Mark Shepherd


Mark Shepherd is the builder and contractor of the Kirkside subdivision and is now building in the District of Columbia. He has lived in the area all his life and has seen many changes that have occurred.

Question: From whom did you purchase the Kirkside property?
From Kirk Wilkinson.

Question: Who contracted you to build Kirkside?
Nobody, we did it for a speculative venture. We developed it. We built it. We did it to make money. There are a variety of styles. The first of those was, I think, $32,000. We had one house down there for less than $29,950.

Question: How many houses did you build there?
Just slightly over 100. I think the highest priced house we built was $65,000. It was one of them at the top of the hill around Lookout Court. The largest house is the Williamsburg type with the big dormers on top. That sold in the 40’s. Some were in the 50's. The price structure didn’t vary a whole lot. We built a few houses that were more expensive. As I said, the cheapest house was $29,950. We built that as an attraction. It was a good subdivision, I think it was a good section. It seems to have held up. We did very well on that. Money. That is what attracts all the real estate developers - money, profit.

Question: How much are they now?
$180,000.

Question: What company built Kirkside?
That was Wellington Construction.

Question: When was Kirkside started?
1963.

Question: When was it completed?
1968-69.

It (Kirkside) was a good site for houses. No problems with the land. No development problems. No big flood control things or that type of thing. Sewers and the utilities were there. Utilities are what creates an urban sprawl. Water and electricity you can bring in fairly easy. Sewage disposal was available so that made it desirable to build houses. I wouldn't say it was the most profitable but it certainly was one of the most .

The land was easily worked. That was a big dairy farm. It was pretty open. There were very few trees.

We found bones that were obviously human. We brought in Margaret Mead, an anthropologist. She is rather well known. She died recently. She came out and we were able to find one of the graves. That particular one was a Negro male. By a little research we found out that the land at one time belonged to Beverly Mason who was a brother or a cousin or something of George Mason. It was a location for the slave graveyard. There were quite a few bones. It was hard to tell how many exactly. When we first found them we were moving earth. Skulls rolled out of the truck when we dumped the dirt. Miss Mead took all of them. She took them back over to the Smithsonian Institute.

Fairfax County was a very desirable place. The main reason for growth was the exodus from the cities. During Eisenhower's administration the Supreme Court ruled against the separate but equal education. They said it was unconstitutional. The people left the cities. I suppose that had to do with the start of developing in Fairfax County, Fairfax County being the closest to Washington where they could commute.

They came in great numbers. Washington just went to pot. There was nothing left. It got to be a terrible town. It's improving some now, but it was a terrible, dirty, ugly, run down, dilapidated town for a long time.

Question: What kind of people moved into Kirkside?
Many of them were military, being so close to the Pentagon and Fort Belvoir. A lot of them were professional. There were dentists, a couple of doctors, and government workers. A typical middle class suburban community. Fairfax County thought it very desirable to have that type of community then. Now they've got enough of it. They say they don't want anymore.

Volume Three, Table of Contents
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