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Fraber House in 2013 (via Arlington County)

Several projects approved in Arlington’s inaugural round of historic preservation grants may need some more time to wrap up.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday will consider extending agreements with five projects that were among the first to receive county dollars last year from the Historic Preservation Fund. The grant recipients originally agreed to finish by June 30, but due to “unpredictable delays,” a county report recommends pushing back the deadline to Dec. 31.

The following entities are asking for extensions:

  • The owners of the Fraber House, who received some of the most substantial funding: a $50,000 grant to help restore and preserve the Cherrydale home built in 1913
  • George Mason University, which is developing a database of documents related to Black demographic shifts and migratory trends in Arlington
  • The Green Valley Civic Association, which is highlighting local landmarks that contribute to Arlington’s African American culture with signs, tours and workshops
  • The Dominion Hills Civic Association, which is creating three historic markers near the former location of the Febrey-Lothrop Estate, or Rouse estate — a site demolished for new single family homes, to the chagrin of some local preservationists
  • The Lyon Park Citizens Association, which is preserving a century of historical materials at the Lyon Park Community Center and installing signs related to the life of Indigenous writer, activist and local resident Zitkála-Šá

Extending these projects will have no impact on county spending. Per a proposed amendment to the grant agreement, any funds not spent by the end of the year will return to the county.

Arlington approved a total of 12 historic preservation grants through the Historic Preservation Fund, meant “to provide a unique opportunity to invest in the future of preservation in Arlington County.”

“From big picture storytelling and research projects to individual building preservation, this inaugural group of Historic Preservation Fund recipients demonstrates the breadth of Arlington’s unique history and many ways we can preserve our story for generations to come,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in October.


A new Thai restaurant in Dominion Hills is set to open next week.

Located at 6035 Wilson Blvd, Soul Thai Kitchen & Bar stepped in to fill the vacancy left by Meridian Pint in late October. The local brewhouse had shuttered earlier this year due to financial struggles.

This latest transition marks the third ownership change in four years. John Andrade, the original owner, passed the reins to Fitzgerald Lewis in 2021. Lewis, a noted figure in the local restaurant scene, has ownership stakes in about 20 eateries in the area, including Crafthouse Arlington in Ballston and Barley Mac in Rosslyn.

Lewis sold Meridian Pint to co-owner Nancy Kittitaraphan and her partners — consisting of family and friends — earlier this year.

Ahead of its grand opening, scheduled for next Friday, Dec. 22, Soul Thai recently held a soft opening over the last few weeks, giving locals the chance to sample its offerings.

The restaurant will operate seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 12-10 p.m. on weekends. Additionally, there’s a daily happy hour from 4-6:30 p.m., says Kittitaraphan.

The menu boasts a range of options, from starters such as spring rolls and fried calamari to noodle dishes such as “hangover noodles” (a twist on drunken noodles), alongside various soups, salads and curry dishes.

In a bid to draw more local patrons, Kittitaraphan took to the streets, handing out menus to nearby residents. She’s offering a 20% discount on their first visit, valid through Thursday, Dec. 21.

“I wanted to invite our family and friends,” she told ARLnow. “The neighborhood or the customers are our family and friends.”

The restaurant has seen some cosmetic updates, through which Kittitaraphan looked to create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.

“When you come here, it’s like you’re staying in your house,” she said.


The first homes being built on the old Febrey-Lothrop Estate could be ready for move-in early next year.

Developer Toll Brothers says its nine quick move-in homes at ‘The Grove at Dominion Hills’ are in progress and expected to come online in early 2024, according to the company’s D.C. Metro Division President Nimita Shah.

A model home has been open for tours since September, she said.

The first available models, per the website, are each 3-story, 5-bedroom homes priced at $1.9 million. They come with interior and exterior finishes picked out by designers.

There are 10 to-be-built home sites available, for which home buyers can choose their floor plan and personalize their finishes, says Shah.

Potential homebuyers can also take a “hard hat tour” of a home next Sunday from 1-3 p.m, according to the website.

The aging but notable Febrey-Lothrop house on the 9-plus-acre estate, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. McKinley Road, was demolished to make way for news housing after local preservationists, including the Arlington Historical Society, were unable to find a way to stop the project in time.

Attempts to get the county to purchase the site, parts of which date back at least to the Civil War, or to give it a local historic designation, failed.

The history of the site lives on in the names of some of the home design names — dubbed “Randolph,” “Rouse” and “Woodward.”

