Local Commentary

Editorial: The Way We Were & Are

One of the more remarkable things about how the human mind works is its adaptability to new information about the surroundings it deems it has to contend with. The old information is out the window just like that, and the new information is just like it has always been there.

Most times, this happens without too much notice, except when it involves the loss of a loved one, for example, when there can be a long period of mourning. But that should not be confused with the mind’s ability to compute the relevant facts into its landscape that it goes by to navigate.

In this case, instead of using this to launch into a metaphysical or philosophical discourse, the point is made for the mundane reality of how much the “look” of the City of Falls Church has changed over the last two decades.

As we at the News-Press prepare for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our consecutive weekly publication, we are astonished by the images of the City and the headlines that accompanied them from the time of our inception, and especially as they have changed over the two dozen plus years.
There was not much to shout about the first decade. The changes in the 1990s were mostly in the cerebral, changing in the thinking and assumptions of the government and the population.

The first big visual change came in 2003 with the completion of The Broadway, in the 500 block of W. Broad Street where before it, for over a decade, City fathers had been unable to improve a large plot occupied only by an abandoned “Ad Com building” that had been a free-standing, one-story building home to an art supplies store. That building remained vacant blight from 1991 until the deal was finally struck for The Broadway.

Then came The Bryon across the street, replacing a free-standing Red Lobster surrounded by a huge asphalt parking lot, The Spectrum, built on a vacant lot, the Reid Building built where an old car repair shop had been, Pearson Square, built on an undeveloped seven acres except for one small, run-down string of retail units that included a duck pin bowling alley and storage facilities, the Flower Building that replaced a couple free-standing old houses, the Northgate that replaced what had been an underutilized funeral home, the Hilton Garden Inn that was built on a weed-infested parking lot.

Nearing completion are the 301 West Broad, the Harris Teeter building, going onto what was once a vacant lot, the old post office and the popular but single-story Anthony’s Restaurant property (which has successfully relocated nearby), the Lincoln at Tinner Hill, which is going onto a car sales site, and the Kensington, going where a Burger King once was.

Drink in a good look around. Can you remember the way it was? And, oh yes, as most know, there are still more changes to come.