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Chapter VII - Home Builders in Aquia Harbour

Oct 3, 2013
Chapter VII - Home Builders in Aquia Harbour
  • Chapter VII
    "Home Builders in Aquia Harbour"

    Home Builders in Aquia Harbour
    You do remember old Dizzy Dean, don't you?
    That great pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals later became famous as their radio voice. That's when Dizzy got America's teachers of English up in arms over his Home-spun narratives. One in particular stood out, when he told how a runner slud into third base.
    In essence, that describes how at least two Harbour homes under Construction in our past also slud -- down the hill, in Section Two.
    In the late 1970s, Charlie Meador was building some homes here, including his own, at 2161 Aquia Drive. According to former Harbour developer Bill Roth, Charlie had parked his car in the driveway, which slanted down to the house. The car apparently lost its brakes and rolled right into the structure, nudging it slowly off its foundation. It was a good thing that, barely a week earlier, Bill had persuaded Charlie to take out builders insurance to cover his Construction efforts.
    The other instance was much later, much more noticeable. Charter Homes had cleared a building lot up the hill from where Forsail Cove now intersects Aquia Drive. A house on the lot was nearing completion, during a time of much rainfall. Unfortunately, the bare-ground steep hill above the house gave way. Like Charlie's car, the soaked soil slud down the hill and deposited the house almost onto heavily traveled Aquia Drive itself.
    Other examples abound of Home building gone awry here. For there were many various builders demonstrating wide-ranging competence through the years.

    Diverse Builders, Homes
    But now that the Harbour is just about built out, one thing remains remarkable and very attractive about our community and our homes.
    Unlike most other large modern developments, our homes don't look like they all came from the same cookie cutter.
    The obvious reason is that many different builders employed a variety of cookie cutters, ranging from intended weekend fishing cabins to estate homes.
    There is a less obvious and more important reason. By design, virtually all the lots were initially sold to individuals, not builders. Thus, until very late in the game, there was no substantial cluster of a single builder's homes.

    Mike Cuts His Teeth
    Moreover, one of the Harbour's biggest and persistent builders tried many different house styles over the years he was here. I'm talking about a former Marine Corps rooster named Mike Iacovacci. He learned and honed his Construction skills here. In his successful latter days of building in Virginia, Mike modestly parked in his Home's driveway near the marina not one Rolls Royce, but two.
    For several early years of the development's life, Mike was its only builder. And that was good. At least it kept folks looking and buying lots, admits Bill Roth, the developer then.
    Mike's Monument Construction, with its unique brick kitchen concept, built many different homes here for a decade or more, putting it in apparent first place as the Harbour's volume leader. Second place may belong to RH-Howco Homes, and then perhaps Charter.
    Now let me test your memory about Mike Iacovacci's homes. (Incidentally, most folks pronounced Mike's name Yah-kuh-VAH-chee, at least those in the majority who were happy with his homes.)
    The answer to this memory teaser was a surprise to me.
    The question: Which was the first house Mike built in Aquia Harbour? The answer is right across the street from the business office, at 1220 Washington. Built in early 1973, It's the Home of the late Jack Drew, a former board member and president of AHPOA, and his widow Kathryn.
    Who says that was Mike's first house here? Del does. Del Martin, that is, and he should know. He was the Harbour's first chairman of the architectural control committee, way back when resident J.D. Moore was the first boss here for American Realty Service. Moreover, Del claims, along with wife Retta, to have been the first family to establish permanent residence here, in 1970 at 1009 Richmond. He still hangs out at Gargoyles.
    Where was I? Oh yes, the Drew residence on the business-office traffic circle. Its design little resembles Mike's subsequent efforts, which included wide variations, such as Spanish styles (check out the nice one at the corner of Aquia Drive and Dewey in the Flats) and the all-brickfront models, like the strategically located finished model (called the Hillin, if memory serves) he sold from for many years, at 1103 Washington Drive near the gate.

    Many Model Homes
    Speaking of model homes, there have been a bunch over the years, especially on or near Washington Drive and down Richmond towards the creek.
    Most of their builders did well, with reputable backing. But there was a glaring exception, a guy who bugged out on several Home purchasers. Peachtree Homes had opened model homes at 2067, 2069, and 2071 Aquia in the late 1970s. But soon thereafter, the builder skipped, leaving some buyers--like Paul and Judie Brown--with only partially completed homes. I don't know if he ever resurfaced or not. The Browns later moved to the lovely Home on Washington Drive that is so bedecked with Christmas lights every winter.
    I'll try to list some other model homes, as many as I can remember. Resident Curt Johnson has helped; in his long post-military stay here, he has sold from several Harbour models.
    Here are the model homes on my list:

    • Monument Construction: Several early model homes,
      including 1103 and 1207 Washington
    • RH Homes: 1001 John Paul Jones
    • Howco: 1111, 1204, and 1211 Richmond
    • Charter Homes: 2039 and 2041 Aquia
    • Travilian: 1212 Richmond
    • Crown: 1025 Atlantic
    • Glenwood: 1103 Richmond
    • J&J: 1208 Washington.
    • Ryland: 1224 and 1226 Washington;
      1117 and 1119 Richmond
    • Fairfield: 1303 Washington
    Furthermore, Ryan Homes built a few homes here, as did U.S. Home, custom builder Coleman, Artbuilt, Locklear and the aforementioned Charley Meador.
    The only builder that clustered a substantial number of its non-model homes together was Charter, in Section Two on flatish Foresail Cove. Charter opened that last Harbour area for development after bringing in loads of fill dirt to make its dozen or so lots buildable.
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