Tauxemont’s significance lies in its conscious effort to blend in with the natural setting. From its founding to today, this remains its outstanding characteristic and is what makes Tauxemont unique from surrounding communities.
Walkable roads without sidewalks, mature trees, natural landscape, and a wide variety of birds and wildlife are embraced by ‘Tauxemonters’ past and present.
The neighborhood of Tauxemont was founded in 1941 by a group of twenty, like-minded families who desired to move from apartment life in Arlington, VA into homes of their own. This group - most of whom worked for the Federal government - formed a cooperative and purchased 12.36 acres of undeveloped land close to the Potomac River, eight miles south of Washington, DC. Formerly part of a dairy farm, they paid for $5,680.10 for this parcel of land, with a plan to build twenty simple, modern, affordable houses. They named their new development 'Tauxemont', after one member’s discovery that the Taux (also called Dogue) Indians resided in the same area in pre-Colonial times.
One of the co-op’s members, Robert C. Davenport, volunteered to serve as president of the ‘Tauxemont Cooperative Houses’. Another co-op member, architect Alexander Knowlton, volunteered to design the basic single-story houses. Built on slabs, with cement block exteriors and utilitarian interior designs, each of the original twenty houses built on newly-named ‘Tauxemont Road’ measured just under 1,200 square feet and cost $5,500.00. The site plan oriented each house at an angle to avoid a cookie cutter look from the street, provide comfort and privacy, and coexist in harmony with the natural, wooded setting.
Also, as the first subdivision built in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, Tauxemont provided for itself in other ways - building a its own well water system to provide water to its residents, and establishing a nursery school for their children.
When interest grew after the establishment of ‘Section I’, Mr. Davenport expanded Tauxemont, developing Sections II and III. The interior designs of the Section II and III houses were altered slightly from the original design, and leftover World War II materiel - including aluminum - was incorporated into the construction of a number of houses in Section III (two of which still have their original metal roofs intact today). By the end of 1948 a total of 107 homes completed the Tauxemont subdivision. Tauxemont was considered to be a progressive development. With its successful establishment under his belt, Robert Davenport went on to develop nearby Hollin Hills, the well-known subdivision featuring the architectural work of modernist Charles Goodman. Mr. Goodman’s work can also be seen in a number of additions to Tauxemont homes.
Other features of the Tauxemont neighborhood include a park, meandering nature paths, tennis courts, and a community building which has been the home of Tauxemont Cooperative Preschool for over 70 years. Tauxemont’s most notable feature, it’s private well water system, continues to provide pure, delicious well water to its residents every today.