Lyon Park is named after Frank Lyon, a real estate developer. In 1919, Frank Lyon subdivided a 300 acre tract that included property purchased by his former partner, Robert Moore, and platted as “Moore’s Addition to Clarendon.” The firm of Lyon & Fitch issued a pamphlet to entice buyers to build their homes in Lyon Park.
Lyon Park was the largest real estate development in Virginia upon its opening. Frank Lyon, his business partner C.W. Fitch, and Lyon’s son-in-law Charles W. Smith, made up Lyon & Fitch, Inc. In 1919, from its offices at 7th and Cathcart Rd. (now Pershing Dr.), Lyon & Fitch sold platted lots with 50-foot frontages each. Lot prices ranged from $350-$500. By 1922, all the lots within the original section were sold. It was not uncommon for residents to build small shanties to live in while their homes were built.
Lyon Park was a modern development, boasting paved roads, sidewalks, and water and sewer infrastructure. The plans for Lyon Park included a central community park with a pond, spring house and community center for residents. Many other virtues were touted in promotional literature, including: “the iceman, the laundry man, and the mailman call at each home.”
Early residences were designed by local builders and architects. Queen Anne and Bungalow/Craftsman styles, along with American Four Squares, were initially popular, but later Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival became the prominent styles, joined by Cape Cod and pre-fabricated kit houses. The proximity of Lyon Park to railway stops made it easy for Sears and other home construction kits to arrive via the U.S. mail. The multi-family buildings built in and around Lyon Park reflect the principles of the Garden City Movement and contribute to Lyon Park’s historic nature, especially the Lee Gardens designed and built in the 1940s. Lee Gardens stands today along Arlington Boulevard and is known as Woodbury Park and the Sheffield Court Apartments.