By Elizabeth Sheehy
Lyon Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, #03000437? In 2003, a group of dedicated neighbors put together a successful nomination to create the Lyon Park Historic District through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Our community met National Register criterion A (an event, series of events or activities, or patterns of an area’s development) and Criterion C (A building form, architectural style, engineering technique, or artistic value, based on a stage of physical development, or the use of a material or method of construction that shaped the historic identity of an area). Criterion B, for those who are curious, requires association with an important person, so please let us know if any previous presidents have slept in your home!
Lyon Park is an example of the enormous growth that occurred in and around Washington DC, following the first World War. Architectural styles in the neighborhood reflect community planning and development, with a proliferation of Craftsman Bungalows, American Four Squares, Colonial Revivals, and especially pre-fabricated kit homes (Sears Bungalows) which were perfect for Lyon Park’s modest lots. Even the garden apartments were important contributors, meeting the needs of young professionals flooding to the nation’s capital.
At the time of the review of Lyon Park’s nomination, there were 1,165 structures that positively contributed to our Historic District approval and 329 non-contributing structures. The Lyon Park Community House, built by and for the community in the mid 1920s, was a critical contributing structure. During the 2015 renovation, great care was taken to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. That is why, for example, the framing of the added kitchen and restrooms spaces are smaller than the original building, making it visually clear which part of the building is dominant (original). That is also why the roof material of the sunroom is different from the original part of the building, to better show that it is a later addition to the main hall.
If you’d like to learn more, you can read the Lyon Park nomination form. You can also read the official report at the following link: DHR – Virginia Department of Historic Resources » 000-7820 Lyon Park Historic District. As you walk through the neighborhood, see if you can spot some of the contributing structures in Lyon Park, representing American architectural styles 1891-1953!