Arlington County has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the historic Reeves Farmhouse.
The county is seeking an entity that wants to lease or license use of the farmhouse. In exchange, the entity would help restore the farmhouse, which might need more than $1 million worth of work.
The farmhouse (at 400 N. Manchester Street) and its 2.5 acres of land was purchased by the county from the Reeves family in 2001 for $1.8 million. The house itself, which overlooks Bluemont Park, dates back to 1899, according to a historical and architectural survey. The farm was “the last dairy farm to operate in Arlington and the centerpiece of the Reevesland Historic District in Bluemont Park,” according to the County.
Arlington says it’s looking for “adaptive reuse proposals” — in other words, ways to repurpose the farmhouse for use by an individual or organization. The cost of the rehabilitation of the farmhouse and any sort of “programming” in the farmhouse — ideas discussed by residents include a demonstration kitchen or a learning center — would be borne by the entity that submits a successful RFP. The county will retain ownership of the property.
“The local historic designation of the farmhouse by Arlington County has ensured that it will be preserved, but finding an appropriate adaptive reuse is the next step to keeping the structure usable for future generations,” the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation said in an email.
Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24.
Earlier this year, the county held a public hearing about designating the tiny 7,100 square foot Calloway Cemetery at 5000 Lee Highway a historic district. The cemetery, which dates back to the 19th century, is part of Calloway United Methodist Church, in the Hall’s Hill area.
A new county-produced video (above) explores the history of the cemetery plot and the process of documenting and preserving its historic features.
Krupicka Wins Dem Caucus — Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has won the Democratic caucus for the 45th District House of Delegrates seat, which represents some parts of South Arlington. Krupicka defeated opponent Karen Gautney by a caucus vote of 1,540 to 891. He will now face Republican Tim McGhee in the Nov. 6 general election. [Patch]
County Gets New Coach Bus for Seniors — The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has invested in a new 41-seat coach-style bus. The bus will be used for the department’s travel programs for adults 55 and over. [Sun Gazette]
History of the Twilight Tattoo — There are just 4 Twilight Tattoo performances left this summer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. An article about the history of the military tradition notes that its origins date back more than 300 years. The next Twilight Tattoo will take place Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. [U.S. Army]
Photo via @Rosy1280
Developers of a new office building in Ballston have added another historical touch to commemorate the old Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership that for decades served as a neighborhood landmark on the same site.
Alexandria-based Bowman Consulting, the landscape architecture firm on developer JBG’s 10-story office building at 800 N. Glebe Road, recently designed and installed a historical marker to honor the dealership’s iconic Googie architecture style.
In January, builders added a diamond-shaped facade to the front of the building to mimic the style. Bob Peck Chevrolet was demolished in 2008.
From the text of the historical marker:
Bob Peck opened his first Chevrolet dealership in 1939 on Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon. In 1964, he moved the dealership west to Ballston to the very prominent corner of North Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard, 300 feet south of this marker. Taking advantage of the site’s unique location and visibility, local architect Anthony Musolino designed a transparent circular showroom of glass and chrome, with a butterfly roofline whose frieze of diamond-shaped blue panels spelled out “Chevrolet.” The building was an excellent example of Googie architecture, reflecting the era’s prevailing interest in the future — space travel, nuclear energy, rockets — through the use of upward slanting and cantilevered roofs, geometric patterns, acute angles and large sheets of glass.
Musolino’s design evoked thoughts of flight and movement, with its walls of transparent glass and a roof that appeared to float skyward. The transparent showroom was a living billboard. Motorists could see the chrome-trimmed vehicles from the street. Peck Chevrolet became a community icon and a landmark for motorists traveling to and through Arlington. The showroom’s design is represented in the new diamond-shaped frieze of the office building now located at the former Bob Peck site.
Photos courtesy Bowman Consulting
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) The photo on the left is of Virginia Hardware at 2016 N. Moore Street, in the 1930s. The store opened at this location in 1924, when Rosslyn Circle still existed. For years, it was run by Harry Goldman, until the business was eventually passed down to his son.
The photo on the right shows what that part of Rosslyn looks like now. It’s the area that is now Rosslyn Gateway Park, across the street from where the new Rosslyn Gateway development is set to go in.
In 1963, Virginia Hardware moved from Rosslyn to 2915 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, where it remained for decades. Goldman’s family ended up selling the business to long-time employee Rick Iglesias in 1998.
Virginia Hardware closed its doors for good in 2005. Iglesias said a variety of factors, including the high cost of running a small business, forced him to shut down. The Clarendon site is now home to Ri Ra.
