The mid-20th century was a time of rapid change in the Washington, DC suburbs. The booming post-war economy and explosive growth in the Federal Government brought many thousands of new residents to the area each year. As a result of this growth, the population of the Town of Fairfax exploded from 1,946 in 1950 to 13,385 in 1960.
It was during this time that the subdivision of Mosby Woods was designed and built primarily by the Yeonas Development Corporation. Mosby Woods was one of the first multi-use communities to be developed in Fairfax County.
Between 1960 and 1962, Yeonas purchased nine parcels of land and built 467 single family homes plus apartments and townhouses.
Three additional parcels were acquired and developed by other companies on which 72 houses were built. In 1967, Jessie Spielman sold the land for Jessie Ct to the Crowell Construction Company. In 1974, Spielman sold the rest of his property to Columbia to build the upper part of Flintlock Rd. Four homes at the east end of Plantation Pkwy were built by Phillips in 1983. The land where Mosby Woods now sits had been previously owned by Lord Thomas Fairfax, George Mason Jr., Peter Stryker, Aaron Sutton, and others, and primarily consisted of farms and undeveloped forest.
The Yeonas Development Corporation was founded by George C. Yeonas and his four sons in 1946 with headquarters in Vienna, VA. Mr. Yeonas came to the United States as a penniless Greek immigrant who eventually headed one of the largest home-building firms in the Washington, DC area.
Over 30 years, Yeonas constructed more than 14,000 single-family homes in such subdivisions as Vienna Woods, Mosby Woods, Dunn Loring Woods, Lake Braddock, and Flower Valley in Silver Spring, MD.
Yeonas family members were also philanthropists and active members of their community. They supported the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund, the Washington Oxi Day Foundation, the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association, and Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia. The fact that Stephen G. Yeonas Sr., one of George Yeonas’ sons, was publicly recognized in 1998 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives perhaps demonstrates the impact of Yeonas’ work as well as the family’s political connections.
In the spring of 1961, the Yeonas Development Corporation recorded a Deed of Dedication in the Fairfax County land records that, among other things, encoded bylaws for the Mosby Woods subdivision and provided an official plat of the area. Construction moved ahead quickly and a dedication ceremony was held on June 27, 1961. The ceremony was officiated by Virgil Carrington Jones, best-selling author of Ranger Mosby and a noted authority on Civil War History. During the ceremony a bronze plaque was unveiled at the temporary entrance to the development that read, “To the Gallant Gray Ghost – John Singleton Mosby.”
At the Mosby Woods Community Association 50th anniversary dinner on September 8, 2012, Stephen G. Yeonas recounted how he got the idea for naming the neighborhood “Mosby Woods” from his son, who suggested it after seeing the Mosby’s Midnight Raid historical marker in downtown Fairfax.
A neighborhood theme, like Civil War-related street names in Mosby Woods, is emblematic of other Yeonas subdivisions. For example, almost every street in Vienna Woods is named after a Yeonas family member. Flower Valley has street names such as Columbine Way, Wild Rose Lane, and Cosmos Court. Dunn Loring Woods is filled with streets named after colleges.
In Mosby Woods, the theme extended from the neighborhood and street names to the house models. These were labeled after Civil War notables like Davis, Mosby, Jackson, Stuart, Pickett, and Longstreet.
Beyond this, however, the focus of the Yeonas marketing materials for Mosby Woods was on home value and amenities like central air conditioning, deluxe Gold Star kitchens, and maintenance-free aluminum siding. One such marketing brochure reads: “Mosby Woods is an area steeped in history and tradition, an area of gently rolling, heavily wooded land that provides a rare setting for the lovely homes we are building here. Our pattern for Mosby Woods is to make it a model of good taste in community planning.”