There are more than 80 historical markers scattered throughout Arlington County’s 26 square miles, but if you’re like many locals, you probably haven’t visited all of them.
A recently launched video series from Arlington Public Schools will let you learn about some of those sites without leaving your computer.
The program, hosted in part by APS Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy, highlights 11 of the county’s most significant historic sites.
Since the series debuted earlier this summer, it’s already uncovered some interesting tidbits about the area, such as:
- An Arlington resident’s medical research led to a breakthrough in blood transfusions.
- A community campaign turned an old school into a museum.
- The first flight of an aircraft on a military installation happened at an Arlington fort.
- The first federal building constructed in the county was a post office in Clarendon.
- Arlington once had a community for newly freed slaves.
- There used to be three massive radio towers in Arlington that were, at the time, the second-tallest manmade structures in the world.
- The county’s first fire company consisted of 10 leather buckets, a ladder and some volunteers.
- Chain Bridge got its name from a chain suspension bridge built over the Potomac River in 1808.
And there’s more history on the way. Next up, the series will tackle historical sites such as the Necostin Indian Site at the Roosevelt Island Parking Lot, Stratford Junior High School (which currently houses the H-B Woodlawn secondary program) and the Reevesland farmhouse.
Screenshot via Arlington Historical Markers video
The “Leo Birthday Splash Party” will run from 3-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, according to the flyer. An online ticketing page — tickets are $30 — and the flyer say the event will feature a DJ and other musical performances, bottle service, a cash bar, Caribbean cuisine, a bathing suit contest and an appearance by local party promoter/exotic dancer Cream.
Off-site parking in McLean with a free shuttle to the mansion will be provided for guests, the flyer says.
NBC 4 reported last night that the 20,000 square foot mansion, which sold at a foreclosure auction in June for $7.3 million (it was once valued at $23-24 million), has been used as a “party house,” according to neighbors.
Numerous photos and videos have been posted to Instagram from what’s labeled as the “RPH Mansion” — the initials of its owner (or, possibly, former owner), businessman Rodney P. Hunt. Many of the Instagram posts depict young people partying poolside as a DJ performs.
Event flyers sent anonymously to ARLnow.com (above) detail a number of events that have taken place at 201 Chain Bridge Road over the past month, including the Eritrean Festival Uber Mansion Afterhour Event where a dispute allegedly led to Sunday morning’s shooting. Events at the mansion date back to at least 2013, when it hosted an “epic” New Year’s Eve party with free valet, two floors of partying and four cash bars.
(Updated at 11:10 p.m.) One lane of Chain Bridge was blocked during tonight’s evening rush hour due to a grim discovery near the bridge.
An apparent dead body was spotted by hikers about 150 yards north of the bridge this afternoon. The body is said to be located on the rocks, close to the Potomac River.
Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene, and the fire department’s technical rescue team rappelled down the cliffs to access the body. A D.C. fire boat and a U.S. Park Police helicopter also assisted in the recovery operation.
At about 6:40 p.m., a member of the Arlington County Police Department was rappelling down the cliff, with assistance of a technical rescue team member, to investigate the scene, a police source told ARLnow.com.
Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck confirmed a “large emergency response” at the scene, on the Virginia side of Chain Bridge, and said that crews are likely to remain on scene for an extended period of time.
One lane of the bridge was open in each direction at the accident scene, with heavy traffic reported on both the Virginia and D.C. sides of the bridge.
Photos viewed by ARLnow.com, taken from a distance, show that the victim was a light-skinned male. He appeared to be bleeding from the head and holding a dark object in his hand.
Early Monday morning, Rodney P. Hunt’s home was broken into.
This normally would not be considered a noteworthy event outside of Hunt’s family and friends — burglaries happen every day in Arlington and every minute around the country.
Hunt’s house, however, was third-priciest home in the D.C. area as of May 2012. Located on Chain Bridge Road near the border with McLean, the 23,000 square foot home has an indoor basketball court, two-lane bowling alley, 15-car garage and sits on a cliff over the Potomac River. It was featured in 2010 on MTV Teen Cribs with Hunt’s son, Bradley.
Hunt is the former president and CEO of RS Information Systems, which he said he sold for $1.2 billion. He woke up to the sound of shattered glass at 4:45 a.m. — several windows in his entryway were broken — and went downstairs to find a man in his foyer and a woman he recognized sitting in the passenger seat of a black Nissan Altima in his gated driveway.