Historic photo courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room
On Sunday a group of Civil War reenactors set up camp outside the Mount Olivet United Methodist Church at 1500 N. Glebe Road, part of a “living history” event intended to draw attention to the church’s role as a field hospital during the war.
The event included a display of medical tools and practices from the Civil War era, talks by actor portraying historic figures, and the opportunity to mix and mingle with the reenactors, who discussed the ins and outs and camp life.
Among the reenactors was Seth Black, a Thomas Jefferson Middle School student and avid Civil War buff who portrayed a wounded Union drummer boy, according to the Sun Gazette.
Photos courtesy Fred Dunn
During the storm, a large limb was ripped off the George Washington Tree, a Southern Red Oak at the corner of S. Fern and 31st Streets, on the grounds of the Arlington Water Pollution Control Plant. The tree, which legend holds might have once been surveyed by George Washington, is designated by the Arlington County Board as a “Heritage Tree.”
Whereas Arlington’s historic Post Oak was totally removed earlier this week due to storm damage, the George Washington Tree is expected to survive — but it’s being severely cut back. Once a stately 130 feet tall, the tree has now been trimmed down to 30 feet.
A county worker was seen working on the tree today, using a chainsaw to break the large branches already cut from the tree into smaller pieces.
The county issued a press release below regarding the tree last night (published after the jump).
This Sunday (July 15) the Mount Olivet United Methodist Church at 1500 N. Glebe Road will be transformed into a Civil War encampment, in honor of the church’s role as a field hospital during the war.
Reenactors from 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment organization will be on hand for a Civil War living history event that will feature displays of medical tools and practices from the Civil War era, along with a wreath-laying, talks by actor portraying notable historic figures and opportunities to discuss “the boredom, hardship and daily activities of camp life” with the reenactors.
The event, sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and the Arlington Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, is free and open to the public. It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In an email, organizers described some of the history behind the event:
On July 15th, 2012, Mount Olivet UMC along with the Arlington Sesquicentennial Committee and Arlington Historical Society will host a Civil War Living History and medical display to honor the church’s use as a field hospital following the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas. As Union troops fled back to Washington, DC in disarray after their rout on the battlefield, Mount Olivet was commandeered to treat the wounded.
Re-enactors from the 49th Virginia Regiment will set up an encampment on the Mount Olivet Green at the corner of Glebe Road and 16th Street. Visitors will meet and converse with soldiers about life in the camp, hardships they face, burdens, daily activities, drills, combat and boredom. Guitar and banjo music will help to carry the visitor back to an earlier day.
Inside the church, visitors can explore the state of Civil War medicine at a detailed display of medical tools and practices assembled from a member of the 49th Virginia’s extensive collection. Guests will gain an understanding of the primitive treatments and appalling conditions the sick and wounded experienced at the time.
The theme of the event is Mount Olivet: A Place of Comfort at a Time of Suffering. “The First Battle of Bull Run was a significant early battle in a conflict that would usher in the horrors and suffering of modern warfare,” says Dr. Bill Carpenter, Archivist and Chair of the Mount Olivet History Team. “The vast numbers of battlefield dead and wounded were unprecedented; the war would transform how Americans thought about death and suffering.”
In July of 1861, pews were broken apart and used as operating tables. Ultimately during the fall, the church was consumed by the surrounding Union encampments’ need for firewood and flooring in tents.
“Although Mount Olivet could no longer serve as a church for a time,” says Dr. Carpenter, “it is important for our community to remember its use to bring comfort and healing to wounded soldiers.”
Other special events during the morning will include:
- Commemorative Sermon. “A Christian Response to Suffering” by Rev. Tim Craig. 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM
- Living History Program. Wounded soldiers carried across 16th St. on stretchers into the church for treatment. 10:30 – 11:00 AM
- Remembrance of Civil War Dead. Laying of wreath on new monument honoring Civil War dead buried in our cemetery.
- “Sleeping Sentinel of Chain Bridge.” Living history presentation, George Dodge. On the stage throughout the day.
- “Lydia Bixby.” Anne Sedula portrays the grieving mother who lost 5 sons during the Civil War. Throughout the day.
- Georgia Meadows in authentic Civil War era widow’s mourning garb available through out the day to discuss 19th century mourning traditions.
A week after the powerful storms that left 68,000 Dominion customers in the dark in Arlington, all but four dozen have had their power restored.
