Ashby Ponds Resident Recalls Childhood Life on a Local Farm in the Mid-1900s

July 18, 2013

(Ashburn, Va.) - Ashburn resident Joan Foote recalls growing up in a Loudoun County that is far from what we know today.  She was raised on a working farm just south of Leesburg on a plot purchased by her parents in 1947.  The land, which spanned nearly 800 acres, was farmed by Foote's father, former Capital Airlines CEO and President, James Henry "Slim" Carmichael.  At the time, Foote recalls widespread cornfields and wheatfields in what she remembers as "the largest agricultural county in the state".  Today, she lives at Ashby Ponds retirement community, less than 15 miles away from her childhood home.

"We lived on the farm, but much of our lives were really spent in the city," said Foote, who recalls driving into Washington, D.C. for school on a two-lane route 7.  Then, the 36-mile trip from their home at Four J Hill Farm only took 35-minutes.  "We'd see the same people every day on the road."

According to Foote, the main social scenes in Leesburg at the time were the Leesburg Diner and White's Drugstore.  In Purcellville, she remembers fun Saturday nights at the Moorcones Theater.  "Everybody knew everybody and Mrs. Moorcones treated us all like relatives," said Foote.  As far as Ashburn was concerned, she said that area was even more remote. "Back then, Ashburn consisted of a gas station," joked Foote.
Foote fondly recalls life on the farm where her family raised cattle, rode horses, and took care of pigs, sheep, and chickens.  She also remembers traveling with her family to nearby horse shows.  Her parents sold the farm in 1965, and while the land is no longer a working farm, the farmhouse still stands today just off of Evergreen Mills Road.
Since leaving the farm, Foote has spent time living in Las Vegas, Denver, Tampa, and throughout the D.C. metro area.  She relocated to Florida in 2001, but moved back to the area a few years later to be closer to her daughter.  In 2008, Foote moved to Ashby Ponds retirement community when it opened and is considered one of the pioneer residents at the community.  "I moved here for the lifestyle," said Foote.  "I can live the way I want to live, but if I need something or someone, it's there.  It's the best of both worlds."
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The community is home to over 700 residents and has over 100 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at