ACPD Urges Caution on Roads As Days Get Shorter — “The days are getting shorter and there’s increased pedestrian and bicyclist traffic after dark,” the Arlington County Police Department said in a public service tweet last night. “Slow down, remain alert and proceed with care and caution.” [Twitter, Twitter]
History: Fort Myer During World War I — A Library of Congress collection includes 100-year-old photographs showing what life was like on Fort Myer during World War I. The photos show a visit from President Woodrow Wilson and the famous “Three Sisters” radio towers. [Pentagram]
Redskins Visit Fort Myer, Play Video Games — Former Washington Redskins players Santana Moss and Fred Smoot visited Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and engaged in a Madden 18 video game tournament with some of the men and women in uniform. [WUSA 9]
Notable Tree Nomination Deadline Approaching — November 15 is the application deadline for submitting a tree for consideration as a 2018 Arlington County “notable tree.” [Arlington County]
Belmont TV Closing — Belmont TV, located at 4723 King Street on the Arlington-Alexandria border, is planning to close its doors at the end of the month, after about 75 years in business. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Having Trouble Hiring Bus Drivers — “The strong local economy is creating some challenges for Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to fill out its bus-driver and bus-assistant ranks. There are still ‘nine routes that don’t have permanent drivers,’ said John Chadwick, the school system’s assistant superintendent for transportation, at the Oct. 19 School Board meeting.” [InsideNova]
Northam, Roem Speak at Freddie’s — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem spoke last night at an LGBT-focused campaign event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Also attending the event were state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Mark Levine and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. [Washington Blade]
History of the Pentagon Cable Crossing — A cable crossing, marked with large signs along the banks of the Potomac River, dates back to the construction of the Pentagon in early 1940s. [Atlas Obscura]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]
No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]
Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]
Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]
Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
Gas Leak Along George Mason Drive — Part of S. George Mason Drive near Columbia Pike was closed this morning due to a gas leak. [Washington Post]
Bethesda Has Most Expensive One-Bedroom Apartments — Bethesda has the highest median rents for one-bedroom apartments, at $2,270, according to a new report. “In comparison, D.C.’s typical one-bedroom costs $2,260 per month, while one-bedroom rents in Arlington, Virginia, cost a median of $2,140 per month.” [Curbed]
Remembering Hoover Field — A pair of airports, Hoover Field (later Hoover Airport) and Washington Airport, operated during the 1920s and 1930s on the site of the present day Pentagon reservation. National Airport was opened shortly after both closed down to make way for the Pentagon. [Paul Freeman, Twitter]
Best Places to Watch the Marine Corps Marathon — A number of Arlington locations are listed among the best places for spectators to watch the Marine Corps Marathon. [WTOP]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Nauck Town Square Project Progressing — “There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Nauck Town Square project, which aims to turn a barren (though iconic) strip of land into a true community gathering place… If all goes as planned, a construction contract will be inked in 2018, with completion a year later.” [InsideNova]
History: Arlington’s Three Sisters — Arlington County was home to the second-tallest human-made structure in the world after the Eiffel Tower: one of the “Three Sisters” U.S. Navy radio towers that once stood along Columbia Pike. [Arlington Magazine]
Mall Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research — This month the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be raising money for breast cancer research by offering discount cards to shoppers who make a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen organization. The mall will also be holding meet and greets with the Susan G. Komen D.C. chapter and on Oct. 21 will be offering free pink cookies and pink lemonade. [Simon]
Arlington Issues New Bonds — Arlington County successfully sold $58 million in new bonds this week at an average 3.24 percent interest rate. “This sale allows the County to finance two important land acquisitions, while also saving the County $3.8 million of future debt service by refinancing existing bonds at lower rates,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Arlington No. 6 on Highest-Income List — Arlington County is the No. 6 highest-income county in the country, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Three other local counties — Loudoun County, Howard County and Fairfax County — were Nos. 1, 2 and 3 respectively. D.C., meanwhile, was one of the only urban centers in the country to see a decline in its median household income. [Washington Post]
Local Oktoberfest List — A Reddit user has created a master list of local Oktoberfest celebrations and German restaurants. Among the events on the list is the annual Capitol City Brewing Oktoberfest in Shirlington, scheduled this year for Saturday, Sept. 30. [Google Docs, Reddit]
Arlington Ladies Auxiliary Van For Sale — For $3,500, you can be the proud owner of a 1967 Dodge van that once was used as the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association Ladies Auxiliary coffee wagon. [Craigslist]
Arlington Combating Opioid Epidemic — Arlington County is reminding residents that opioid addiction remains a significant problem in the county and around the U.S. “Opioid use and cases of overdosing continue to rise,” the county said, on a webpage that lists resources for those trying to overcome addiction. [Arlington County]
Mobility Lab Director Touts Success — “We calculated that on a typical workday, our services in Arlington County helped shed about 40,000 trips from vehicles into biking, walking, et cetera,” says the Managing Director of Arlington County’s Mobility Lab, in an interview. “That’s equivalent to seven lanes of urban highway.” [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
More on Mini Nazi Rally in Dominion Hills — “I hate to think the founder of the American Nazi Party would take satisfaction knowing he influences Arlington 50 years after his assassination.” [Falls Church News-Press]
W-L Alum Sandra Bullock Donates to Harvey Relief — Actress and 1982 Washington-Lee High School grad Sandra Bullock has given $1 million to the American Red Cross to help with hurricane relief efforts along the Texas coast. Bullock has quietly made $1 million donations in the wake of a number of major disasters. [People, Twitter]
ACPD Mourns Drowned Houston Officer — The Arlington County Police Department is joining other departments across the country in mourning the line of duty death of Houston officer Sgt. Steve Perez, who was overcome by high water while trying to drive to downtown Houston in torrential rain early Sunday. [Twitter]
(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) Fifty years ago today — on August 25, 1967 — the leader of the American Nazi Party was gunned down at the Dominion Hills Shopping Center while trying to do his laundry.
