(Updated at 8:50 p.m.) A new historic marker has gone up at the 138-year-old Mount Salvation Baptist Cemetery, honoring the final resting place for a number of early Halls Hill leaders.
The county installed a historic marker in October at Mount Salvation Baptist Cemetery on N. Culpepper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood, also known as High View Park. A brief unveiling ceremony was held in late November and attended by Board Chair Katie Cristol, local historian Charlie Clark, Black Heritage Museum president Scott Edwin Taylor, and others.
The marker reads:
“The Mt. Salvation Baptist Church trustees have maintained this cemetery since June 7, 1884 when they bought the property for $80. Reverend Cyrus Carter cultivated the congregation which began at the nearby home of Isabella Washington and Moses Pelham, Sr. The cemetery contains 89 known burials from 1916 to 1974, although earlier burials were likely.
This is the final resting place of many community leaders, including those who were formerly enslaved and their descendants. Members of this church provided stability and social support throughout segregation and served as a pillar of Arlington’s African American community. The cemetery became an Arlington Historic District in 2021.”
The cemetery was designated as a local historic district last year and the marker was approved by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) in April 2022.
“Being a Local Historic District (LHD) is not required to request a marker, but we thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our newest LHD and provide a small glimpse into the history for those enjoying the neighborhood,” county historic preservation planner Serena Bolliger wrote ARLnow in an email.
The cemetery is the final resting place for at least nearly 90 early residents of Halls Hill, a fact known thanks to a ground-penetrating probing survey that was done in October 2019 with permission from the church. The probing also revealed potential grave markers and borders.
Buried at Mount Salvation are a number of influential Arlingtonians including Lucretia M. Lewis, Moses Pelham, and Annie and Robert Spriggs.
Scott Edwin Taylor, president of the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, told ARLnow that what also makes Mount Salvation special is that it’s a great example of how traditional African American cemeteries were laid out and designed prior to the turn of the 20th century. Graves are often oriented east to west, with the head point westward. Burial plots tend to be shallow, no deeper than four feet, with plantings.
“Some anthropologists have suggested that marking graves with plants may have been rooted in the African belief in the living spirit,” reads the county’s report on the cemetery.
Some graves even have seashells.
“A lot of Black Americans, before the turn of the [20th] century, used seashells. It was… like asking angels to watch over the graves. A couple of the graves still have those seashells on there,” Taylor said.
Mount Salvation is one of two still-remaining, church-affiliated, historic African-American cemeteries in the Halls Hill neighborhood with the other being Calloway Cemetery on Langston Blvd.
It’s important to preserve these sites for generations to come, Taylor explained.
“The gentrification that’s going on in Arlington is moving at the speed of light,” Taylor said. “When we have landmarks like [this], we need to cherish them because it shows the real African-American experience.”
A new program seeks to increase equity in Arlington by planting more trees in certain neighborhoods.
The local non-profit EcoAction Arlington announced that it’s starting the “Tree Canopy Equity Program” with the goal of raising $1.5 million to fund planting at least 2,500 trees over the next five years in local neighborhoods that have too few.
Insufficient tree canopy is closely tied to heat and temperature increases. The reason certain areas of Arlington are hotter than others, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, is due in part to lack of trees, recent data shows.
“The neighborhoods most impacted by insufficient tree cover are communities with higher-than-average minority populations and communities with people living in poverty,” EcoAction Arlington said a press release. “The lack of trees has a real-world impact that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes, higher utility costs, and a lower quality of life.”
The ten civic associations and neighborhoods that the program will work with are below.
- Arlington View
- Aurora Highlands
- Columbia Heights
- Green Valley
- John M. Langston Citizens Association (Halls Hill/High View Park)
- Long Branch Creek
- Radnor/Fort Myer Heights
The current levels of tree cover in those neighborhoods is between 17% and 33%, according to EcoAction Arlington.
“The goal is to radically increase tree planting in the neighborhoods with the lowest tree cover to align with the average for other Arlington communities of approximately 40 percent,” the press release says.
