Military Relocation-Inside the Gates of Fort Belvoir

DSC01144Yesterday was the day that most military members dread, waiting at the ID office to get your updated cards for your new post and new tags for your car. Fortunately for me they Fort Belvoir ID office takes appointments and my wait to update all my information only took an hour so I didn’t have to waste the entire day. It gave me a chance to look around and see what was new on post.

One of the things that strikes most people with PCS orders to Fort Belvoir is how big the base actually is. With 8,600 acres Fort Belvoir is one of the largest installations in the Military District of Washington and houses multiple commands including other branches of the US Armed Forces. The largest and best known commands on post include the Department of Defense agencies such as the Defense Systems Management College and the Defense Mapping School.

When you drive through Tulley Gate (where you will need to register your car) one of the first things you see are the signs for the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge which has well marked trails and plenty of wildlife for the whole family to enjoy. If you aren’t in to walking outdoors the two fitness centers or two 18 hole golf courses might be more what you are looking for.

DSC01143Over the last few years base housing at Fort Belvoir has been going through a significant upgrade. Newer neighborhoods have been built to replace some of the smaller outdated homes and historic neighborhoods refurbished. In fact if you didn’t know you were on post when you see the first of the new neighborhoods you would think you were in Cameron or Lorton Station just a few miles away. With small shops set around the different neighborhoods you can grab a Starbucks or a sit at an outdoor café for a bite to eat.

The historic neighborhoods built in the 1930’s feature Colonial Revival homes with slate roofs, dormer windows and tall brick chimneys. And just like the Lustron homes that graced Quantico, Fort Belvoir also had a prototype home built as well. In 1948 in conjunction with Higgins Industries a “Thermo-Con” cement home was built on base. Though only one house was built it was considered important enough historically to be placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and is used to today for guest housing.

The next big change coming to Fort Belvoir will be the new state of the art hospital to replace DeWitt Hospital. When the announcement was made in 2005 that Walter Reed Army Medical Center would be closing it was obvious that the current facilities (where my daughter was born) would not support the almost 85,000 military and civilian patients that the area has. The new hospital will have 1.2 million square feet of space and have the facilities to support all of the new technologies needed for a leading medical facility. The new hospital will open in 2010.

So that is a quick tour inside the gates of Fort Belvoir. There is a lot to see and do when you get here both in and outside the gates. If you have orders to head to Fort Belvoir this year give me a call. I’ll be glad to help you with all of your questions about the area and show you around.

© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Cindy Jones.

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