Reston celebrates 50th birthday, city founder celebrates 100th

(WJLA) - The town of Reston, Virginia is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Saturday – and coinciding with the celebration of “Founder’s Day” is city founder and planner Robert Simon’s own 100th birthday.

“Reston was basically in the middle of nowhere – it was halfway between Dulles Airport and the Capital Beltway,” said Shelley Mastran with the Reston Historic Trust.

“I thought it would be a collection of all the wonderful things that I experienced, and that’s what it turned out to be,” explained Simon.

From the beginning, Robert Simon wanted Reston to be a place where people of all ages, income, races, and ethnicities would be at home, according to Mastran. But it took a while for the city to take off.

“When you think of it, all we did was built 227 townhouses, 60 units in an apartment building, and a few stores – and that was an international phenomenon, why?” asked Simon.

“The plaza is the glue for a community, and the single most important thing I wanted to do for Reston.”

And no visit to Lake Ann is complete without a picture with Bronze Bob, or maybe even the real Bob!

“There was a lady that had 12 little kids with her; as I came along I saw her pausing for a moment or two to tell the kids something next to Bronze Bob – a little kid broke loose and he came up to me and said, ‘How did you get out?’” Simon described with a laugh.

Founder’s Day will bring out hundreds of residents and day trippers to wish Bob and his community a happy birthday.

“I take a martini – a gin martini, not a vodka martini every night…whether that results in a long life or not I don’t know, but it’s a pleasant way to spend it!” said Simon.