Thanks to its key strategic location across the Potomac from the District, Arlington County was home to 22 Union forts during the Civil War. In order to see an approaching enemy, soldiers often cut down 1-2 miles of trees around each fort.
The photo, left, illustrates just that. Fort C.F. Smith, now a county park along the George Washington Parkway in North Arlington, was surrounded by a denuded landscape that allowed soldiers to mount an effective, fortified defense against any Confederate force that might have tried to invade attack Washington.
Civil War historian Dr. Walton H. Owen II, author of Mr. Lincoln’s Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington, says that while large expanses of trees were cut down, some were spared.
“Contrary to what many people believe, not every tree was cut down,” Owen said. “Trees located around homes that provided shade were often saved because that was the Civil War equivalent of air-conditioning.”
The means by which the trees were cut down is fascinating in its own right. Owen cited a quote from the book The Seventy-Ninth Highlanders: New York Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, published in 1886, that discussed the domino-like felling of an entire forest.
It was an interesting sight to witness the simultaneous falling of a whole hill-side of timber; the choppers would begin at the foot of the hill, the line extending for perhaps a mile, and cut only part way through the tree, and in this way work up to the crest, leaving the top row so that a single bow would bring down the tree – then, when all was ready, the bugle would sound as a signal, and the last stroke of the axe be given, which brought down the top row; these falling on those below would bring them down, and like the billow on the surface of the ocean, the forest would fall with a crash like mighty thunder.
For the next four years Arlington and the rest of the country will be marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Among the upcoming events planned in commemoration, the Virginia Civil War HistoryMobile will be camped out at the Arlington County Fair from Wednesday to Sunday.
Interior construction has finally started on the new Trader Joe’s in Clarendon.
In addition to converting the cavernous space within 1109 N. Highland Street into a grocery store, crews will also be working to install an elevator shaft, to provide access from the store to the parking garage below. Residents of the Lyon Place at Clarendon Center apartments received the following note about the impending construction on Friday.
Please be advised that Prime Contracting is scheduled to do work in the parking garage to install elevators from the garage to the Trader Joe’s store. This elevator project is scheduled to begin August 8 and is expected to take at least 8 weeks to complete. During that time there will be several spaces on each level of the garage that will be out of service. All driveways will remain open and access to parking will continue as usual.
Please take notice that on Monday, August 8, Prime Contracting will begin concrete demolition for the elevator shaft in the garage. The concrete demolition will start at 5:30pm and will take 3-4 hours. It will take approximately 3 evenings to perform this work.
Update at 5:55 p.m. — Clarendon Boulevard and 16th Street will both remained closed between N. Pierce Street and N. Oak Street through the morning rush, the county said this afternoon.
Update at 1:10 p.m. — The processes of shoring up the collapsed retaining wall could take up to 48 hours, according Arlington County Inspection Services Division Chief Shahriar Amiri. While some road closures will remain, Amiri said that Clarendon Boulevard may reopen as soon as tomorrow’s morning rush hour. “We are working hard at it,” he said.
The road closures related to last night’s construction site collapse are expected to remain in place through tonight’s evening rush hour. Heavy traffic is expected as a result.
Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management issued the following alert just after 10:30 this morning.
It is anticipated that both lanes of eastbound Clarendon Blvd (N. Pierce St. to Oak St.) will remain closed through the evening rush hour, related to the construction site collapse.
On northbound Rte 110, the Rosslyn exit (via Wilson Blvd) has also been closed to relieve congestion. Motorists are encouraged to continue onto westbound I-66 to the Lee Hwy exit.
Lee Hwy (Rte. 29) and Arlington Blvd (Rte. 50) are the suggested routes for getting to and around Rosslyn. Those with plans in Rosslyn should expect major traffic delays. Transit, pedestrian & bicycle routing will also be affected.
Jaime Areizaga-Soto has received the endorsement of Del. David Englin, a founding co-chair of the Virginia Progressive Caucus, while Barbara Favola received the endorsement of the Sun Gazette newspaper.
