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Nauck Business Expected to Receive Historic Status

by Katie Pyzyk January 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm 1,788 26 Comments

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) The Green Valley Pharmacy (2415 Shirlington Road) property in Nauck is expected to earn a local designation as an Arlington Historic District. The measure was requested by long-time property owner Dr. Leonard Muse, and needs approval from the County Board at its meeting on Saturday (January 26).

Dr. Muse submitted a formal letter in 2009, in addition to a petition of support with 143 signatures, requesting the status. Since then, the county’s Historic Preservation Program staff has been working with Dr. Muse to conduct research on the building and on Dr. Muse’s contributions to the community.

The structure originally was built as a grocery store in 1942, and Green Valley Pharmacy was established in 1952. The county staff report states that the site’s significance is not due to architectural history, but rather its cultural history. An excerpt from the report reads:

Although the building itself is of modest construction and has undergone some minor aesthetic alterations over time, it is Arlington’s only surviving example of an African American owned and operated pharmacy that has remained in continuous operation for 60 years. The pharmacy is the second oldest business in Nauck (the oldest by only a few months is the Friendly Cab Company) and has witnessed six decades worth of cultural and social history under management by the same owner. Into the 21st century, the Green Valley Pharmacy continues to be a popular community gathering place, serves as an important anchor of the Nauck neighborhood, and is an important physical reminder of both the impacts of racial segregation and Arlington’s mid-20th century African American commercial heritage.

The staff report also noted Dr. Muse’s accomplishment of becoming a registered pharmacist in Virginia in 1954, during “the challenging era of racial segregation and inequality.”

In order to receive historic designation, a site must meet at least two of eleven criteria listed in the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. The Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) found that the property in question meets three of the criteria, and therefore is worthy of historic status.

Through the designation, the pharmacy building would be preserved. New construction may still occur on the site adjacent to or on top of the current building, but first must be reviewed by the HALRB to make sure it would be compatible with the historic district.

The staff report notes that the County Manager has agreed to use $2,000 in county funds for a historic marker on the Green Valley Pharmacy site.

Currently there are 32 buildings, sites or multi-property districts that have been designated as Arlington Historic Districts. The most recent addition was the Calloway Cemetery last year.

Photos via Arlington County

  • Louise

    Great idea, Dr. Muse. Thank you.

  • novasteve

    It’s a shame it couldn’t have been knocked down and replaced with an Equity apartment building.

    • BallstonRes

      Novasteve…how many Equity buildings have been built in recent history? ONE. Built on a formerly run down and neglected shopping center site.

    • Darlene

      u obviously have no history here; Dr. Muse’s pharmacy is an important symbol to some of us of the accomplishments made during (and in spite of) the racist conditions in this our country! Go build your apartment building somewhere ELSE (there’s plenty of space).

  • Alex

    It’s always refreshing to read uplifting news. Congrats to Dr. Muse on a six decade long run and still going strong!

  • South Side Chris

    Sounds good to me.

  • CrystalMikey

    I too offer my congrats to Dr. Muse. Here’s to many more years!

  • WishfulThinking

    This pretty much kills the Wal Mart idea!

    • Helen

      Not really, the walmart site is at least a block away.

  • dezlboy
  • Ren

    Does anyone know if people-off-the-street can ever see the bell just up the way inside Mt Zion Baptist (I think)?

  • MissKittenCat

    It’s about time! Green Valley Pharmacy and other locations in Nauck have been there for ages. I hope they all get historic status before much of that neighborhood becomes luxury apartments and condos.

  • SomeGuy

    Is getting on the list a one-way street? I.e., does anyone here know where to find the procedures and/or conditions under which something can get its historic designation removed? Serious question.

    • Darlene

      did you get the answer to your question yet? look in the article above; there’s some organization that makes the decision so they should be able to tell you what the 11 criteria for it.

  • BuzzKill

    A woman in my community was assaulted by a man that the police later picked up hanging out at Green Valley. He was engaged in an illegal drug deal outside the pharmacy’s entrance. Drive by the pharmacy on most weekend summer days and you’ll see at least one loiterer who didn’t get his drugs inside.



      • Arlingtonian

        Nauck has an unsavory reputation. Much of this reputation is well-deserved, regardless of what neighborhood boosters may claim.

        Nauck is now experiencing the early stages of gentrification and redevelopment. The neighborhood’s reputation will change as its population shifts.

        It will be nice to have something remaining from the “old” Nauck after most of its buildings are gone and its demographics have changed.

        If the neighborhood really wants to preserve its history, its residents should try to have the County designate a large portion of Nauck as a historic district. One or two preserved historic buildings are not enough.

        Arna Valley is gone. Nauck will follow, if its residents don’t act soon.

        • Nauck resident

          Pfff…unsavory reputation…whatever. Stop being scared of minorities, and while you are at it, drop the authoritative voice.

          • SomeGuy

            Stop being scared of minorities

            Nauck resident, there are many reasons why Arlingtonian might consider Nauck “unsavory.” I won’t presume to know what his/her reasons are. But I didn’t see anyone playing a race card in that thread until your comment, and maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to do so.

        • DCBuff

          “Arna Valley is gone.”
          Good ridance.

      • Darlene

        thank you for your answer to “Ms. Buzzkill”! True to her name, she’s using a forum that should be for congratulations on a subject to inject poisonous negativity”. I grew up in Green Valley too; and was also privileged to be a part of the project that Arlington County’s (former) Cultural Affairs Division did on the history of the Nauck Community. That’s where I leaned the history of the very community that I’d grown up in and IT IS INDEED FASCINATING! Dr. Muse and the pharmacy have an AMAZING history. Anyone that’s inclined to learn about it can go to the Virginia Room at the Arl. Co. Library—please do !

  • DF

    Awesome. A historic place to loiter!

  • southsideAtown chyck

    Its well deserved. I grew up southside right outside the valley and this was the place to go for snacks. This place is already a landmark for people of the area and it definately has historic signifigance for its length of time here and the things its seen and survived. Stop hating, stop putting it down and get over yourselves. And a friggin Walmart in South Arlington is gonna be nothing but a traffic issue and a community killer. There’s already enough stores nearbye. They are building up Arlington so much with so much crap that there’s starting to be no room for community anymore. Anyway…. Congrats Dr.Muse, well deserved.

  • Lyndsey McFail

    This is exciting news to hear to my ears. I am thrilled that this is happening. Doc’s you deserve it.

  • Weeble

    Can we get Naomi’s TV a historic marker too?
    That place is a classic too.

    • J. Jordan

      Oh, you remember the record den. I think Naomi TV would be a great idea also for a historic building. Congrats to Doc!!! Green Valley for life.


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