Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tysons Corner Not so long ago

Tysons Corner is a big city attached to another big city. It grew up along the edge of Washington, DC, just over the Potomac in Virginia, where there was plenty of space for government offices, government-related businesses, high tech outfits, and other types once known as "Beltway bandits." Tysons Corner, the archetypal "Edge City," wasn't always a city. In the first half of the 20th century, it was a typical rural Virginia crossroads, two dirt roads with a couple of corner stores. You can still find some of these crossroads deeper into rural Virginia, but usually the corner store is gone, wiped out by a Walmart or a nearby strip mall. 

Tysons Corner is undergoing a frantic building boom as the Metro is now just about to arrive, on a futuristic elevated trainway. A 27-floor residential skyscraper is being built near one of the stations, and each condo in it will cost over a million dollars. And a full-size Walmart is under construction right on the opposite side of the station. That's progress!

This picture for Trader Joe's loosely follows one of the few photos of the original Tysons Corner with its corner stores and gas station. The photo dates from the 1930s. It is the intersection of Route 7, Leesburg PIke, going roughly east-west, with Route 123, going roughly north-south towards McLean. Nowadays, this intersection looks like this, which is the other panel in this Trader Joe's "then and now" display."

"Tysons Corner Then" is acrylic on Masonite, 4 feet x 3 feet, March-April 2013.

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