Meet Your Community: Bellevue Forest, Arlington
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Meet Your Community: Bellevue Forest, Arlington


Meet Your Community: Bellevue Forest, Arlington


Close to Gulf Branch Nature Center, Donaldson Run Park, and smaller parks, Bellevue Forest lives up to its name. The community itself is all residential, but it’s a short drive to restaurants and shops. It’s only a few minutes to MacArthur Blvd or the Palisades area. While there’s a lot of privacy here, residents are friendly, welcoming, and willing to stop and chat. The community is part of Arlington County Public Schools, but some children attend private schools close by.

Buying a Home in Bellevue Forest

In the first half of 2023, 9 single family homes closed in Bellevue Forest in Arlington.  These ranged from a 3 bedroom home for $985,000 with some work needed to update the home, to a new construction 6 bedroom home for $3,300,000.  Homes tend to move quickly in this desirable area, with homes in excellent condition selling for over list price.  New construction homes accounted for 2 of the 9 sales, but most homes were well appointed and had been updated over the years. 


On December 23, 1938, the Grunwell brothers filed the first section of a plat for the 120-acre subdivision named Bellevue Forest after their family home. John Grunwell played a leading role in the development, bringing to bare his skills as an architect and surveyor. Bellevue Forest was platted in eighteen sections over a period of twenty years.  The original covenants were not conducive to an open, inclusive community and the original section expired in 1965.  The new community is based in a more inclusive leadership, and can be visited online here

The earliest homes built in Bellevue Forest reflected a number of the styles that enjoyed national popularity at that time: English Tudor, English Cottage and Colonial Revival.  Also incorporated into the neighborhood was the relatively rare International Style, with The Art Moderne home of 1940 another of the interesting styles in Bellevue Forest.  The majority of the homes erected in Bellevue Forest before the war were either story and a-half Minimal Traditional, as shown in this 1940 home,  or Basic or Middle Ranch houses.  This Contemporary style Ranch Rambler drew influence from the International style.

Beginning in 1954, development patterns changed in Bellevue Forest.    Trees were stripped from the lots, and houses with similar facades and plans were built side by side.      Nearly 150 of these houses were built between 1954 and 1958.    Although they were similar in appearance, they offered the luxuries of the time. Not all, however, were of the same style.    Both high-style Contemporary or Split-level plans were incorporated into Bellevue Forest.  Mr. Gene May was the principal builder of many of the homes in Bellevue Forest during the 1950’s.    It was during this period that Bellevue Forest experienced one of the few documented inconveniences during its development — the blasting of the area between it and the Potomac River to make way for the completion of the George Washington Parkway.

Bellevue Forest is rich in history and takes great pride and thrives on its natural setting.    In many respects, Bellevue Forest has changed little over the millions of years since its natural foundation was laid.      It is still hilly, with steep ravines into meandering streams.      It is still a forest, and in most cases, houses seem to have been carefully planted among the trees.      While many residents of Arlington report seeing deer, foxes, raccoons, opossums, pileated woodpeckers, mice, snakes, and other wildlife during their walks in our county parks, Bellevue Forest residents routinely see all of these in their own backyards.      It is a neighborhood in which people truly seem to enjoy living.