A more-than-200-year-old piece of Arlington history will be the subject of an event at the Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St.).
The Dawson-Bailey House, believed to be the second-oldest home in Arlington, will be the focus of a visual presentation by Karl VanNewkirk, an Arlington Historical Society board member. The Sept. 12 presentation is part of a series of public programs between AHS and the library in an effort to further educate residents on the county’s history.
The Dawson-Bailey House was originally built as a one-room log cabin in the 1780s — though the actual age of the house is unknown. Both the Dawson and Bailey families occupied the house and continued to add to it for about 100 years. In 1955, after the last owner died, it was handed over to Arlington County. Today, the house is part of the Dawson Terrace Community Center (2133 N. Taft St.) and overlooks Spout Run Parkway in the North Highlands neighborhood, near Rosslyn.
The Ball-Sellers House, which is owned by AHS, is believed to be the oldest house in the county.
VanNewkirk’s presentation will include plenty about this historical landmark, including anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Both are rumored to have visited the house during the Civil War era. Lee lived just a mile or so away in the Arlington House.
The hour-long program is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 12 in the library’s main auditorium. A Q&A session with VanNewkirk will follow.
In addition to these public programs, the Arlington Historical Society welcomes visitors to their other historic Arlington locations, the Balls-Sellers House and the former Hume School, now the Arlington Historical Museum.
This article was written by Maddy Berner
Tax Delinquency Rate Hits Record Low — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary and his staff managed to get the county’s tax delinquency rate down to a record low 0.41 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30. “Just amazing — phenomenal, absolutely fabulous,” O’Leary was quoted as saying during a celebration of the accomplishment last night. [Sun Gazette]
Remembering Arlington’s Nazi Past — He wasn’t very popular with his fellow residents, but George Rockwell, the founder of the once Arlington-based American Nazi Party, remains part of Arlington lore. Before being shot to death in the Dominion Hills Shopping Centre, Rockwell helped organize a picket of Mario’s Pizza House on Wilson Boulevard for refusing Nazi party members service while continuing to serve black customers. The Nazis also made a bomb threat against the Arlington Unitarian Church. [Arlington Magazine]
Adult Soccer Clinic Registration — Registration is open for a six-week adult soccer clinic for men and women, to be held at Washington-Lee High School. The clinic is primarily intended for adults who want to learn how to play soccer or who haven’t played since childhood. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Brendan P. Childs
Virginia Square resident John Schachter said Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general during the Civil War, deserves “no positive recognition for his appalling record [of] treason, racism, hatred and dishonor,” according to the Sun Gazette.
Despite his impassioned plea, School Board members seemed unmoved and even the head of the Arlington branch of the NAACP was “at best ambivalent” about the idea — preferring to stay “focused on dealing with current issues, not reopening old ones,” the Sun Gazette reported.
Do you think Lee’s name should be removed from the school?
County Mulls Streetlight Changes — Arlington County is considering changing the type of LED streetlights it uses after complaints from residents. One possible change is using lights with a color temperature that more closely matches traditional sodium-vapor lighting. [Sun Gazette]
Cyclist Sets Up Stolen Bike Sting — A cyclist whose bikes were stolen from a Fairfax County parking garage managed to set up a sting operation in Arlington to try to catch the thief. The cyclist found one of the bikes for sale on Craigslist, arranged for the seller to come to an Arlington parking lot, and flagged down a police officer to lend assistance. After agreeing to a sale, listened to by police via a cell phone in the cyclist’s pocket, the seller was arrested. [Gripped Racing]
Transgender Fashion Show to Benefit Arlington Org — A transgender fashion show will be held this Saturday in Falls Church to benefit NovaSalud, a Courthouse-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit. The show’s Honorary Mistress of Ceremonies is Kristen Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who was formerly known as Chris Beck. [Falls Church News-Press]
This Day in Arlington History — On this day in Arlington history, 1937, it was reported that the County Board was debating whether movie theaters should be allowed to open on Sundays. Also, it was reported that a majority of the $176 million the IRS collected in Virginia in 1936 came from taxes on tobacco. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) A large oak tree fell on the historic, county-owned Fraber House after yesterday’s storms, damaging the home just as the county prepares to sell it.
The early 20th century structure, at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale, is set to receive a local historic designation from the Arlington County Board this weekend. The county then plans to sell the home, in “as is” condition, to the highest bidder. The buyer would be expected to fix up and maintain the house, while preserving its historic characteristics.
Thanks to the fallen tree, the home may be a bit more of a “fixer-upper” than the county planned. Visible damage includes a buckled portion of roof, a bent gutter, and a broken lower window.
