Mr. Landrith, Mr. Van Metre and Mr. Shiver have built many of the
developments in the Groveton community.
We moved into BelleView in 1941, and I was in the construction business. In 1946 we bought property that's now BelleView, BelleView Shopping Center and River Towers with 105 acres of swamp. In order to develop it we had to haul in about 8 feet of fill over the whole area. We actually started construction May 3, 1947, and finished the summer of 1951. We had 1,000 garden type apartments and sold 26 acres to Allan Rocks Company, who built 550 apartments known as River Towers in 1960. When we bought the land the water company had to run a water main 3 miles, and services had to build a pumping station to pump the sewage into the Potomac River. Of course now there's a treatment plant.
There's quite an extensive underground drainage. The swales are affected by the tides --the water rises and falls with the tide in the area. We had quite a problem with the under ground water when we put in sewer and water. We had to use well points, to keep the water out, and that water also went up and down with the tides. In fact, these buildings are practically setting on water. It was very difficult to develop because of that but it's been very successful. We stay full, and it's a convenient place to live. We have probably over 300 families that have lived here ever since we built, many cases where children were raised here, got married, and they're raising their families here. Some of the military have lived here as much as four times throughout a period.
I did live in Belle Haven. We sold our house last May and we bought a small lot and are going to build a small house back up in Belle Haven. The sewer moratorium's on and I can't get a building permit. I understand that's going to be lifted in about a month, so then we'll start building back up in there.
Olmi and I were partners in building, and at one time I owned half interest in Belle Haven. Then I sold it back to him, so we both built our houses up on a new street there, and we decided to call it Olmi-Landrith Drive. It was terrible because no one could spell either one of them, and we had to spell them every time we talked about it. No one spells Olmi right. No one spells Landrith.
One time the lady across the street decided she wanted to change and she went around and got 26 or 27 people including us to sign a petition to change it. We were very happy to have it changed. There was one. I believe he was a Colonel came home and found out. He said he didn't want it changed because his kids knew how to spell it. They had it on all their credit cards and mailing addresses. So he went around and got a petition signed. Practically all the same people signed not to change it. They went before the Board of Supervisors to have the street changed and the board decided that if the people couldn't make up their minds. they would just leave it the way it was. So that's the reason it's still Olmi-Landrith Drive.