As of 2:00 this (Friday) afternoon, 48 Dominion customers were without power. The company says that it expects all known power outages in the area to be restored by later tonight. According to Arlington officials, all county traffic signals are now functioning. Some 96 traffic signals were knocked out by Friday’s storms, largely due to power outages.
In a press release, the county noted that one of Arlington’s most historic trees was a victim of the storms. The Revolutionary War-era Post Oak (pictured), in the Westover area, is set to be cut down due to wind damage.
“On Monday, County crews plan to remove the ancient Post Oak, believed to be the oldest tree in Arlington and perhaps in the Commonwealth, that was severely damaged during the storm,” the county said.
Dominion and Arlington County crews are continuing to clear downed trees, power lines and debris from around the county. As of this afternoon, 10 county roads are still completely blocked. Arlington officials released the following statement about the continued clean-up efforts.
The County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation continues to clear partially and completely blocked roads of debris and downed trees. Operations have been complicated by piles of debris unavoidably pushed into some roads during clearing operations by County crews, utility companies and residents. The County’s priority, in clearing debris, is to make it possible for residents, emergency equipment and utility companies to use the streets. We also clear County buildings, sidewalks along heavily traveled roads, and “safety zones” around high-use recreational facilities, such as parks. Once all these priorities are met, crews focus on the clean-up phase.
Five Dept. of Parks and Recreation crews continue to work solely on road-clearing operations, and will continue through the weekend. … The County’s Solid Waste Bureau Earth Products Recycling Yard, located at 4300 29th St. S, will be open Saturday, July 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for residents to drop off brush. County crews have collected 768 tons of debris. The County will suspend debris collection on Sunday, to rest crews, some of whom have worked 13 days straight. Cooling centers still available to residents without power.
Even though the vast majority of homes now have power, the county is continuing to advise residents to utilize Arlington’s libraries, community centers, pools and shopping malls in the event that they need to seek relief from this weekend’s expected extreme heat.
Old Arlington Remembered — Long-time Arlington resident Judy Downs Tinelli recalls the Arlington of her childhood: Sycamore Street was a stream, her neighbor had a herd of cows, and those in the District considered her dad’s 20 minute commute (from what is now East Falls Church) excessive. [WAMU]
Moran Styrofoam Amendment Fails — A measure proposed by Rep. Jim Moran (D), which would have amended a legislative branch appropriations bill to ban polystyrene foam food and beverage containers from congressional cafeterias, failed in the House on Friday. Moran’s general election opponent, Republican Patrick Murray, issued a statement about Moran’s amendment. “Seriously, Jim?,” Murray asked. “Are you really willing to spend all of your time on Styrofoam instead of creating jobs?” [The Hill]
Pottery Barn Offers ‘Arlington’ Sign — Via Shirlington Village Blog Spot, we learn that Pottery Barn is currently offering a 66 inch by 12 inch wall sign that says “Arlington” in bold, black letters on a distressed cream-colored background. The sign is currently on sale for $119.00. [Pottery Barn]
Hotel Celebrates LEED Gold Certification — On Monday, the Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel in Crystal City celebrated its recent award of LEED Gold environmental certification. Among those on hand at the celebration was David Marriott, grandson of Marriott International founder J.W. Marriott. The Renaissance chain of hotels is owned by Marriott.
The photo on the left shows the Hot Shoppes location at 1325 Lee Highway in Rosslyn, during the 1930s. It was part of the chain started locally by J. Willard Marriott in 1927.
Marriott and his wife, Alice, moved to the D.C. area from Utah. He launched a restaurant based on his affinity for American Southwest foods such as spicy BBQ, chili and tamales. The name came from his desire for a restaurant that would provide hot food to warm the D.C. residents during the wet chill of an Eastern winter.
The couple built their Hot Shoppes brand on the slogans “food for the entire family” and “square meals at a fair price.” Over time, the menu expanded to include all types of fare besides Southwest dishes, but the attention to service remained. Eventually, that commitment to service and hospitality led to success in other areas, most notably the family’s well known hotel brand.
(Marriott’s first hotel, which opened in 1957, was the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel, located near the 14th Street Bridge in Arlington.)
By 1960, there were 70 Hot Shoppes in D.C. and seven states. Jazz musician Duke Ellington and his band recorded seven versions of the Hot Shoppes theme song, which aired in radio ads from 1967-1968.
The last one closed in 1999. However, fans will be pleased to know at least one of the restaurants will be resurrected, as noted in the Washingtonian’s December 2011 interview Marriott’s son, Bill.
