Then and Now: The Hicks Store on Lee Highway

by Katie Pyzyk May 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm 3,853 49 Comments


The photo on the left is of the Hicks Store on Lee Highway at N. Culpeper Street, taken in 1960. The store was in an area known as Hall’s Hill — now often called High View Park — which became a predominantly black community when freed slaves settled there shortly after the Civil War. Many family run stores owned by black residents opened in the area during the early 1900s. Hicks store was one of several businesses owned by the Hicks family.

Near the store, the Hicks cemetery is where family members were buried, until the land was condemned in 1959, to accommodate for the widening of Lee Highway west of Glebe Road. The remains were moved to a cemetery in Herndon.

The photo on the right is how the corner of Lee Highway at N. Culpeper Street looks today. A Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant now sits on the site.

Historic photo courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room

  • CrystalMikey

    Love me some history…thanks ARLnow!

  • James in EFC

    Love this stuff. Thanks for posting.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    Ahh, home.

    And it’s better than just a KFC, there’s a Taco Bell there too!

    • PotentialSlacker


      …I mean, there’s a lot of hispanics in the area..JK. But really though, this makes no sense.

      • Pedro Says

        We know better than to eat at a stinkin’ Taco Bell. We know what real tacos should taste like.

      • drax

        Have you ever seen a single Hispanic actually eat at Taco Bell?

        • NIMBY the chicken

          You haven’t been to that TB at lunchtime, have you drax. Very diverse crowd in there.

          • ramen

            The world is all black and white to him.

          • drax

            And red all over!

    • The Colonel

      Isn’t it a kentacohut?

      • Rick

        Two buildings though. And the correct name of the structure is “mecca”

        • George Allen


  • DarkHeart

    Arlington could use a fried chicken joint that serves locally raised chickens.

    • SilverDiner

      We have a winner!

  • JohnB

    The history article linked to mentions raising hogs, chickens, turkeys, and horses and that people relied on a trolley to get to work/shopping. Glad to see we’re getting back to our roots.

  • JohnB

    No local calls it High View Park. It’s referred to as Halls Hill or simply “the hill.”

    • Lee-n-Glebe


      On an interesting side note, ArlNow’s new Real Estate section doesn’t list either version of the neighborhood name in their “search in a particular neighborhood” filter.

      • that’s because

        No one’s searching for it, so why bother 😉

  • nom de guerre

    Anybody remember Robertson’s 5 & 10 which was located where Bill’s Hardware is today?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Yep, I sure do.

  • if this article is trying to say anything negative about the KFC, i disagree. *ates an chieken leg*

  • novasteve

    Maybe they should knock down Arlington House and put a Subway or a 7-11 in its place?

  • ballstoncmyk

    love the Then & Now / historical articles, ARLnow. please keep ’em coming.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I second that!

  • JimPB

    Wondering — how does the number of Black-owned businesses “then” compare to the number now? What accounts for change in number?

  • Clarendon papa

    Ha!!! Fried chicken!

  • JimPB

    Has an unintended effect of the end of official segregation in ARLCo been the decline in Black-owned businesses? If so, is that negative, neutral or positive?
    What ARLCo businesses now are Black-owned?

    • ramen

      Someone will provide you with a non-responsive link shortly. We appreciate your patience.

      • WeiQiang

        LOL. If you don’t think that the baseline conditions from which black businesses might have evolved is important, you’re free to provide a link [or calculate a number using your own direct knowledge] yourself.

        I think it’s an interesting question that JimPB asked, but answering with two numbers and comparing them – without understanding how they might have been originally arrayed in ArlCo – wouldn’t really go to answering the man’s question.

        Did you get taught-to-the-test in school or something?

        • Done and Done

          Wait – that sounds like you’d have to use critical thinking skills, which you disparaged a few stories ago.

          • WeiQiang

            hahahaha. “Critical thinking” as a non-scientific-method means of introducing intelligent design or creationism into a scientific discussion is not critical thinking. What you’re apparently upset about is that I disparaged the neo-definition of “critical thinking”. I’m not responsible for your sensitivities.

            BTW, “… a few stories ago …”? Are you stalking me?

          • drax

            You gotta admit, while the idea that rational thought is closed-minded because it discards stupid ideas is dumb, it is PR genius.

          • B-Rad

            You post 20 comments in every thread. Kind of hard to avoid.

          • ACPD

            Is he exceeding his quota?

    • Josh S

      I find the question to be somewhat curiously worded.

      Is the decline in black-owned businesses negative, neutral, or positive? What do you mean?

  • James Crow

    And what would the point of that debate be? Is it along the lines of “since we re-opened the debate over whether women should use contraception, we should also open the debate over whether integration was good.” Or is it purely academic (or boredom) ? Whatever it is, it’s just a waste of time since no matter whether there are negative, neutral or positive numbers, a return to segregation will never be an option for addressing any issue concerned with rates of minority business ownership.

    • drax

      Of course a return to segregation isn’t an option. What’s wrong with simply discussing something that is interesting? Nobody is trying to put a nice face on segregation.

  • ClarendonDweller

    I love these old photos – would love most posts on the history of Arlington!

  • James Crow

    There are people who defend segregation on that basis; to them, the once- robust black business district on U Street was one of the benefits of segregation. I suppose that could be a provocative history discussion — that ultimately leads nowhere.

  • Andrew

    Love this. Please make it a regular feature!

  • knowitall

    Ditto on having this as a regular feature. If you need a researcher/writer, contact me. I already have a few local history pieces written.

  • BlueLoom

    Visually, I’ll take Hicks Store over TB/KFC any day. Compare Hicks Store to, say, Cherrydale Hardware. Looks like about the same era and adds character to the neighborhood. Too bad Hicks was torn down. If you have to have a TB/KFC, why not just repurpose the structures then-existing on the site?

    I agree with others: more of these Then/Now stories, with photos and historical commentary.

  • Junior

    One of the first neighborhoods we looked at when we came to Arlington was at the edge of Halls Hill. Having no familiarity with the area, we didn’t realize its history. Since then, we realize the realtor very cleverly redlined us out of there. (We’re white.)

    One other feature of that neighborhood I bet people would be curious to know about is that it used to be bounded by a cinder block wall about six or eight feet high so that there was very limited access to it. You can still see where parts of that wall were removed in the 70s or 80s when you drive into the neighborhood today. Kind of shocking, but also inspiring in a way, to live among the ruins of racism. We’ve come a long way.

  • JMB

    . You can still see where parts of that wall were removed in the 70s or 80s when you drive into the neighborhood today.

    I’d read about that, and have driven through that area looking for such remains, but haven’t seen anything. Do you know where they are?

  • bilbobaggins

    this should be a regular feature, I love it. Old photos of are area are always great to see thumbs up!


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