The tree will be removed tomorrow (Wednesday) according to Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, and the county will repair the damage.
“Removal of the tree will require use of a large crane,” she wrote. “The property will covered by a tarp to protect it from the weather.”
“After the tree has been removed, we can do a complete assessment of the damage,” Kalish said. “From the damage that we can observe now it appears that exterior repairs will only take about a week to repair — if the weather cooperates. Repairs will be made that are in keeping with the historic nature of the home.”
Kalish said the damage will most likely not impact the Board’s scheduled vote on Saturday.
‘Virginia Room’ Reopens With New Name — The former Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) has reopened following renovations. Meanwhile, the room has been renamed the “Center for Local History.” [Arlington Public Library]
Phoenix Bikes Plans Move — The nonprofit Phoenix bike shop has been raising money for a planned move. The new location will be larger than the current classroom-sized shop. Like the current shop, it will be located on public property — at S. Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive, next to the W&OD Trail. [Arlington Mercury]
Haute Fabrics Now Open Near Ballston — Marshall, Va.-based fabric shop Haute Fabrics has opened a second location, near Ballston. The new location is located at 730 N. Glebe Road and offers two floors worth of fabrics. [My Notting Hill]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County courts, offices, libraries, and schools will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. Arlington’s three indoor public pools will be open on a holiday schedule on Monday. [Arlington County]
State Police Increasing Patrols — Virginia State Police say they’re increasing patrols statewide this weekend. “The additional patrols statewide are part of the annual Operation C.A.R.E., (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries associated with speed, failure to wear seatbelts and impaired driving. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement,” VSP said in a press release.
Bonchon Chicken to Offer Growlers – Korean chicken restaurant Bonchon is hoping to open its new Arlington location at 2201 N. Pershing Drive in mid-July. In addition to chicken, the eatery will have “a dozen beers on tap, including craft options, and growler service to cater to the restaurant’s carryout clients.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Marv Albert Anniversary — On May 27, 1997, Arlington was in the news as sports broadcaster Marv Albert was arrested and booked by Arlington County Police, accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton hotel. [About.com, New York Times]
The 1960s-era “Blue Goose” building in Ballston has been named one of the most “endangered historic places” in Arlington.
The nonprofit group Preservation Arlington (the new name of the Arlington Heritage Alliance) released the Most Endangered Historic Places list this morning. Included on the list is the Blue Goose building at 1000 N. Glebe Road, which is currently home to Marymount University’s Ballston campus but is set to be torn down to make way for a new office building and apartment building.
Also on the “endangered” list are Arlington’s National Register of Historic Places neighborhoods, like Lyon Village, Cherrydale, Ashton Heights and Penrose. “The social and architectural fabric of these older neighborhoods is being threatened by over-sized and incompatible in-fill development,” Preservation Arlington says.
Other endangered places in Arlington include the Arlington House woods and Seneca Quarry boundary wall at Arlington National Cemetery, which are also on the Preservation Virginia endangered places list; remaining pieces of track from the Washington & Old Dominion Railway; low-rise commercial buildings from the 1930s-1950s; the Wilson School; and garden apartments on Columbia Pike and in Rosslyn.
Preservation Arlington, which says it is “dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of Arlington’s distinct architectural heritage,” will work to preserve historic places like those on the list through “education and advocacy.”
“Preservation Arlington hopes to influence the future of Arlington’s historic buildings, landscapes and communities,” the group says. It will also organize tours, events and lectures .
See the full Most Endangered Historic Places list, after the jump.
Photos courtesy Preservation Arlington
Arlington County is planning to designate the Fraber House at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale a “local historic district,” then sell it to the highest bidder.
The house and surrounding grounds were purchased by the county from the Fraber family in 2002, for $537,000, with the intention of demolishing the yellow Bungalow-style home and using the land to expand adjacent Oakgrove Park.
The latter part of that plan was foiled when the Cherrydale neighborhood included the house and its detached garage in its designation to the National Register of Historic Places.
The home was deemed historically significant as “a classic example of the early-20th century Bungalow form… built and lived in by the types of middle and working class people who first established Arlington as a commuter suburb.”
“This presented a dilemma for the County’s land acquisition and historic preservation programs,” county staff wrote in a report this month. “For the last eleven years, the County has considered a variety of options to balance preserving the open space for Oakgrove Park and preserving the historic buildings on the site.”
That eleven years of contemplation has led to a plan to protect the home with a local historic designation, then try to sell it to someone who would presumably want to fix it up and live in it. The plan calls for the home to be offered for sale by a real estate agent starting this summer. It will be sold in “as is” condition — given that it “still retains its original building footprint, windows and doors, and nearly all of its exterior and interior materials and details.”