Alvin Lothrop, one of the namesakes of the Febrey-Lothrop Estate, was a founder of the Woodward and Lothrop department stores chain in 1898. The estate’s last owner before Toll Brothers was a trust for the local sportsman Randy Rouse.

The history, however, will be preserved in part through markers the Dominion Hills Civic Association plans to put up.

“We are in the research and design phase, including seeking input from members of our community,” says civic association President Terri Schwartzbeck.

The civic association received a $6,600 grant from Arlington County to create and install them.

“This land represents a rich swath of Arlington’s history, and the signage will include information about the Powhatan people, the Civil War, and the 20th century,” the county press release said at the time. “These new markers will allow residents and visitors to share in this forgotten history.”

The community includes new streets, curbs, utilities and street trees, Shah noted. In a bid to improve stormwater retention and water filtration, Toll Brothers added permeable driveways and, for each home, rainwater collection tanks and planter boxes.

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The now-former home of Meridian Pint in Dominion Hills (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Meridian Pint in Dominion Hills is undergoing yet another change in ownership.

The family restaurant and taphouse closed on Oct. 31 after opening its doors in 2019. This wasn’t the last call for the restaurant space at 6035 Wilson Blvd, however. Next month, it will reopen as Soul Thai Kitchen & Bar.

This transition marks the third ownership change in four years. John Andrade, the original owner, passed the reins to Fitzgerald Lewis in 2021. Lewis, a noted figure in the local restaurant scene, has ownership stakes in about 20 eateries in the area, including Crafthouse Arlington in Ballston and Barley Mac in Rosslyn.

Lewis’s tenure was also short-lived, though, with the restaurateur citing the same reasons as Andrade for tapping out: financial losses.

“It was not making money,” he told ARLnow.

One of the co-owners of the new Thai restaurant, Nancy Kittitaraphan, said she has a long-standing relationship with Lewis, having worked as his server for eight years at another Thai restaurant in Clifton.

“He’s known me a long time and said he had this opportunity for me,” Kittitaraphan told ARLnow. “I said, ‘Okay, this is my chance to open my own restaurant.'”

Last month, Lewis sold Meridian Pint to Kittitaraphan and her partners — consisting of family and friends.

“I’ve known Nancy for like seven or eight years. She’s a great operator… I think she’ll do fantastic there because she’s a very hard worker,” Lewis said.

The restaurant began renovations on Oct. 31, with plans to reopen in the first week of December, according to Kittitaraphan.

While there will be some minor cosmetic changes, the restaurant’s aesthetic will largely remain the same, with new owners opting to keep the original furniture and leaving the bar — which features over 20 taps — untouched.

Hat tip to Andy Browne


Houses at the former site of the Febrey-Lothrop House are set to go on sale this fall, with a delivery set for early next year.

Toll Brothers announced last week that the “boutique community” off of Wilson Blvd in Dominion Hills, dubbed The Grove at Dominion Hills, is nearing the finish line.

It will feature 40 single-family homes on more than nine acres, with houses ranging from 3,470 to 5,834 square feet. They all appear to have five bedrooms and up to six bathrooms, per the website.

Sales are set to begin this fall with pricing starting at $2.1 million, said a Toll Brothers spokesperson in an email. The houses are expected to be move-in ready by “early 2024.”

The site where houses now stand was once where the historic Febrey-Lothrop House stood before it was demolished more than two years ago, much to the dismay of local preservationists, the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB), and the Arlington Historical Society.

Also known as the Rouse estate, the original house was built before the Civil War but was largely replaced in the early 20th century. Historians cited the estate’s role in hosting Civil War encampments, past residents including business mogul Howard Hughes, and the likelihood it was built by enslaved peoples as for reasons to preserve the site. The land it was on was also potentially a hunting ground for Indigenous peoples.

But its future became in doubt when its last owner, sportsman Randy Rouse, died in 2017. The property hit the market in 2020, with some pushing the county to purchase it and turn it into a public park, a school, or another public facility.

However, Rouse’s trust ended up selling the property to a developer intent on building single-family homes on the site.

The HALRB voted to consider a historic designation for the property in late 2020, but it came too late, and the County Board ended up denying the recommendation anyway. The house was demolished in March 2021 and construction began on the new houses shortly thereafter.

ARLnow asked Toll Brothers whether anything came from a preservationist’s request to partner with archeologists on potential artifacts at the site. The company did not respond to the inquiry.