“It was pretty scary,” Hunt said as he, a police officer, a detective and an ARLnow.com reporter walked through his Mediterranean-style mansion. “I ran after the guy thinking I was a police officer. I wish I had called Arlington police when it happened.”
Hunt would call the police just after noon on Monday. The woman in the car, he said, was an assistant he saw the day before. Her name is Stacy, but she went by “Princess,” and she had asked him for a paycheck two days early — a request he refused to grant. He wasn’t sure what, if anything, was stolen, but said it looked like the burglars got away with some crystal ware.
Wearing a red “Ride or Die” T-shirt, he took ARLnow.com on an impromtu tour of his expansive home — to the basketball court he built for his son, Bradley (who also raps as Kid Named Breezy); the bowling alley he built and named after his father who once bowled a perfect game; the special garage-within-a-garage where he keeps the Nissan Maxima his wife bought him before she was killed by a drunk driver in 1993.
He says the house has fireplaces that were once owned by John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill.
After it was featured on MTV, the house has gained notoriety for less positive reasons. It was scheduled to be sold at auction in September 2012 when the Washington Post reported Hunt owed Bank of America almost $10 million, but it was taken off the auction block after Hunt convinced the bank he could pay. It was back on the foreclosure market in early 2013, according to Washington Exec, but Hunt is still listed as the property’s owner, according to Arlington County’s property database.
Despite the coverage the home has received, Hunt said it’s the first time it has been broken into since he bought the property in 2003. Asked whether he was more surprised that the house was broken into, or whether it’s the first time it had been broken into, Hunt said it was an easy question.
“That it was broken into at all,” he said, launching into a description of the estate’s extensive security features.
The property has two gates, an elaborate security and alarm system — which Hunt said he forgot to turn on after returning late from watching basketball at a sports bar Sunday night — and has a steep hill entrance to the property.
“That’s just crazy,” he said of the boldness of the break-in.
A tractor trailer became stuck on Chain Bridge this afternoon after attempting an ill-advised U-turn.
The driver of the truck apparently tried to make a U-turn at Chain Bridge and Canal Road NW, across the Potomac River from Arlington, but became stuck and in the process pierced the truck’s fuel tank on a rail at the northwest corner of the intersection.
The fuel emptied into a storm drain and into the canal, prompting D.C. fire department personnel to put down booms in the canal to control the spill. The truck was eventually towed away and the bridge reopened.
Photos and information courtesy Rob Laybourn
Update at 6:10 p.m. — Glebe Road has reopened, according to scanner traffic.
Update at 4:05 p.m. — Crews are hoping to have Glebe Road clear and reopened by 6:00 p.m., we’re told.
Glebe Road is completely blocked in north Arlington near Chain Bridge due to a large downed tree.
According to initial reports, traffic is being diverted on to Old Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road.
No word yet on whether the road is expected to be back open in time for the evening rush hour.
Glebe Road is being shut down in both directions between Chain Bridge Road and Military Road due to a downed tree.
County crews are en route to remove the tree, which is said to be down across the entire road.
Drivers should expect significant traffic impacts.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington County and the American Foreign Service Association will dedicate a historic marker on the Virginia side of Chain Bridge on Tuesday.
The marker will commemorate the spot where, in 1814, a State Department clerk first hid the Declaration of Independence and some of the young country’s most precious documents ahead of the British attack on Washington, D.C.
From Arlington County:
Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette and an American Foreign Service Association representative will join residents and history buffs on Tuesday, November 15, to dedicate a historic marker on the Virginia side of Chain Bridge. The dedication highlights Arlington’s early history as the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches.
The marker notes that it was to this spot that a State Department Clerk, Stephen Pleasonton, carried the Declaration of Independence and other iconic American documents that he had packed into a wagon on August 23,
18121814 as the British marched on Washington. Pleasonton initially hid the documents in an abandoned grist mill at the site. On August 24, 18121814, the British burned parts of the District, including the White House and Capitol.
The dedication will take place at 11:00 a.m. The location is described as the “trailhead for Pimmit Run trail under the GW Parkway Bridge, where it crosses over Glebe Rd. at Chain Bridge Rd.”
“Very limited” parking is available.
September Sunset — As warm temperatures gave way to fall-like temperatures yesterday, mother nature compensated by providing the D.C. area with an exceptionally beautiful sunset.