The parcels of land around the home will be retained by the county and used to expand Oakgrove Park, which consists of a youth soccer field, a playground and picnic equipment. The county says it will use proceeds of the sale to fund future park land acquisition.
In March, the county’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board recommended that the historic designation be extended to the home’s detached garage. Earlier this month, the Arlington Planning Commission voted unanimously to also favor historic status for the garage.
County staff, however, is recommending that the garage, which sits on land the county wants to use for the park, not receive historic status. Instead, the county will encourage the buyer of the home to move the garage closer to the home, on privately-owned land. Or, if that fails, the county will “make the garage available to an interested part for relocation… at the expense of the interested party.”
“This would allow the County to retain the remaining parkland for open space (as was the original intent) and for future park amenities,” staff wrote.
The County Board is scheduled to consider the Request to Advertise the historic designation at its Saturday meeting.
Photos via Arlington County
(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Non-profit organization Preservation Virginia has named Arlington National Cemetery to its list of the state’s most endangered sites.
Each year the group chooses historical sites it believes have become threatened due to neglect, insufficient funding, inappropriate development or public policies and procedures. The cemetery made the list due to the Millennium Project, an expansion project requiring the removal of trees on 12 wooded acres, and the removal of portions of the red sandstone Seneca Wall, which was constructed during the late 1800s.
Around 800 trees would be removed from the cemetery as part of the plan, although about 600 would be replanted. Preservation Virginia’s concerns surround not only the tree removal, but also the amount of soil being moved, the extent of the new retaining walls to be constructed and the road to be built across a stream that is “likely to irreparably alter the topography and run counter to the objectives of Congress.”
This isn’t the first complaint about the Millennium Project’s plan for tree removal. Arlington residents and members of citizens groups, such as the Arlington Urban Forestry Commission, have voiced displeasure with the plan. In March, a number of people spoke out against the tree removal during an open house at the site.
Preservation Virginia said the following in a written statement:
“Preservation Virginia respects the mission of Arlington National Cemetery to provide for military interments, but along with other partner preservation organizations believes that there is a better way to create additional burial space while also respecting the significant contributions of Arlington House Woods and the existing, historic boundary wall to this sacred place… Preservation Virginia urges the Army Corps of Engineers to revisit the Environmental Assessment and to seek an expansion alternative that respects the historic significance of Arlington Woods, protects its historic landscape, and provides for additional burial space.”
Preservation Virginia’s full list of endangered sites for 2013 can be found on its website.
The Marine Corps War Memorial will host a movie screening on Friday and a ranger-guided history lesson on Sunday.
On Friday, May 3, the memorial will host a screening of the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne (see movie trailer, above). The public is invited to bring a lawn chair to the reviewing stand to watch the film, which will start at 8:00 p.m.
On Sunday, May 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., park rangers will give talks about little-known secrets of the statue.
According to a press release: “Rangers will host activities and offer short talks on the contents of the memorial’s cornerstone, graffiti inside the memorial’s base, and the amazing process by which workers climbed inside the memorial’s figures to piece them together in 1954.”
The events are part of the “Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend.” Partners in Preservation, a partnership between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is currently hosting a contest that lets members of the public vote to direct $1 million worth of preservation funding to historic places in the D.C. area.
The Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington House are both in the running. At the moment, however, they’re in 21st and 20th place respectively, out of a total of 24 entrants. The Memorial is seeking funding for a thorough cleaning and waxing.
“The Marine Corps War Memorial will compete for funds to carefully clean, wax, and re-gild the large outdoor sculpture at its center,” said a press release. “Each of the six giant bronze figures accumulates dirt, pollution, bird droppings, pollen, and natural weathering residues that must be removed with specialized pressure washing equipment. Because the statue is depicted with photographic realism, workers will need scaffolding and lifts to reach every angle and crevice of clothing and muscle, from the base of the memorial to its top 60 feet above the ground.”