Power outage map on 7/1/23 (via Dominion)

Update at 2:35 p.m. — About 500 customers remain without power in Arlington. A Dominion spokeswoman says the outage was caused by an “unrelated tree contractor [dropping] a tree on our wire.”

Earlier: Nearly 4,600 Dominion customers are in the dark as a result of a widespread power outage Saturday morning.

It’s unclear what caused the outage, which stretches from Ballston to Bluemont to Boulevard Manor to Dominion Hills along the Wilson Blvd corridor, according to Dominion’s outage map and emailed tips to ARLnow.

As of publication time, Dominion is estimating that power will be restored between 1-4 p.m.

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Skateboarder Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

As seven-year-old Jaxon Vega positions his skateboard at the top of the concrete bowl at Powhatan Springs Skate Park, he takes a deep breath. Vega steadies the back of the board on the bowl’s lip, places his left foot on it and jumps. Boy and board drop 12 feet below, a distance that’s about three times his height.

Vega smoothly completes the trick. Taking a quick break after a run, he’s asked how he feels when skating.

“I feel cool,” he says, flashing a toothy grin. “I’m having fun.”

Vega is Arlington’s kid skateboarding phenom. He’s out there nearly every day at the skate park along Wilson Blvd near the Dominion Hills neighborhood, riding concrete. He can be seen doing kickflips, jumps, drops, and even riding two boards at once. He’s also almost always the youngest one at the skate park.

Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

While barely out of first grade, Vega has garnered the attention of the skateboarding community. This includes the legend himself, Tony Hawk, who’s liked one of Vega’s skating videos on Instagram. (Vega’s account is run by his parents, Walter Vega and Karla Almanza.)

All of this has come from hours of practice, with Jaxson asking his parents to go to the skatepark in the summer heat and freezing cold.

“It’s like church,” Jaxon’s dad Walter laughs, watching his son skate on a hot July day. “We are here faithfully.”

Jaxon started skating about two years ago, picking up a pandemic hobby like a lot of other people. He was only five when he first came to the park and saw the bigger kids skating. He begged his parents for a board. So, they got him a $15 skateboard from Walmart. They have since graduated to a $300 board, more befitting of the kid’s skills, his parents say.

They mostly come to this Arlington skatepark, renovated in 2019, where Jaxon skates three or four hours a day, just a 10 minute drive away from the family home. He doesn’t want lessons. He just wants to skate.

“We thought maybe he’d want lessons, but he just kinda freestyles his own way of learning,” his mom Karla Almanza says. “It’s crazy and kind of insane to see your kid pick up all of this on his own.”

Walter said he used to skate a little when he was younger, but not seriously. Both parents are not totally sure how or where Jaxon’s love of skating comes from, but they are thrilled to support this burgeoning hobby.

The falls, though, still make them nervous.

“This isn’t like any other sport. When you fall, you hit concrete, not dirt,” Walter says. “[I worry] all the time. But I don’t let him hear that.”

Skateboarder Jaxon Vega talking to his dad Walter at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Sitting down with Jaxon, it’s clear that like any other great athlete, he’s not content. When asked what his favorite trick to do is, he says a “laser flip” — a trick where both the skater and board flip. It’s considered one of the hardest tricks ever invented. The kicker, of course, is that Vega hasn’t quite nailed it yet himself.

“I can’t do it, but it’s my favorite trick,” Jaxon says.

It was last June when Jaxon, then barely six years old, completed an eight foot drop that garnered a Tony Hawk like on Instagram. The video features Jaxon completing the drop while everyone at the skate park cheers him on.

An Instagram post about Tony Hawk liking one of Jaxon Vega’s skating videos (image via Instagram)

The funny thing is that before winning the skating icon’s social media approval, Jaxon — like most six-year-olds — didn’t know who Hawk was. But his parents sure did. Now, they often catch Jaxon on his tablet watching old Tony Hawk videos.

There’s another reason why Jaxon has taken a particular liking to Hawk, which almost seems preordained by the skating gods.

“We have the same birthdays,” Jaxon says, again flashing a toothy grin.

Walter, Karla, and Jaxon are still figuring out what’s next. Jaxon has expressed some desire to be in tournaments and maybe even go to a skating camp in Pennsylvania, so they are considering both. But for right now, Jaxon’s just happy to skate, learn on his own, and be a kid.

After a hard fall while skating, Jaxon wandered back over to the shade. Asked about it, he shrugged.

“It hurts,” he says. “But I got back up and did it again.”

Skateboarder Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Work is continuing on the former site of the Febrey-Lothrop House, also known as the Rouse estate, in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.