Gunfire on the GW Parkway — An SUV was struck by a bullet while driving on the GW Parkway near the Chain Bridge early Thursday morning. [NBC Washington]
Chain Bridge Closure — The Chain Bridge will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians this weekend, from 8:00 p.m. on Friday to 5:00 a.m. on Monday. The closure is one of a series of weekend closures planned through the end of the year. [DDOT]
Pike Outdoor Movie on Saturday — It was supposed to have taken place on Aug. 27, but thanks to Hurricane Irene the outdoor screening of The Blind Side at Penrose Square (Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street) is now being held on Saturday night. The free family-friendly flick will get underway around 8:00 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring friends, a blanket or lawn chair, and (unofficially) a jacket — since the temperature could get down to the low-to-mid 50s on Saturday night. [Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization]
Vintage Crystal Wine and Jazz Fest on Sunday — Crystal City will be holding its annual Vintage Crystal wine and jazz festival from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Latin-themed event will feature tastings of 30 wines and food from more than 20 local restaurants. Latin jazz group Trio Caliente and Latin dancers will perform. Tickets are $10 for food only or $20 for wine and food. [Crystal City BID]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID and CPRO are both ARLnow.com advertisers.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
It’s not the most conspicuous sign in the world, but there’s now a permanent historical marker next to the Rosslyn garage in which Mark “Deep Throat” Felt met up with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to discuss the Watergate scandal.
The text of the marker describes how the nondescript garage at N. Nash Street and Wilson Boulevard helped unravel the political scandal that ultimately resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
“Mark Felt, second in command at the FBI, met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward here in this parking garage to discuss the Watergate scandal. Felt provided Woodward information that exposed the Nixon administration’s obstruction of the FBI’s Watergate investigation. He chose the garage as an anonymous secure location. They met at this garage six times between October 1972 and November 1973. The Watergate scandal resulted in President Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Woodward’s managing editor, Howard Simons, gave Felt the code name “Deep Throat.” Woodward’s promise not to reveal his source was kept until Felt announced his role as Deep Throat in 2005.”
Don’t be fooled by the words “erected in 2008” on the marker; it was actually installed by Arlington County on Friday, after a three year delay.
Within the garage itself, another sign marks the exact spot where Felt and Woodward would meet. The garage owner has marked parked spot 32D, located in a dark corner of the garage, as the two men’s once-secret meeting place.
In addition to the Watergate marker, the county recently erected two other historical plaques.
The bridge will close on 8:00 p.m. on Friday and will reopen at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, starting this weekend, according to DDOT.
The three weekends when closures are planned are Aug. 19-21, Sept. 9-11 and Sept. 16-18.
Update at 10:30 a.m. –VDOT has issued a correction, saying that the 400 block of Chain Bridge Road, not the bridge itself, will be closed.
Chain Bridge The 400 block of Chain Bridge Road will be closed for part of the day today.
Tree work will force the
bridge road to close from about 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., DDOT said on its Twitter account this morning. A VDOT official confirmed the closure.
“Our crews need to remove a tree that is in danger of falling into the roadway,” said VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris. “The closure is from 9:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. We hope to reopen the road sooner than that if the removal goes well.”
The work brings back memories of last year’s bridge rehabilitation project, which forced the closure of the bridge on several occasions.
Morris says signs warning about today’s closure have been up for five days. A detour is posted, she said.
Chain Bridge Road is expected to remain shut down for the next half an hour as firefighters work to rescue a man trapped in a van that knocked over a utility pole.
Initial reports suggest the driver of a delivery van knocked over a utility pole while backing out of a driveway on the 100 block of Chain Bridge Road, just north of Chain Bridge. Live power lines fell on the van, trapping the driver inside.
Firefighters are now working to free the man.
Police have shut down the road between North Glebe Road and the Fairfax County line. The road should open up shortly after the rescue is completed.
Update at 1:30 p.m. — The rescue is complete and power has been shut off to the power lines. A lane closure may remain as Dominion installs a new utility pole.
A man reportedly fell and injured himself on one of the rocky cliffs overlooking the Potomac near Chain Bridge this afternoon. The Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter and an Arlington County technical rescue squad were dispatched to the scene to help rescue the man after it was reported that he was trapped.
Paramedics are now walking the man to safety.
Due to the emergency response, police are directing traffic on Glebe Road just before Chain Bridge. Expect delays in the area for the next few minutes.
A belated hat tip to J.A.
Chain Bridge will be closed from 8:00 tonight to 5:00 Monday morning, Arlington County said today.
“There will be no access to the bridge from either the District of Columbia or Arlington, including access for cyclists and pedestrians,” the county advises.
Crews will be performing structural work under the bridge deck.
The bridge will also be closed on the weekends of October 1, 8 and 15.