George Lincoln Rockwell was shot by former neo-Nazi John Patler from the rooftop of the shopping center when he went out to his car to go and get bleach to clean his clothes with at the laundromat. Patler was arrested half an hour later, after throwing his gun into Four Mile Run nearby, when he was spotted with wet trousers waiting for a bus by a police officer.
From the American Nazi Party’s headquarters in Ballston, Rockwell and his followers called for black people to be returned to Africa and for Jews to be gassed. Local historian Charlie Clark, who writes the “Our Man in Arlington” column for the Falls Church News-Press and wrote a magazine article about the history of Nazis in Arlington, said a lot of people found the group’s views troubling.
“For many people, it was pretty shocking,” Clark said. “It was only 15 years after World War II, when a lot of veterans who lived in Arlington who had fought the Nazis would have to put up with this group.”
Members marched in a local parade and picketed places as varied as the White House and an Arlington pizza restaurant owned by a Jewish family. Rockwell also ran for Governor of Virginia in 1965, but only received 1 percent of the vote.
Clark said that more than anything, Rockwell was a publicity seeker, who received press coverage for a while before most reporters of the time lost interest in his antics.
“His bark was much bigger than his bite,” Clark said. “The Nazis never really committed any violence, never assassinated anybody. They just liked shocking people.”
The Commonwealth’s Attorney at the time pushed for Patler, who Clark said changed his name from John Patsalos as a homage to Adolf Hitler, to receive the death penalty. But the jury gave him a 20-year prison sentence, and he was released on parole after eight years. Patler then violated his parole and received an additional six years in jail.
The American Nazi Party never quite recovered from Rockwell’s assassination, although remained in Arlington until the 1980s — based in what is now a coffee shop in Courthouse — before moving to Wisconsin. Since the dawn of the internet and social media, the group has appeared to gain more visibility again.
Clark said that the policy of not giving the group much publicity in the media in the 1960s seemed to work well, and that could be a lesson for today.
“I think there must be a way for the news media and average citizens to keep an eye on it, because it can explode or it can grow in a subterranean way,” he said. “But there is an argument for not putting it on the front page, not alarming people.”
However, today there was a reminder that Rockwell’s Nazi beliefs did not die with him. A group of at least five men and one woman arrived in the parking lot, set up a small swastika-adorned wreath and a Nazi flag, and gave the “Heil Hitler” salute in memory of Rockwell, according to a photo tweeted by NBC 4’s Mark Segraves.
A small group of Nazis just showed up in Arlington to honor George Lincoln Rockwell on 50th Anniv at site of his murder. pic.twitter.com/hib7oTdXkh
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) August 25, 2017
As of 1:45 p.m., the group was no longer at the shopping center and shoppers were going about their daily business. One passerby said she was surprised at the boldness of the Nazis demonstrating openly in a diverse community like Arlington
“It’s shocking,” she said. “You don’t expect to see it in this area. It’s normally so quiet.”
Late Friday afternoon the Washington Post reported that the Nazis were with a group called the New Order, the successor to the American Nazi Party. All but one were local to the Washington area.
