In 1955, Westwood Country Club existed as an island in a sea of cornfields, pastures and forest. That year, 19 houses were built along Niblick Drive between Maple Avenue and Echols Street, and were to become the seed of a new community forming a narrow crescent around the golf course.
The building codes at that time were rather lax by today’s standards. The walls had no insulation, and the ceilings, only a few inches of cellulose were thrown in between the rafters. The fuse box was filled with those glass screw in types, and the two outlets per room were two prong. If the house had air conditioning, it was window mounted.
So it is no surprise that these original houses are almost always torn down when ownership changes. Only seven remain.
But even in its final moments, an old house can be useful. 304 Niblick last Sunday served as a school for Fairfax County fire fighters who showed up in twenty pieces of emergency vehicles, and gave this well-kept split level an opportunity to pass along to the newbies the skills of their trade.
The neighborhood, pre-warned, turned out to watch as hoses were deployed, ladders carried, air canisters refilled, ambulances on the ready. It all looked real. And it was. Sort of. Bales of straw were set on fire in several rooms, and extinguished under the supervision of seasoned leaders.
Out on the lawn, masks and other tactical gear were donned. Officers called the shots on how to enter, what to do.
Food, of course is essential to keep the energy up. For this, a BBQ was set up, and cheeseburgers were turned out at a fast clip. Lots of coffee an ice water appeared.
The next day, the charred school house was reduced to rubble and put aboard a fleet of dump trucks to be taken to the landfill.
Westbriar Zones A and B are one of the hottest residential redevelopment areas in the region. But the other homes around the east and north sides of the golf course, which filled in during the 60s are not far behind. It is not all due to the age of the homes. It is the extra value of the land due to our close proximity to Tysons that is the impetus.
Westbriar is well situated to take advantage of this good fortune.