Reston Then and Now: Lake Anne

by Vernon Miles December 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm 18 Comments

With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now has put together a review of how the Lake Anne area has evolved since the lake’s creation.

Like many of Reston’s lakes, Lake Anne is not natural. Photography from 1960 shows the open fields and forests just two years prior to the first development on the site.

According to the Walker Nature Education Center, the lake was first built in 1962 to compensate for the increased water runoff caused by new developments. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Lake Thoreau, Lake Audubon, and Lake Newport were also built across Reston.

While some of the water in the lake comes from underground springs, most comes from rainfall and surface runoff. The lakes store water as it flows through streams to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

By 1976, ten years after it was founded, Lake Anne Village Center took the form is essentially remains in to this day. The center was designed by architect James Rossant to emulate the Italian coastal town of Portofino but with then-popular brutalist themes. The center was designed to be located within a half-mile of most homes in Reston at the time.

Over the next twenty years, the aerial photography shows development on the periphery around the central plaza, like new subdivisions built near Lake Newport to the north across Baron Cameron Ave. New residential developments also emerged on the south side of Lake Anne.

To the southwest, the Lake Anne Elementary School went through substantial upgrades in the 1990s, adding air conditioning throughout the building. In 2003, construction began on a $2.1 million addition and renovation of the school. Forest Edge Elementary School to the east also saw substantial growth between 1997 and 2017.

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