ARLnow saw and captured photos last week of what appears to be excavation activity at the site at 6407 Wilson Blvd, including the removal of trees.

The site is now owned by New York-based Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, according to county property records, after it was sold late last year. Some 40 single-family houses are expected to be built on the site, dubbed The Grove at Dominion Hills, by home builder Toll Brothers.

More on the homebuilding plan, below, from an update posted last month by the Dominion Hills Civic Association.

Toll Brothers indicated most homes would be about 45 feet wide on lots around 60 feet wide; however, lots will vary in size, most around 8000 square ft. Homes would be customized to the buyer with a variety of colors available for exteriors as well as options for interiors.

The audience was also eager to know the timeline for construction. At the time of the meeting, the Toll Brothers representatives indicated that grading work on the Madison Street home sites could begin as soon as six weeks from early May, which would be in about mid-June, 2022. However, all is dependent on the Arlington County approval processes. If the timeline continued as plans, construction on homes is projected for late July and as the representative put it, “you could have new neighbors by February.”

The home prices are anticipated to start around $2 million.

ARLnow reached out to the investment company about the work currently being done and if they are partnering with any archeologists or historians during this phase. Previously, local preservationists asserted that the site — which was once home to as many as 15 enslaved people and also potentially used by an Indigenous hunting ground — is historic and potentially contains artifacts, though a County Board report called artifact claims “speculative.”

“We have no comment on the matter,” a spokesperson for the company wrote back in an email.

In March 2021, the historic Febrey-Lothrop House that sat on the nine-plus acres of land at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. McKinley Road was demolished. That came after a long battle by local preservationists, including the Arlington Historical Society, to save the aging house and estate from demolition and development.

However, attempts to get the county to purchase the site or to give it a local historic designation failed.

Portions of the house may have dated back to at least the Civil War, including an ​​ornate wooden compass floor inlay built into what had been a library, preservationists argued.

In the late 19th century, the house was sold to department store ​​magnate Alvin Lothrop. He knocked down most of the previous structure to build his own colonial revival style home, inspired by George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

The house stayed in the family after Lothrop died but reportedly was leased to Howard Hughes, the famed aviator, inventor, and businessman. He hosted lavish parties there, inviting guests like movie star Jane Russell and Washington football team owner George Preston Marshall.

The house and estate — which at the time was even more expansive — were sold to Middleburg, Virginia-based developer and amateur steeplechase jockey Randy Rouse in 1951. He broke up most of the estate to form the surrounding neighborhood but kept the house and close-by property.

Giving the house another brush with Hollywood history, Rouse married Audrey Meadows, who had just been cast on the TV show “The Honeymooners.” But commuting from Arlington to New York for filming supposedly stressed the marriage and they divorced soon after.

Rouse owned the house up to his death in 2017 at 100 years old. A trust in his name owned the property, but it opposed the historic designation and moved to sell the property for redevelopment. Ultimately, the house was torn down early last year.


Morning Notes

A bike ride in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Rent on the Rise — “Living in Arlington, Virginia has its perks. ‘Young. It’s vibrant,’ said Arlington resident Robert Buck. ‘That’s why I moved here.’ However, those perks come at a price and for many, that price comes with a roommate… Arlington isn’t getting any cheaper according to a new study from Apartment List that says while rents are getting higher across the DMV they have gone up the most in Arlington by 16% over last year, compared to 10% in D.C.” [WUSA 9]

New Subdivision Gets New Name — “Toll Brothers has chosen a name for the luxury subdivision it is building on the site of the historic Febrey-Lothrop House, demolished one year ago. The winner? The Grove at Dominion Hills. The company was considering suggestions to name the new streets its 40 new homes will require off McKinley Rd. and Wilson Blvd. for the former landowners Febrey and Rouse. But on learning of Arlington’s street grid (new streets would have to be three-syllable “M’s” and N. 9th St.), the firm opted not to seek an exception from the county board, I’m told.” [Falls Church News-Press]

APS on Spring Break — “Arlington Public Schools wishes you a wonderful, relaxing and safe Spring Break! APS schools and offices will be closed for the break, April 11-15, and Mon, April 18 for Grade Prep. We will see you back on Tue, April 19!” [Twitter]

Safety Push for S. Carlin Springs Road — “A dangerous stretch of road in Arlington is prompting community advocates, civic groups, and neighbors to request the county implement new safety measures. Arlington County Public Schools Parent, Gillian Burgess, says there are three schools along South Carlin Springs Road, and the traffic, as well as the congestion, makes her worried about children’s safety.” [Fox 5]

