The Eastover Neighborhood borders the District of Columbia to either side of Indian Head Highway (Rt. 210), expanding to the Potomac River on the west and Wheeler Road on the east. The Capital Beltway forms the southern terminus of the neighborhood's land area.
Residential development in the neighborhood has taken a number of different forms. A small subdivision of single-family homes became the municipality of Forest Heights in 1949, while an adjacent area known as Glassmanor was developed with duplexes and three-family structures. The section around Glassmanor also became an important locale for apartment construction while the more open and eastern area towards Wheeler Road has attracted single-family subdivision development.
EASTOVER POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS Population 22,033 Under 18 Years of Age 35.3% Over 64 Years of Age 2.3% Nonwhite Residents 14.7% Households 7,006 Headed by Husband-Wife Teams 69.2% Female Family Head w/o Spouse 8.2% Senior Citizen Households 233 Percent of Total Households 3.3%
At the time when tracts of land were first claimed in the Eastover Neighborhood, there was no District of Columbia and the County border extended to the Potomac River. As acquisition of land extended upstream in the 1600's, one large tract was patented at the mouth of Oxon Run. Known as St. Elizabeth (or St. Elizabeth's), the estate occupied a bold neck of land which overlooked the small and growing port of Alexandria, Virginia, on the western side of the Potomac River. The estate later became part of the extensive land holdings of Col. John Addison and was renamed Oxon Hill by one of his descendants. However, the name of St. Elizabeth has also persisted for most of the original estate which was later used as a farm for a nearby federal hospital in the District of Columbia. Today most of this tract belongs to the federal government and one 12-acre site is used as an educational and recreational resource for youngsters who wish to observe farming methods of a past era.
Before the District of Columbia line was drawn in 1791, other land patents straddled the present border, and another, known as Barnaby Manor, was located further eastward along Barnaby Run, a tributary of Oxon Run. The name of Barnaby is still used as the designation of several subdivisions in the neighborhood -- Barnaby Village and Barnaby Manor Oaks.
During the 1800's, main travel routes in the Eastover Neighborhood were limited to a path which was analogous to the present right-of-way of Livingston Road (which led into the County from the District of Columbia and moved southward along the Potomac River), and Wheeler Road (an even more rural path out of the District of Columbia which made connections with St. Barnabas Road in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood). By the early 1900's, Owens Road provided an east-west route through the interior section of the neighborhood and served as an access road to various farms.
The first major move toward developing the neighborhood in a modern residential fashion took place with the introduction of the Forest Heights subdivision. Planning for the subdivision was initiated in 1940 by the Washington Heights Realty Company on land which bordered Livingston Road just a short distance from the District of Columbia border. The design for the community included the laying out of several hundred lots, residential streets with Indian names, sites for wells for water supply, and reserved space for a commercial center to front on Livingston Road, described at that time as "hard-surfaced."
The community was bisected by a new highway during World War II when the federal government built Indian Head Highway as an alternate route to old Livingston Road. By the end of the 1940's approximately 300 homes had been built in the Forest Heights subdivision which covered 129 acres on the west side and 37 acres on the east side of Indian Head Highway. Lots were generally 7,000 square feet or larger in size, and the building of homes was accomplished by several developers and construction companies involved in the project.
The movement toward incorporation as a municipality was successfully completed in 1949, and was followed by the provision of new public services, including the paving of streets, the installation of a surface drainage system, and the bringing in of sewer lines through connections to the District of Columbia's sanitary system in the Oxon Run Basin. The town also established a town office building and community center building in 1953, and furnished such services as street maintenance, street lighting, police patrol, and trash disposal. The town continued to attract homebuyers during the 1950's and during that decade increased its population from 1,125 to 3,524, and its number of dwelling units from 311 to 905. Town boundaries also expanded, taking in an additional 80 acres in 1953 and 20 acres in 1958. Its first school (Forest Heights Elementary) opened in 1953 on the western side of Indian Head Highway, and in 1957 a second elementary school (Flintstone) was established on the eastern side of the highway.
While there were some attempts in the early 1940's to subdivide land in the Barnaby or eastern section of the neighborhood along Wheeler Road, most of the subdivisions that are present in that area were not started until the mid-1950's; these groupings in- clude Barnaby Village, Barnaby Manor Oaks, Eastover Knolls, Martin Park, and Weaver's Knoll, as well as the large Birchwood City subdivision along the southern edge of the neighborhood.
The Forest Heights subdivision was followed instead by the introduction of attached two and three-family homes in the Glassmanor section on the eastern side of Indian Head Highway in very close proximity to the District of Columbia border. Factors which favored the initiation of this type of housing included highway accessibility, available sewer service, and the increased demand for inexpensive housing after the end of World War II. The Glassmanor section also contained garden apartment units, and total dwelling units in this section increased from around 800 in 1950 to 1,200 in 1960.
The decade of the 1960's brought to this neighborhood, as to many others, the introduction of large-scale apartment construction, and added approximately 4,000 multi-family units to the neighborhood's stock of housing. Most of the apartment complexes are in proximity to the Glassmanor section, with access from Indian Head Highway or Livingston Road. One large development is reached via Southern Avenue (District of Columbia border), and several groupings are located along Wheeler Road and St. Barnabas Road. In 1970, apartment units represented almost two-thirds of total dwelling units in the Eastover Neighborhood. Since that date, apartment units have increased with the opening of a new apartment building for senior citizens on Owens Road (furnished by the County's Housing Authority), and a new structure on Wheeler Road built by a non-profit organization.
The population in the Eastover Neighborhood in 1970 numbered 22,000 with 35 percent in the under-18 age group and only two percent in the senior citizen category. A substantial number of the households (totaling over 7,000) are headed by a person who is not part of a husband-wife team; households headed by such teams account for 69 percent of total households. Nonwhites comprise 15 percent of total population, and according to the 1970 Census, one-fifth of the nonwhite persons have an ethnic background other than Negro. Many live on the eastern side of Indian Head Highway where apartments and row housing predominate.