Monday, August 2, 2010

Airport Style

So last week I wrote about Hollin Hills, a neighborhood nearby, and mentioned that it was laid out in the early 60s by an architect named Charles Goodman.  I also wrote that Goodman was the original architect of National Airport (now known as Reagan National Airport).  Well, that’s not entirely true (I need to remember that Wikipedia isn’t always a reliable source of information), though he was part of the original team of designers.  See, after I wrote the post, bells started going off in Dr. Jay’s head.  On a trip through Reagan (the airport) a few months ago he happened to pass by what looked like a lobby preserved in time in Terminal A.  He’s been saying we should go check it out ever since, so on Sunday we finally did.  After an hour and $2 to park in the short-term parking garage, we’d learned all about the history of the airport.  It sits on land which used to be Abingdon Plantation, owned originally by Captain John Alexander.  Abingdon was purchased in 1778 by John Parke Custis, the adopted stepson of President George Washington, and was the birthplace of Washington’s beloved granddaughter, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis.  Ruins from the original house (which was destroyed by fire in 1930) still remain on the grounds, and artifacts are preserved in Historic Terminal A.

Visiting Historic Terminal A is also a great way to see the first airport building’s unique style, which was definitely a blend of the classical architecture President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested as a way to pay tribute to the rest of Washington’s architecture and of the emerging modern aesthetic demanded of the technologies present in an airport facility.  Here’s some of what we saw:


Pshhhha- we went in anyway.  There was no function.


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Here’s a final photo of the more recently designed Cesar Pelli addition to the airport.


If you’re ever in Reagan and near Terminal A, stop in and check it out the Historic Lobby.  It seems as if they will be further restoring it to its original early-American airport style.  Don’t miss your flight or anything, but it’s worth a looksy if you’re stuck at the airport for some time.


  1. I love the photos and in particular the china. There is so little time but I would really like to explore specially produced china at some point. I love the china for the airport and I love Railroad china. I am not sure I am that interested in china made for individuals but special china for special places. thesis or just post grad interest?

  2. I love that you did this. It truly shows an interest in where you live--and imagine if you'd gone into labor there! That would've been a story for the little one.