Arlington House Rededicated — Arlington House, the family home of Robert E. Lee and an iconic symbol of Arlington County, has been rededicated by the National Park Service following a six year restoration effort. The ceremony was held on Saturday, on the 152nd anniversary of Lee’s decision to lead the rebellion in the Civil War. [Sun Gazette]
County’s Bond Ratings Reaffirmed — Arlington County has had its top Aaa/AAA debt ratings reaffirmed by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The ratings will allow Arlington to borrow money at a lower interest rate. “The Aaa rating reflects the county’s strong long-term credit characteristics including a sizeable and affluent tax base, stable and carefully-managed financial operations with sound reserves, and moderate debt position with manageable future borrowing needs,” Moody’s wrote of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Garvey: Streetcars Fail Cost/Benefit Analysis — In an op-ed in the Washington Post, County Board member Libby Garvey says streetcars on Columbia Pike “are not a good investment for anyone.” Streetcars would not solve transportation challenges on the Pike, and would instead “siphon resources away from other important needs,” Garvey wrote. [Washington Post]
Arlington to Help Train Vets in IT — Arlington County has accepted a $150,000 state grant that will help train military veterans for high-demand Information Technology (IT) jobs. The grant will go to a joint Arlington/Alexandria job training program, which is expected to serve more than 50 veterans over an 18-month period. [Arlington County]
Arlington Outpaced in Home Sale Prices – Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C. have all outpaced Arlington when it comes to growth in home sale prices. Prices in Arlington increased only 1.1 percent year over year in March, and year-to-date prices are down 1 percent, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. The median home sale price in Arlington hit $515,000 in March. [Washington Post]
O’Connell Defeats Stone Bridge — The highly-ranked Bishop O’Connell softball team defeated their closest competitors in Virginia, Stone Bridge, by a score of 3-0 last night. The Knights improved to 10-0, and remain ranked No. 2 in the region. The team will face No. 9 McLean and No. 1 Northern (ranked second in the country; DJO is ranked third) later this month. [Washington Post]
Kanninen Wants More Responsiveness — Barbara Kanninen says she’s running for Arlington School Board because she wants the board to be more responsive to the concerns of parents. “There’s a lot of parent dissatisfaction,” she said in an interview with the Sun Gazette. Of her opponent, incumbent James Lander, she said “it truly isn’t about him, specifically.” [Sun Gazette]
Remembering WEAM — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark takes a trip down Memory Lane and remembers the Arlington-based AM radio station WEAM. The station used to play pop and rock hits from a studio located “above Minor Hill, off Williamsburg Blvd.” [Falls Church News-Press]
An Arlington resident lauded for her involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s, including a stint in jail, will be featured at a special free movie showing and panel discussion tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Arlington Public Library will host a free screening of the movie “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Mulholland.” Following the film, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her son Loki, who wrote and directed the movie, will take part in a panel discussion. William Pretzer, senior curator of history at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will also be a part of the panel.
Mulholland, who is white, grew up in the South during segregation and emerged as an activist who fought for the rights of others, much to the chagrin of her parents. In 1961, Mulholland flew to Jackson, MS, to take part in civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins. She was arrested, fined $200 and jailed for three months. Despite her punishment, Mullholland continued her activism, and in 1963 took part in the infamous sit-in at the Woolworth in Jackson, MS.
In some of the historic photos above, Mulholland can be seen at sit-ins and demonstrations that took place around Arlington from June 9-23, 1960. In one, she is sitting behind activist Dion Diamond (who was arrested later that day) at the Cherrydale Drug Fair store on June 10, 1960. The two were part of the Non-Violent Action Group (NAG), which is credited with helping to push most Arlington restaurants to desegregate on June 22, 1960.
Mulholland, a long time Barcroft neighborhood resident, later taught for almost three decades at Arlington Public Schools.
The film “An Ordinary Hero” tells Mulholland’s life story and contains rare footage from the civil rights movement. The film screening and panel discussion will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd).
Historic photos courtesy of Arlington Public Library and Flickr photostream by washington_area_spark
Accident Shuts Down GW Parkway — The northbound GW Parkway was closed this morning before Route 123 due to a reported multi-vehicle accident. Northbound traffic was being diverted onto Spout Run Parkway. [WTOP Traffic]
The Origins of Broyhill Forest — In 1952, homes in Broyhill Forest, a planned community adjacent to the Washington Golf and Country Club, went on sale for $19,000 to $27,000. Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark, a resident of Broyhill Forest, recalls the Broyhill family and their impact on Arlington. [Falls Church News-Press]
Pistol Certification Class at Arlington Church — A local firearms instruction company is offering NRA First Steps Pistol Orientation courses at Bloss Memorial Church in Lyon Park. The course completion certificate can be used to obtain concealed carry permit in Virginia. While classroom instruction is conducted at the church, live fire portions of the class are conducted at the NRA headquarters range in Fairfax. [Liberty Firearms Instruction]
Energy Journey Game on Saturday — Arlington County is organizing an “interactive life-size board game” that offers residents a chance to “challenge yourself on everyday actions that have an energy impact.” The “Energy Journey Game” starts at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 2). [Fresh AIRE]
‘Georgetown Cuddler’ Conviction Overturned — An appeals court has overturned the conviction of Arlington resident Todd M. Thomas, 26, the accused “Georgetown Cuddler.” [Washington Post]