History of Broyhill Park

Broyhill Park was founded by Marvin T. Broyhill, Sr. (1888-1966) and planned, designed and created by the Broyhill Company. Information on the Broyhill family (originally spelled “Broughall”), including a detailed family tree chart, can be found at www.broyhill.org.

This history of Broyhill Park originally appeared in Broyhill Park Civic Association newsletters from September 2009 through March 2010. It has been consolidated below and revised as necessary.

General History

The section of Broyhill Park on the south side of Annandale Road comprised of Hickory Hill Road, Lee Park Court, and Slade Court was built first, beginning in 1950, and is known as “Old Broyhill Park.” Many of the homes in this section were built without basements. The washing machine was located in the kitchen. Eventually the neighborhood was expanded to include the rest of Broyhill Park, which was at that time a wooded tract. Homes were built in 34’, 38’, and 45’ lengths. Starting prices ranged from $14,000 to $18,000 with unfinished basements. The 2-story homes with foyer entryways were considered the most upscale and started at $20,000, which was a lot of money in the 1950s. For an extra fee you could get a garage, a walk-out basement, or a screened-in porch. Some of these porches are still in existence, but many of them have been converted into an extra bedroom or a sunroom. The original model homes of the development included the house on the northwest corner of Graham Road & Annandale Road, the 2-story house next to it, and the house across the street on the corner of Annandale Road and Brush Drive. The above information is courtesy of Mrs. Rita Brocato, an original owner who lived on Norfolk Lane.

The Northern Virginia area has thousands of Broyhill-built homes. In addition to Broyhill Park, the company also built Broyhill Crest, Broyhill-Langley Estates and Broyhill-McLean Estates in Fairfax County, Broyhill Forest and Broyhill Hills in Arlington County, and Sterling Park in Loudon County. On first glance most of the Broyhill homes look alike, but they can be distinguished by certain exterior features. Some homes have a floor-to-ceiling picture window adjacent to the front door,others have a double window, an elongated three-pane window, or a small three-pane window. The original windows were single-pane steel-framed casement windows. Most have been replaced by later homeowners with double-pane vinyl windows, a huge improvement in energy efficiency. Some homes have a decorative gable on one side of the roof, while others--mostly in the section known as Old Broyhill Park--have the gable in the middle with steps placed sideways to the front door. One variation has a covered entryway, but most homes were built with nothing more than the 2’ roof overhang as shelter over the front door. A very few homes don’t have a front door at all; instead they have the kitchen in the front and the main entryway on the side of the house. These unusual designs have been spotted on Sherry Court, Alice Court, and Graham Road. Many homes have an exterior façade of board-and-batten paneling, whose variously painted colors help to distinguish the homes from one another. The Broyhill homes are small but functional, and the basic structure has held up well over the years.

When the Broyhill homes were first built, they featured what was advertised as a “complete General Electric kitchen.” The dishwasher, garbage disposal, range, refrigerator, and even the metal kitchen cabinets were General Electric. Some Broyhill homes still retain the original metal cabinets, but many have been replaced with modern wood cabinetry. The metal cabinets came in white, yellow, pink, and turquoise blue. Cabinets that are still in good condition are much sought-after by retro kitchen enthusiasts and can be found for sale on the internet.

Recollections of Broyhill Park received in 2010 from Original Owners

From Mrs. Matilda H. Winkel: “I live on Brandy Court and am an original owner of a Broyhill Park house. I was 29 years young and my husband Dale was 30 years when we bought our house in 1954. Houses were selling like hotcakes at the time. If you didn’t act soon enough, the house you wanted would be sold. Broyhill Park wasn’t even built yet. You had to contact the builder. You selected the price of house you wanted (there were 3 or 4 different models at different prices) and you would be shown what was available for the price you selected and where it would be located on the plat map. The roads were not yet built, so you had to trudge through the neighborhood—and the mud—to see the approximate place where your house would sit. We selected an $18,500 house and ordered several ‘extras,’ including larger windows throughout, a higher ceiling in the basement, and floor-to-ceiling brick surrounding the fireplace, which brought the cost to about $20,000. We also changed the location of the basement door to accommodate the bathroom plumbing. The day before we signed the contract I didn’t sleep all night; I was sure we would end up in the poorhouse owing all that money plus interest every month! But we never missed a payment and it surely was a great investment.”

From Mrs. Pat Gardner: “The evening we moved into Broyhill Park, my husband, son and I, it was February 14, 1951, cold, muddy, and damp. Our furniture etc. had to be bulldozed in to Lee Park Court, because the road had not been surfaced yet. We had to park our car on Annandale Road, since we were the first people to move to Lee Park. There were no street lights and no phone service; it was lonely. As people moved in the sidewalks came, but the first lady to have a baby in March of that year had to be helped across the yards to Annandale Road to get to her car, with two men carrying suitcases and helping her. There was no Graham Road; it was just woods there. My son’s first school was Annandale for one year, then he went to Wilston one year, then Sleepy Hollow, then Westlawn, then Walnut Hill, and that was just elementary school! We had one telephone at the corner of Lee Park Court and Hickory Hill Drive, so you often had to wait to use it. But that all-electric kitchen was the key to buying our house, and when summer came and all the neighbors got to know each other, it was a great place to be.”