Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway just passed its 100th birthday, and now a celebration of the station’s legacy is on the way in Ballston.
The John M. Langston Citizens Association is convening a “centennial celebration” next Saturday (Jan. 26) at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association building (4301 Wilson Blvd).
Built in 1918, the fire station has long been one of the most historic sites in the county — it was the only station in segregated Arlington with black firefighters during the 1950s and 1960s, and it often served Hall’s Hill, a historically black community that was once literally walled off from the rest of the county in the days of segregation.
Accordingly, the program will be geared toward “chronicling Fire Station 8’s 100 years of legacy and impact” and there will be a display with “history and memorabilia associated with Fire Station 8,” according to an event listing.
“For 100 years the men and women of Fire Station 8 have served the communities of Arlington County, Virginia selflessly, and with honor,” the citizens association wrote. “Not only did they serve, but they served segregated, and unrecognized by the county for almost 40 years. Fire Station 8 has not only changed history and the future of blacks in the fire service, but is getting ready to have a change in look too.”
The fire station is indeed set to be fully replaced, with construction set to start later this year. County officials had initially considered moving the fire station elsewhere, but opted instead to rebuild it on its current site.
The celebration is set to run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.