The photo on the right shows how the area looks now. It is where the area formerly known as “Rosslyn Circle” used to be, but is now Arlington Gateway Park.
Below is a commercial for Hot Shoppes from 1970.
Historic photo courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room
The Arlington Public Library has launched a new online collection featuring vintage postcards from one-time Arlington landmarks and historic moments.
The library’s Virginia Room put together the collection of 55 postcards from its holdings and from donated materials. The postcards feature historic images from around Arlington, including Orville Wright’s plane flying over Ft. Myer, a ticket counter at Washington National Airport and Gunston Junior High School.
Some of the postcards, like the one above featuring the Red Barn Restaurant in 1970, appear to be promotional mailings highlighting businesses and their specials. This one boasts two complete chicken dinners for just $1.29.
Others, like the 1917 Ft. Myer postcard below, have personal messages written on the back. This one reads: “Glad ‘sis’ came over with you. Know she enjoyed the trip.” Note there’s not even a modern address, but simply the recipient’s name and town.
Historic postcards courtesy of Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room
Hynes will be the featured speaker when the monument is dedicated at the historic Mount Olivet United Methodist Church cemetery (1500 N. Glebe Road) at noon on Sunday, May 27.
The dedication is taking place as the state and the county continue to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The 150+ year old church, it turns out, played an important role in the aftermath of the war’s first major land battle.
“The church was used as a field hospital during the summer by Federal troops retreating from the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21-24, 1861,” church officials noted in an email. “Several who gave their lives in the Civil War found their final resting places in unmarked graves in the cemetery. The new monument now marks their presence and honors their service.”
“Mount Olivet United Methodist Church is proud of its Civil War heritage,” said Hank Hulme, church historian emeritus. “This dedication will be one more important event in the Sesquicentennial celebrations honoring Arlington’s place in Civil War history.”
In addition to the Civil War graves, Mount Olivet also has a connection to the Memorial Day holiday itself. The church contains the grave of Sue Landon Vaughan, one of the early founders of Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy Mount Olivet United Methodist Church
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) In preparation for Memorial Day, there’s a place in Arlington that might be worth a look — and it’s not Arlington National Cemetery.
Thousands pass by it daily, but many don’t realize that the large, stone structure flanked by cannons across from Clarendon Ballroom (and near the Clarendon Metro station) is actually a war memorial. It was put up by the American Legion and honors Arlington citizens who died in combat, up through Vietnam.
Of particular interest to historians is the World War I plaque on the side of the memorial, facing the intersection of Washington, Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards. Note that the last two names are separated from the others and have the distinction of “colored” listed in parentheses.
County historians say this highlights the racial tensions at the time the plaque was made. However, a local resident with knowledge of the memorial’s history, who requested not to be named, says it wasn’t necessarily a sign of racial tensions. He said it’s simply representative of “how life was at that time.” There’s been debate over changing it, but the decision was made to leave the plaque as is.
The plaque has remained this way during the memorial’s multiple moves. The original location was at Wilson Blvd and Highland Street, then Clarendon Circle, then Courthouse. It was brought back to Clarendon in 1986 and has been there ever since.
The memorial was first erected in the early 1930s.
The picture on the left is the area formerly known as Rosslyn Circle, taken around 1925. Records indicate the businesses shown were on Agnew Avenue, which is now Lynn Street. They stood at the base of the newly finished Key Bridge, which replaced the Aqueduct Bridge in 1923.
Rosslyn, and this section in particular, used to be considered a rough area. After the Civil War ended, many soldiers stayed behind. They drove out the farmers who previously owned the land in Rosslyn, and set up saloons, gambling houses and houses of prostitution. Thievery and murder were a regular occurrence, and locals knew not to walk there at night, if at all.
By the early 1900s, fed up residents wanted to rejuvenate the area and formed groups such as the “Anti-Saloon League.” They worked to change Rosslyn’s colloquial slogan from “Gateway to Perdition” to “Gateway to Virginia.” It took decades to drive out the unsavory elements.
By the 1950s, big plans were in the works to fully transform Rosslyn Circle and the surrounding area from a slummy, dangerous part of town teeming with pawnbrokers into a business hub sporting high rises. Much of the area was razed, both to accommodate the new buildings, and to make way for the completion of Interstate 66.
By about 1963, nearly all of old Rosslyn was gone, and businesses and industry poured into the area. Adding to the renewal was the promise of a Metro station, which was completed in 1977.
The photo on the right shows what the area near the old Rosslyn Circle looks like today.
Historic photo courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room.