GMU Hosting ‘Yappy Hour’ Tonight — “Bring your pup and get to know the Arlington community at Mason Square! Bring your furry friends and get your paws on some doggie treats, puppachinos, toys, belly rubs, and more! It’s time to paw-ty!” [George Mason University]

Blood Drive This Afternoon — “Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to host an Arlington Community Blood Drive on Monday, April 11. An Inova Bloodmobile will be parked in front of Fire Works, near the intersection of Clarendon Boulevard and North Adams Street, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 11.” [Patch]

Lt. Gov. Sears Coming to Arlington GOP Dinner — “The Arlington and Alexandria Republican committees yesterday announced that the lieutenant governor would be the guest of honor at their joint Lincoln/Reagan Dinner, to take place May 19 in Alexandria. Tickets are $100 to $250. No doubt Sears will guarantee a sold-out event. People like a celebrity, and with no offense to the other two statewide officeholders in Virginia, it is Sears that has that status at the moment.” [Sun Gazette]

This Place Is for the Birds — From the Twitter account Bunnies of Arlington County: “Not a bunny, but birds appear to have nested in the A of the Oracle building in Court House.” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 67 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:38 am and sunset at 7:42 pm. []


A trio of Arlington intersections could soon be getting some new traffic signals and pedestrian safety improvements.

This Saturday, the Arlington County Board is set to review a $2.3 million contract to replace traffic signals that hang from wires to those attached to poles, or mast arms. The improvements also include wider sidewalks, accessible curb ramps and high-visibility crosswalks.

The work will be conducted at the following intersections, each in North Arlington:

The traffic signal replacements are part of a county program replacing outdated traffic signals to meet current federal and local standards.

“Signal upgrade projects implement new technologies such as accessible push button stations, CCTV for monitoring, video detection, and improved intersection lighting to improve safety, efficiency, and accessibility for all modes of travel,” according to a project webpage.

Mast-arm traffic signals on Langston Blvd (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Installing mast arm traffic signals on wide streets has been found to be a cost-effective way to reduce collisions, according to the Federal Highway Administration. One study of Virginia Department of Transportation data, however, found crashes decreased, but not by a statistically significant amount.

The FHWA also says span wire signals can have higher maintenance costs and are generally considered less aesthetically pleasing due to the overhead wires. But after these replacement projects occurred elsewhere in Arlington, some residents took to Nextdoor to mourn the loss of the wire-hung signals, which they said were not as bulky as the large poles that replaced them.

The three projects would join a half-dozen traffic light replacement projects already planned for this summer and fall.

Planned street signal replacements (via Arlington County)

The county is lumping in pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements with the replacements, per a county report.

Currently, the intersections lack curb ramps that are accessible to people with disabilities, while pedestrians have to contend with long crossings and narrow sidewalks, the county says.

Widening the sidewalks and adding accessible curb ramps and high-visibility crosswalks will create “safe, accessible, and user-friendly intersections,” the county says.

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Water pipe / infrastructure work (file photo)

Update at 5 p.m. — Water service has been restored ahead of schedule, county officials say.

Earlier: A western portion of Arlington County has lost water pressure due to a broken valve, leaving a couple thousand water customers high and dry.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services announced around 12:45 p.m. that a part of the county that receives water from Fairfax County’s system has had its service impacted by a broken valve.

“Engineers are working on repairs,” DES said in a tweet. “Estimated time for completed repairs/return of full water pressure: 6 p.m. Willston customers are asked to conserve water.”

Willston refers to the name of the water system within Arlington, comprising about 2% of the county’s population in the Dominion Hills and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods.

“The Willston Area system is located on the western edge of Arlington County along Wilson Boulevard,” notes the county’s water distribution plan. “The water provided in the Willston Area system is treated at both the Dalecarlia and McMillian WTPs, flows through the Fairfax Water system, and then into the Willston Area.”

DES noted that Fairfax County is performing the repairs, although Arlington generally maintains the pipes.

Thanks to quirks in geography and the development of local infrastructure, Arlington and Fairfax County’s water systems each serve some of each other’s customers under a recently-updated agreement.

The agreement also sought to provide redundancy for each water system through a new transmission main. Arlington County’s primary system and the Willson water system both get their water solely from the Washington Aqueduct, across the river, whereas Fairfax’s system uses two of its own water treatment plants along the Potomac and Occoquan rivers.


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