EcoAction Arlington executive director Elenor Hodges tells ARLnow that that the group has already begun to plant more trees. That includes American hornbeams, pin oaks, river birch, sugarberry, American sycamore, swamp white oak, and American linden.
The program needs about $150,000 a year to cover operations, marketing, staffing, and the actual planting of trees, Hodges says, with each tree costing about $500 to plant.
Amazon, an inaugural sponsor, has already contributed $50,000. The goal is to raise $1.5 million from other corporate and individual donors, while also obtaining funding from Arlington’s existing Tree Canopy Fund Program. This initiative allows neighborhood groups, owners of private property and developments, and places of worship to apply to have native plants or trees planted on their property.
Residents in neighborhoods lacking sufficient tree canopy note that the the problem is often tied to the construction of large, new homes and not prioritizing trees while building.
“As we lose trees due to infill development of large homes on lots in our neighborhood, they need to be replaced and even expanded,” John M. Langston Citizens Association president Wilma Jones tells ARLnow. “We all know that trees give off oxygen and they reduce stormwater runoff.
Natasha Atkins has been a resident of Aurora Highlands for nearly four decades and has “watched with alarm” the number of trees lost to homebuilding projects.
“With the County’s zoning code, requiring only very small setbacks for residential housing, it is questionable whether there will be much of a tree canopy in the future in the single-family neighborhoods that are being redeveloped,” she says. “Trees are an afterthought in planning and zoning. They should really be a driver.”
Hodges concedes that planting 2,500 more trees over the next five years will only “make a dent” and it will take tens of thousands of trees for all these neighborhoods to reach the 40% tree canopy threshold.
But the Tree Canopy Equity Program is just as much about what one can do today as what one can do tomorrow, says Hodges.
“It’s about behavioral change and teaching people about the importance of having a sufficient tree canopy in Arlington,” she said.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) A man was carjacked by a group of suspects in the Green Valley neighborhood over the weekend
The incident happened early Saturday morning on the 2200 block of S. Shirlington Road. The victim was thrown to the ground as 3-4 men stole his personal belongings and car, police said.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
CARJACKING, 2020-07250042, 2200 block of Shirlington Road. At approximately 2:06 a.m. on July 25, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim exited his vehicle and was approached by 3-4 male suspects who exited a vehicle and approached him. The suspects threatened him, threw him to the ground and stole his personal belongings, then stole his vehicle. The vehicle is described as a 2018 Silver Kia Forte with Maryland license plate 350920T. The suspects are described as Black males, one wearing a white shirt, one with dreadlocks, and one wearing gold sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.
This is at least the fifth reported carjacking in Arlington since June 22.
Today’s crime report also details a pair of other recent, car-related crimes in Arlington.
A D.C. man was arrested following a foot chase, after police allegedly saw him trying to open car doors on the 2000 block of N. Culpeper Street, in the High View Park neighborhood. And police are looking for the suspects who stole two cars and items from other vehicles on the 6000 block of 28th Street N., in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (significant), 2020-07260033, 2000 block of N. Culpeper Street. At approximately 2:31 a.m. on July 26, police were dispatched to the report of a subject pulling on door handles. Arriving officers observed the male suspect inside of a vehicle and made contact with him. As they attempted to detain him in handcuffs, the suspect fled on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, he was taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the suspect allegedly entered the unlocked vehicle and stole items of value. Isaiah Wynn, 27, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with Entering or Setting in Motion Vehicle, Obstruction of Justice and Petit Larceny and held on a secure bond.
GRAND LARCENY/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-07240065, 6000 block of 28th Street N. At approximately 8:28 a.m. on July 24, police were dispatched to the late report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:30 p.m. on July 23 and 8:15 a.m. on July 24, unknown suspects stole the victim’s vehicle. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that an additional vehicle in the same block was stolen and multiple unlocked vehicles were entered, contents tampered with and items of value stolen. The investigation is ongoing.
A 23-year-old Arlington woman is behind bars after a double stabbing early this morning, a block from Virginia Hospital Center.
The stabbing happened around 3:15 a.m. on the 1900 block of N. Edison Street, in the High View Park neighborhood. According to police, a woman approached two victims outside their house, took out a knife, and stabbed both.
