owned 208 acres directly across Richmond Highway (Route1). The Benjamin Bartons built a country home here which they named City View.This country home provided needed respite from his busy shop at 324 King Street, Alexandria and sanctuary from the Union occupied town during the Civil War . City View was noted as a significant residence on an 1878 map produced by the Library of Congress (shown below) and is now the site of modern day Beacon Center, Lenclair Park, Target (old Memco), Beacon Hill Apartments, and City View III (fondly known as Muddy Manor).
Library of Congress Map 1878
The Bartons were silver craftsmen who immigrated to America in 1801. Benjamin Barton II was also the President of the Alexandria Hydraulion Fire Company (209 N. Royal Street) for 45 years. His grandson, W.F.P. Reid, by inheritance and acquisition, expanded the City View tract by the year 1910, to 204 acres. He built a stately 25 room antebellum mansion on the site.
Following a family tradition of public service, W.F.P. Reid was first appointed to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 1908 and then held the position as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1927 to 1939.
The Fairfax Herald reported that "Messrs L.A. Popkins, W.F.P. Reid, and Carroll Woolf, well-known residents of the Mt. Vernon District, have opened an up to datedairy in Alexandria". The Mount Vernon Dairy storefront, located on PrinceStreet, offered ice cream and lunches, as well as delivery of dairy products twice daily through out the city.
Reid's City View cows provided the milk for this large dairy operation and .....
The full history of Beacon Field has been incorporated into our forthcoming book. Release date will be announced soon. Thank you for the interest!