In its editorial, the Sun Gazette said that Favola provides “common-sense, middle-ground representation” as a County Board member, while Areizaga-Soto lacks experience.
“As newcomer Areizaga-Soto has no political track record to speak of, we can only judge him based on his platform and public pronouncements,” the paper said. “The talking points are all of the garden-variety ‘progressive’ kind that make many Northern Virginia Democrats largely irrelevant in Richmond’s corridors of power… Favola, on the other hand, does have a track record. It is hardly perfect, but it is strong enough to make her a decided favorite in our eyes.”
Englin, meanwhile, said he “can no longer remain silent” about the way he believes Areizaga-Soto has been treated by Democratic leaders.
As a progressive leader in the General Assembly, I generally do not endorse Democratic primary candidates in districts where I cannot vote, and I’ve been especially hesitant to comment on the 31st District Senate primary because my wife is a paid consultant for one of the candidates, Jaime Areizaga-Soto. However, my simmering anger at how my own party’s leaders in the Virginia Senate are handling this race has boiled over, and I can no longer remain silent.
Jaime Areizaga-Soto is a Georgetown and Stanford-educated attorney and a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, whom President Obama appointed to a high-level position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He served as a White House Fellow — one of our nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service, whose alumni include distinguished Americans like Wesley Clark, Colin Powell, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. On top of all that, he’s an Eagle Scout who is fluent in four languages. Yet the retiring incumbent, who just months ago introduced Areizaga-Soto to her constituents as a valued policy adviser, now claims he was a mere intern in her office and accuses him of inflating his resume. Since when does a 41-year-old who is an accomplished attorney, a lieutenant colonel, an Obama Administration appointee, and a White House Fellow need to inflate his resume?
The most senior Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate continue to attack and belittle Areizaga-Soto, who would be the first Latino elected to the Virginia Senate, because he has the nerve to seek his party’s nomination against their hand-picked choice. They are so incensed by his candidacy that they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attack him that could otherwise be used to defend their tenuous Democratic majority. This smacks of an earlier era of “good old boy” Virginia Democratic politics that most of us soundly rejected long ago. I have nothing against the other candidate in this race, Barbara Favola, with whom I have enjoyed working on Arlington County issues over the years. But the seat she and Areizaga-Soto seek belongs to the people of the 31st District, not to party bosses or the retiring incumbent to bequeath to the successor of their choice.
I urge Democrats in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun to vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto for Senate on August 23rd, both because he will be a thoughtful, progressive champion for our entire community, and to send a message that the Democratic Party is still the open, inclusive party of good government we have worked so hard together to build.
Lost Dog Cafe Expanding — The Lost Dog Cafe location on Columbia Pike is expanding. The restaurant is taking over the space once occupied by an adjacent cell phone store. [Pike Wire]
Changes to ‘Secure Communities’ — The federal government is changing the ‘Secure Communities’ program to “avoid further confusion” about whether it’s optional or not. Arlington tried to “opt out” of the program — which shares local arrest data with federal immigration authorities — last year. The program will remain mandatory for local jurisdictions, but now it will be conducted without formal, signed memoranda of agreement with individual states. [Washington Post]
Capital Bikeshare Saves Lives? — Arlington’s Commuter Services department is touting a recent British study that found that a bike share program in Barcelona saved about 12 lives as a result of the extra physical activity from bicycling. The study also found that the program eliminated 9 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. “In other words, bike-sharing and Capital Bikeshare are good for you and the air we breathe,” an Arlington official writes. [CommuterPage Blog]
Cuccinelli Shrugs off Local Dem Attacks — Those local Democratic candidates who have been calling Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli an “extremist” and other unkind words? Not a concern for Cuccinelli. “It’s a little bit hard to take seriously being called ‘so far outside the mainstream’ by people who are so far to the left they can’t see the middle,” he said in an interview. [Sun Gazette]
The accident happened on Lynn Street, near the intersection with Lee Highway. Two lanes of Lynn Street were blocked as medics treated the bicyclist and as police took photos of the accident scene.
The bicyclist was taken to George Washington University Hospital with unspecified injuries. So far there’s no indication that those injuries are life-threatening.