The suspect fled on foot, but was later spotted and arrested in the Ballston area.
Both victims suffered non-life threatening injuries. The suspect has been charged with two felony counts of Malicious Wounding and is being held without bond.
Police say the victims knew the suspect, but there’s no word on a motive.
More from the Arlington County Police Department:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-07160019, 1900 block of N. Edison Street. At approximately 3:14 a.m. on July 16, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing just occurred. Arriving officers located two victims outside of a residence and immediately began to render aid. Both victims were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that the victims were returning to their residence when the known suspect approached them from behind and began pulling on one victim’s backpack. As they turned around, the suspect allegedly produced a knife and stabbed both victims before fleeing on foot with the backpack prior to police arrival. Officers canvased the area and located the suspect in the area of Washington Boulevard and N. Stafford Street, where she was taken into custody without incident. Zulma Franco Lopez, 23, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding (x2) and held on no bond.
The second phase of renovations at High View Park are complete, ahead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday (October 14).
The park at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street in the Langston-Brown neighborhood received new restrooms and storage, a new picnic area, a new entrance from N. Dinwiddie Street, new paving, steps and bleachers for the basketball courts, a regraded field and new lights, trees and plantings.
The ribbon-cutting on the improvements is scheduled for noon on Saturday.
The Arlington County Board approved the second round of improvements in June 2016. In 2014, the John M. Langston Citizens Association and neighbors of the park collaborated to create a design concept for the second stage of the improvements based on the feedback from online surveys.
The first stage of improvements — which included a new play equipment, picnic areas and a path to the park’s amphitheater — were completed in May 2013.
Gutshall Running for County Board — As predicted, business owner Erik Gutshall is running for County Board this year, seeking the seat being vacated by Jay Fisette. Gutshall says on his website that his candidacy will be announced at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on Wednesday. Gutshall unsuccessfully challenged County Board member Libby Garvey in last year’s Democratic primary. [Erik Gutshall for County Board]
Oscars Flub Involved W-L Grad — Warren Beatty is back atop the national consciousness, after an envelope mix-up led to perhaps the worst mistake in Oscars history, with Beatty and Best Picture co-presenter Faye Dunaway at the center of the fiasco. As many long-time Arlingtonians remember, Beatty spent his teenage years in Arlington, reportedly living on N. Huntington Street. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School and, as noted in a yearbook photo, was a star football player and the senior class president. [InsideNova]
Arlington Elementary Schools Top Rankings — In new rankings of D.C. area public elementary schools, Arlington elementary schools tallied a sweep of all the top 10 spots. [Niche, Washington Business Journal]
ACPD Trying Out Uber Lane — This past weekend in Clarendon, the Arlington County Police Department set up a designated rideshare pickup lane to improve safety for those using Uber and Lyft to get a ride home from the bars. The police department described the action as a “pilot program” that was the result of “creative problem solving.” [Twitter]
Arlington’s ‘Segregation Wall’ — A new historic marker notes the significance of a 1930s-era wall in north Arlington. The wall was built by white residents of the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood to provide a physical barrier between them and the historically black Hall’s Hill (High View Park) neighborhood. [InsideNova]
Loan for Affordable Apartments Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $7.4 million loan to help build 125 new affordable apartments at the Berkeley on S. Glebe Road. Nonprofit developer AHC is expected to seek another loan for the redevelopment, from the county’s affordable housing fund, next fiscal year. [Arlington County]
Per-Student Spending to Rise — Under a new budget proposed by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, per-student spending would rise 2.9 percent to $19,521. APS has been straining to keep up with rising enrollment, issuing bonds to build new schools and renovate others. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
County Looking at Fire Station Alternatives — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with Arlington Public Schools that would allow it to build a temporary fire station on the grounds of the new H-B Woodlawn school in Rosslyn. However, in response to parent concerns the Board directed county staff to look into potential alternative locations. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
