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Then and Now: Clarendon Metro Area

 

The above photo on the left shows the Clarendon Metro station under construction, before it opened in December 1979. Clarendon first became part of a streetcar line in 1896, as a transfer point between the Rosslyn-Clarendon line and the D.C.-Falls Church line. The current Metro Orange Line closely follows the old Rosslyn-Clarendon route.

In 1920, the same year the Virginia legislature officially named Arlington (previously known as Alexandria County) to avoid confusion with the City of Alexandria, there was an effort to incorporate Clarendon as a town. The courts eventually prevented it from going through. Under current Virginia law, counties that have population densities greater than 1,000 people per square mile cannot create a new municipality within the county.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Clarendon affectionately became known as “Little Saigon” due to a number of Vietnamese restaurants opening in the neighborhood. Queen Bee is one of those restaurants, pictured in the late 1980s photo on the above right.

Below is a photo of how that section of Clarendon looks today. Spider Kelly’s now occupies 3181 Wilson Blvd, which is where Queen Bee was located until it closed in 2006.

Historic photos courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room

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