Library’s New Online Collection Features Old Postcards

by Katie Pyzyk June 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm 6,666 24 Comments


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

  • DarkHeart

    Bye bye Super Pollo.

    • Trev and the Vandals

      Hello Darpa fried chicken

  • John Fontain

    Al’s Motors is what is now Gold’s Gym.

  • Say it ain’t so
  • Andy

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online calculator, that 1 cent stamp in 1917 is equivalent to 18 cents today. The current rate for a postcard is 32 cents.

    • Long & Faster RE Inc.

      And yet the USPS still cannot turn a profit on their Amtrak division.

      • drax

        False. Nearly all the “losses” by the USPS are actually internal payments to the treasury for future retiree health premiums, which are not required by any other agency or business. They are not actual losses.

        Oh, and all modes of transportation are subsidized.

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Except that they all should be making these payments since they are more insolvent than the USPS

          • Trev and the Vandals

            I think the Amtrak comment soared over defensive-rax’s head like a coyote leaping high over the rapids of Donaldson Run in pursuit of a fox.

          • drax

            I got that, I just took the opportunity.

  • wow, I remember when National Airport’s main section looked like the postcard – before all the renovations/additions. I’m feeling kinda old 🙂

    As a side-note – if anyone watches an episode of Get Smart – you see Max outside the airport.

    • Andy

      It would be so cool to have that terrace restaurant back. Why do things always get worse, not better?

  • ArlingtonNative

    Holy Cr#p! … I totally remember that Red Barn!
    Talk about getting smacked upside the head with the ole memory stick.
    My Dad knew Al and use took our cars to Al’s motors for repairs for years.
    Great collection!

  • novasteve

    The red barn on 355 in Gaithersburg, MD burned when I was a kid.

    • nom de guerre

      Did you think you smelled natural gas then and failed to report it?

      • John Fontain


  • GreaterClarendon
  • South Side Chris

    Still no love for South Side.

  • YTK

    I really niss the Red Barn– Sis and I used to enjoy eating there many times.

    Um.. one day our plumbing went on the fritz and it took 2 days for management to get the parts in – so Sis and mom and I “timed” those 2 days to when the Red Barn would be opened. THANK YOU Red Barn for your sensible hours… Whew….

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Sandwiches named after a barn, the Big Barney, the Barn Buster. Appetizing!

  • DarkHeart

    Home of the midnight train!

  • gnushell

    “When the hungries hit when the hungries hit, hit the Red Barn!”. Okay, I too am old.

  • Arlingtonian

    Was there a Red Barn on Columbia Pike? The Penske rental building at George Mason and the Pike looks like it could’ve been a Red Barn at one time.

  • South Awwlington

    Love this.


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