Couple: Snow Melter Fumes Contaminated Our House — A couple who lives near Bluemont Park says diesel fumes from a snow melter that the county was using about 40 yards from their home this past winter has contaminated the home. The county paid for the couple to live in a hotel while the snow melter was running, in the wake of January’s blizzard. Now the couple wants the county to pay for a thorough cleaning of the home. [Washington Post]
Henry Gate to Reopen — The Henry Gate along Route 50 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will reopen to military bicyclists and pedestrians on Aug. 1. Among other expected benefits, the gate is expected to serve military users of Uber and Lyft; the ride hailing services are not available on the base. [Mobility Lab]
Police Escort Ducklings Across Road — An ACPD officers and a couple of “alert citizens” helped a mother duck and her ducklings cross N. Stafford Street on Friday. [Twitter]
More on Clarendon Drug Bust — One of the regular meetups for the alleged Clarendon drug ring was Whitlow’s on Wilson, where two of the suspects worked. “It was shocking, disappointing and frustrating to hear that any of this activity took place around our business and the neighborhood,” said Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams, noting that most other Clarendon bars were also named as areas of drug activity. [NBC Washington]
Two Park Renovations Approved — The County Board unanimously approved $1.65 million in upgrades to Bluemont Park and High View Park over the weekend. [Arlington County]
Board Approves Changes to Ballston Building — Originally proposed as an office building, the last building in the Founder’s Square project in Ballston will instead be built as a mixed use building, with a mix of retail, office and apartments. [Arlington County]
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) The Arlington County Board is set to consider a contract for another round of improvements to High View Park’s neighborhood basketball courts and other recreational areas.
The County Board on Saturday is scheduled to vote on a $1.03 million contract for D.C.-based Bennett Group to make several improvements to the park.
The changes this time are expected to include a new North Dinwiddie Street entrance, picnic shelter, permeable paving and lighting, as well as new trees, irrigated fields, restrooms, storage facilities, bleachers and steps to the basketball courts.
In 2014, the John M. Langston Citizens Association and neighbors of the park collaborated to create a design concept for the second stage of the improvements based on the feedback from online surveys.
The first stage of improvements — which included a new play equipment, picnic areas and a path to the park’s amphitheater — were completed in May 2013.
McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]
Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]
The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]
Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]
Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by James L.
GMU to Tweak Name of Scalia Law School — A week ago, after receiving $30 million in donations, George Mason University announced that it was naming its Arlington-based law school the “Antonin Scalia School of Law,” in honor of the late Supreme Court justice. The internet promptly went wild for the school’s would-be acronym: ASS Law or ASSoL. GMU noticed, and is now adjusting the name to the “Antonin Scalia Law School.” [Above the Law]
Porch Fire in High View Park — A small fire broke out yesterday on the porch of a house in the High View Park neighborhood, on the 2300 block of N. Dinwiddie Street, about two blocks from Fire Station No. 8. The fire marshal is investigating the incident. [Twitter]
County Live Streams First Commission Meeting — Arlington County live streamed a Planning Commission meeting for the first time Tuesday night. To re-live those 102 minutes of excitement, you can now view the meeting online, on-demand. [Arlington County]
Clarendon Farmers Market Returns Today — The Clarendon Farmers Market is back for the season today. The farmers market typically takes place next to the Metro station from 3-7 p.m. [Clarendon Alliance]
APS Open to Selling Naming Rights — There’s no indication that anyone has inquired about it, but the naming rights to Arlington’s high school football stadiums, gyms and theaters could be for sale for the right price. Arlington Public Schools says it would consider naming facilities after large donors. [InsideNova]
Rosslyn Startup Gets Big Investment — Rosslyn-based LiveSafe has received a $5.25 million investment from FedEx founder Fred Smith. LiveSafe describes itself as an “enterprise-class mobile safety communications platform.” [Commercial Appeal, PE Hub]
Flickr pool photo by Airamangel
More than 500 Dominion customers are without power at this hour due to a reported equipment problem.
As of 11:55 p.m., 541 Dominion customers were in the dark. The outage is centered around the High View Park neighborhood, along the Lee Highway corridor.
At the outage’s peak, more than 1,000 Dominion customers lost their electricity.
The power company says it hopes to have the problem fixed and power restored by 2 a.m.