September 22, 2015 Reston Virginia

Reston’s Visionary Robert Simon Dies

Robert Simon

Two years ago, I was doing a home inspection in Charles Goodman’s Hickory Cluster in Reston, when I spotted a lone figure walking in the snow with ski poles. It was none other than Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr. He was only 99 at the time. Yesterday, he passed away at 101 at his home in Reston, the groundbreaking suburban neighborhood he founded and started developing before being hit by financial issues.

“At a time when millions were fleeing crowded cities for what some sociologists called a colorless life in suburbia, Mr. Simon envisioned a Northern Virginia community that blended the serenity of an Italian hill town, the urban attractions of San Francisco’s Embarcadero and the social equality of a utopia in Finland,” The New York Times says in its obituary of the native New Yorker, whose family owned Carnegie Hall before selling it to New York City.

Rather than building cookie cutter suburbs, like Levittown on Long Island where he summered as a child and lived as an adult with his own family, Simon sought to develop villages with their own amenities and modernist architecture by the likes of Goodman, Chloethiel Woodard Smith, James Rosssant, William Conklin and Louis Sauer.

Thanks for your vision, Bob.

Washington Post obituary

Reston Association statement