"We can't say enough good about Brooks McCabe. He looked at the neighborhood and wanted to keep it. He decided not to do big developments that would appeal to high-end buyers," said resident Colleen Anderson.
Means said McCabe envisioned an artists colony in the space. The court has been home to artists such as Paula Clendenin, Molly Erlandson, Ron Sowell, David Riffle, Charly Jupiter Hamilton and Reidun Ovrebo.
Today, artists and authors join business owners, doctors, nonprofit and association executives and professionals, teachers and a career Marine as residents. Most of them support the arts and say they like to walk to the many concerts and exhibits at venues nearby.
Colleen Anderson, a writer and musician, moved to Arlington Court in 1976, moved away briefly, returned in 1981 and hasn't budged since.
"I love it. The layout encourages community. It's a good way to find out that the people are wonderful. They might be someone you wouldn't necessarily choose as a friend otherwise," Anderson said. "I've lived here for more than half my life."
Neighbors there watch out for each other, and always have. Anderson remembered when a severe snowstorm hit Charleston in the late 1970s and Gov. Jay Rockefeller encouraged residents to check on elderly neighbors. She and her roommate invited Marcus Kornstein, a retired tailor, for dinner.
"He didn't leave for three days," she said.
Her life at Arlington Court inspired Anderson to write both a song, "Neighborhood," and a children's book, "Missing: Mrs. Cornblossom," which she reads aloud to local schoolchildren.
Steve and Katy White moved to Arlington Court last year, taking up residence in their daughter's condominium while she moved into the family home in Knollwood. "We just swapped. We didn't need 4,500 square feet and 15 acres," Katy White said. "Now I have more time with my grandkids. I walk our dog three to five miles a day."
Arlington Court reminds Laura Lou Harbert of her hometown of Hinton, where everyone knew each other. "I wanted the neighborhood feel of Hinton. We walked everywhere," said Harbert, who previously lived in St. Albans. "I didn't go to the symphony or plays before I lived here, but now I can take part in Charleston's cultural activities. And there are many."
Kay Michael and her husband, Jim Reader, have lived in Arlington Court for six years. They moved from a large house on Quarrier Street. She helped her husband see the potential of the unit, which needed extensive renovations.
They live in the house with three cats and a golden retriever named Lily, who is friends with another golden retriever down the row. They're two of nine Arlington dogs.
While discussing what brought them to Arlington Court, several men noted that they'd married into it. Both Means and Chris Ross married women who are residents. They immediately embraced the location from which they can walk nearly everywhere -- restaurants, the ballpark, work, concerts at Haddad Riverfront Park and the Clay Center, all without designating a driver.
"I grew up in Charleston, but I never really saw the city. I have a whole new appreciation of Charleston, just from walking all around here," said Ross, whose wife is Angela Vance.
"I can't think of the last time I had a community where I lived," he said. "I love it here. We know the neighbors and share food and experiences. We wouldn't give it up for anything."
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.