The Heart and Soul of Annandale

By:  M. Callahan

The landscaping is particularly beautiful at the Annandale Shopping Center.

The Annandale Shopping Center is centrally located on Columbia Pike at Gallows Road, just 1.5 miles from the Beltway.  Built in 1957, the Annandale Shopping Center (ASC) has become a symbol for urban revitalization. From extensive lush landscaping to participation in every major community event, this center is held closely in the heart of the community, as it has been for four generations.  

Right from the start, The Annandale Shopping Center took over the role of town center.  Easily accessible to all the new subdivisions, the community flocked daily to the superb variety of shops.  Bike racks were installed since the roads were lightly trafficked and safe for enthusiastic children bikers eager to rummage through the baseball cards at the Sports & Hobby Shop, buy cookies at the bakery, or something more substantial at TOPS Drive Inn, an eatery famous for their Happy Days environment.

Today, major tenants include the Great American Restaurant, Silverado.  Without question, it is the most popular restaurant in Annandale providing equally busy lunch and dinner service.   

Thousands celebrated when Navy Federal Credit Union opened their Annandale branch saving military families the long congested drive to Tysons.

Home Instead Senior Care is one of the largest employers in the district providing professional CAREGivers to local seniors.  Whether it’s companionship, help with daily chores, transport to appointments, respite or Alzheimer’s care, or even personal chef services, Home Instead provides the means which allow seniors to remain in their homes. 

Beanetics Coffee Roasters is Annandale’s only independently owned micro coffee roasting facility.  Since the evolution of a better cup of coffee starts with the origin of the beans and the roasting, Beanetics customers can watch the roasting process in the glass enclosed roasting room, and select single bean or blended roasts. This home grown business has become the favorite haunt for the residential and business community.   It is not unusual to seepoliticians, journalists, artists, joggers, or moms with a baby carriage sipping & chatting.

Listening to talk at Beanetics confirms Annandale’s claim to celebrating cultural diversity as well as the enjoyment of multiple culinary cuisines, healthy pursuits, and a well traveled & educated population.   The twenty-one businesses in the Annandale Shopping Center form the focal point of the community.  It is, and always has been, the heart and soul of Annandale.

Go there on Tuesday, Aug. 4th to celebrate National Night Out from 6-9 PM.  Bring the family & neighbors, and your lawn chairs for a free night of family fun, an outdoor movie & popcorn, raffles & refreshments. Also meet your local police and firefighters.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021
National Night Out
Free Family Fun and Games at the Annandale Shopping Center


The Beginning

The McWhorter family bought twenty acres of heavily treed Annandale land from a Mr. Chatelain.  Here they built the Annandale Shopping Center (1956-57) on the front six acres, and the Chatelain Village subdivision just behind.

James McWhorter also established the Annandale Water Company and laid pipes for developers coming into the county. The two water tanks pictured to the right were located on the NE hill of the Webb Family Farm at the corner of Gallows Road and Columbia Pike.  By 1955, the Annandale Water Company served 3,000 Annandale, Falls Church and Fairfax customers. 

At that time, Fairfax County supplied water through many small, mostly private water systems, and a limited number of public systems. There was no standardization between systems and each system maintained its own rate schedule and level of service.

In order to improve service reliability, establish even rate schedules, and provide effective fire protection throughout Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors created Fairfax Water in September 1957 for the purpose of “acquiring, constructing, operating and maintaining an integrated water system for supplying and distributing water.” The purchase of the Annandale Water Company was their first in 1959, followed by the acquisition of 17 other systems over the next eight years.

The shopping center has always been managed and maintained to the highest standards, and is the only center in Annandale with extensive lush landscaping; showing the owners’ dedication to beautifying Annandale.  Annandale’s most popular stores & restaurants, from 1957 to the present, have resided here.  In a community pole taken just last year, stores at the ASC were voted the BEST in all five categories; a testament to an enduring history.

Stores opened for business in the original Annandale Shopping Center between 1957-1960

1. A&P Grocery

2. Drug Fair

3. Suburban Savings and Loan

4. Bradshaw Shoes

5. The Annandale Bakery

6. The Annandale Self Service Laundry & Dry Cleaners

7. The Annandale Beauty Salon

8. Annandale Barber Shop

9. Annandale Sports and Hobby

10. Annandale Paint Center

11. B&C Jewelers (later McCormick Jewelers)

12. Villa Maria Restaurant

13. High’s  (first convenience store in Annandale)

14. Galanis (Nick & George) Mobile Station

15. Tops Restaurant

16. Deavers Appliance


The Annandale Shopping Center

(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this article, in whole or in part, requires the written permission of the author.   Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.   

For stories on Annandale's History

The Annandale Shopping Center contributes to community beautification with this lush landscaping.

Coffee Roasting Machine at Beanetics Coffee Roasters in the Annandale Shopping CenterBeanetics Coffee Roasters at the ASC

Silverado's, a Great American Restaurant at the ASC

Hapmudo Martial Arts School at the ASC

The Water Towers that supplied the Annandale Water Company.

Happy Days at TOPS DRIVE INN in the Annandale Shopping Center.

TOPS DRIVE INN was a favorite early restaurant in the Annandale Shopping Center.

The Annandale Shopping Center 1957-1958

(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.  (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites,
or social media sites.)


                                                                 Copyright 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.                     Privacy Policy