On this day in Arlington history, December 30, 1867: Frank Lyon is born in Petersburg, Virginia. In 1886 he moved to Washington, DC to work for the Southern Railroad. From 1887 to 1899, he was private secretary to Walter L. Bragg, a commissioner of Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Lyon received a master of law degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1890. That summer on August 5, 1890, he married Georgia Hays Wright from Gainesville, Virginia. He was the father of Georgia Hays Lyon, John Lyon (who would die in World War I) and Margaret Springs Lyon.
After 1902, he formed a partnership with Robert Moore and began buying land for development in what would become Arlington County. Active in politics and a friend of fellow lawyer Crandall Mackey, Lyon joined the Citizen's League which had been formed to combat the numerous illegal gambling dens and other unwanted elements in that area. He bought the Alexandria County Monitor and used it to further support Mackey’s efforts to clean up Hell’s Bottom (Jackson City) and Dead Man’s Hollow (Rosslyn). As the Virginia side of the Potomac was made less lawless and the many brothels, salons, and gambling joints driven out of business, Lyon focused his attention on developing the communities of Lyon Park and Lyon Village. He founded the real estate firm of Lyon and Fitch, Inc.
When Frank worked for the railroad and ICC, he traveled a lot and, in 1907, influenced by the Spanish missions he had seen in the American West, he built Lyonhurst—now Missionhurst owned by the Immaculate Heart Mission fathers —a Spanish Mission-style stucco house (see photo). The house was built with large porches to catch the breeze in the hot summer weather. The house was one of the first in the county to have electricity.