Historic Photos: Tysons Corner Transforms From Pit Stop to Commercial Center

Here’s a look back at Tysons Corner, from its humble beginnings as a farm town and rest stop to the commercial hub it is now, dotted with high rises.

23 photos
Tysons Corner Center
Tysons Corner Center
Above, a view of Myers Market.
Tysons Corner Center
The inside of Myers Market, which sold ice cream for 15 cents a pint.
Tysons Corner Center
Long before Metro existed, the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad whisked passengers from Alexandria to Falls Church, Leesburg, Purcellville and other towns in between, according to the citizen organization Friends of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.
Tysons Corner Center
Eighteen years before Tysons Corner Center opened, the road leading to Washington was home to several farms, mostly devoted to raising cows. Tysons remained a dairy town into the '60s, said Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Tysons Corner Center
Tysons Locker was a large meatpacking plant in the area.
Tysons Corner Center
A photo of the Tyson's Locker plant. Even a few years before Tysons Corner Center opened, the town was a bedroom community for Washington, D.C., said Gerald L. Gordon, the president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Tysons Corner Center
The Maplewood Mansion is now the site of the Capital One Building in Tyson's.
Tysons Corner Center
This map shows developers long had big plans for the Tysons Corner Center space — including an apartment units, motel space and shopping center.
Tysons Corner Center opened in 1968 with 35 stores.
The mall soon expanded to over 100 stores, prompting developers to call it the largest enclosed mall in the world.
Marion S. Trikosko/Library of Congress
Three women shop at the Hecht Department Store in 1971.
Tysons now boasts movie theaters, glow-in-the-dark mini golf and kids' play areas. In 1971, a dirt bike track thrilled visitors and residents.
The expansive parking lot may look familiar to current day visitors. Some things never change.
Even as the dirt was paved over and large developments opened, in 1971, wooded areas persisted behind the growing commercial area.
The mall developers went for a more upscale feel beginning in the 1980s.
A lower level opened in 1988 and eventually housed Lord & Taylor and the East Coast's first Nordstrom, according to the mall's current operators.
Tysons Corner Center
Malls around the country are shuttering, but Tysons Corner Center is going strong, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. "As Fairfax County grows, the mall will continue to grow as well," said Gordon. "Tysons Corner is becoming a business hub. By 2050, we'll have 200,000 jobs here, over 100,000 residents, and they'll continue to need high-scale retail. The mall will also evolve."
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