Local Senior Completes Alcatraz Swim — Arlington resident Mary Schade, 71, completed the 1.5-mile Alcatraz Escape from the Rock swim in San Francisco, placing first in her age group. She was the second-oldest swimmer in the race, which featured choppy, 59-degree water and a stiff wind. [InsideNova]
Arlington History Books — “Our Man in Arlington” Charlie Clark has found a number of “out-of-the-mainstream histories of our fair county,” including one book, first published in 1957, that “summarizes two centuries of legal boundary changes” involving Arlington County or its geographic predecessors. [Falls Church News-Press]
Shirlington Apartment Building Bought, Rebranded — Waterton, a real estate investment firm, has acquired the 404-unit Windsor at Shirlington Village apartment complex and rebranded it as “The Citizen at Shirlington Village.” The purchase price for the apartment building at 3000 S. Randolph Street was a reported $144 million. The new Chicago-based owners plan to upgrade the apartment units, outdoor spaces and the fitness center. [Washington Business Journal, BusinessWire]
Teachers Explore New Commuting Options — With the encouragement of Arlington Public Schools, some teachers are switching from a solo driving commute to carpooling or biking, as seen in a new video from Arlington County’s Mobility Lab. [YouTube, Mobility Lab]
Commonwealth Joe Gets $2.5 Million — Local nitro cold brew coffee purveyor and Pentagon City cafe operator Commonwealth Joe has landed a $2.5 million round of funding. The Arlington-based firm says it plans to use the investment to expand its cold brew business, which includes distributing kegs of the sweet, smooth chilled coffee to offices. [Washington Business Journal]
Local Holocaust Survivor Reunited — An Arlington man was reunited with a Dutch couple that hid him and his sister, who are both Jewish, from the Nazis in 1945. The reunion took place at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and happened thanks to a high school project undertaken by the couple’s grandson. [NBC Washington]
Raise for Arlington County Board Members? — There is renewed discussion of a significant raise for Arlington County Board members, in recognition that their job, rather than being part time as originally envisioned, now involves full-time hours. There are even “whispers” that Board salaries could be nearly doubled, to reach six-figures, according to one report. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Tax Delinquency Rate Hits Historic Low — Arlington County’s 2017 tax delinquency rate has hit a record low of 0.226 percent, County Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced. That’s the lowest rate in Virginia and the lowest rate ever in Arlington, she said, touting it as “good for the county” and “good for taxpayers.” The news led Del. Patrick Hope to declare de la Pava the “best treasurer in the Commonwealth.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Remembering the Ballston Mall’s Past — First known as Parkington, then Ballston Common Mall, and soon (next year) to be reopened as Ballston Quarter, following extensive renovations, Ballston’s shopping mall has a long history that dates back to the early 1950s. [WETA]
Nearby: Legislation on Confederate Monument — State Sen. Adam Ebbin says he will introduce legislation “to give Alexandria the authority to relocate the Confederate statue in Old Town” Alexandria. “It is past time that we address the impact that lionizing the Confederacy has had on the character of our Commonwealth,” Ebbin said. [Twitter, Twitter]
The book chronicles “forgotten stories from the nation’s smallest county,” though some stories are less forgotten than others. From the book’s description:
Arlington County, for two centuries a center for government institutions, is a vibrant part of the Washington, D.C., community. Many notable figures made their home in the area, like Supreme Court chief justice Warren Burger, General George “Blood ‘n’ Guts” Patton and a beauty queen who almost married crooner Dean Martin. The drama of Virginia’s first school integration unfolded in Arlington beginning in the late 1950s. In the 1960s, two motorcycle gangs clashed in public at a suburban shopping center. Local author, historian and “Our Man in Arlington” Charlie Clark uncovers the vivid, and hidden, history of a capital community.
With Clark’s permission, an excerpt from the book is below.
In producing my weekly “Our Man in Arlington” column for the Falls Church News-Press, I come across many juicy factoids that leap out as being, not literally hidden, but little known. Sometime to find the tidbits, I had to dig. I wouldn’t have found them all in the texts of the 80 historical signs that dot our county’s streets and landmarks (though I’d wager that those signs are not sufficiently read).
Some I found did not inspire a full essay but merited presentation as stand-alone squibs. In reading a 1955 magazine essay by Arlington-based state Del. Kathryn Stone, I stumbled on an astonishing fact: When the new Wakefield school combining junior and senior high students scheduled a PTA meeting in the gym in 1954, 2000 parents showed up!
Some finds were personal. I inherited a 1943 photo of my parents when they were dating during World War II. I knew they’d lived in Arlington but didn’t know the street. I took the black-and-white shot with its 603 house number and drove into South Arlington. Magically, when I emerged from 6th Street onto Walter Reed Drive, I stared across a courtyard and immediately recognized the exact entranceway of the Fillmore Gardens apartments still intact after 70 years. (I knocked on the door and wowed a bewildered resident with my time-travel find.)
In my reporting I get to glimpse some amazing private documents. The Washington Golf and Country Club (founded 1894), which boasts five U.S. presidents as past members, has a 1920s directory listing Woodrow Wilson with the address: The White House.
One story was once hidden but now can be told. Famed Watergate scandal reporter Bob Woodward of The Washington Post in 2005 revealed that he used to meet his highly placed source “Deep Throat” in a parking garage in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood. Demand was met for erecting an historic plaque. The garage itself, however, at this writing is slated to be torn down to make way for an apartment building. Still, developer Monday Properties is preserving the sidewalk historic sign on North Nash Street.
The global Marriott hotel chain likes to report that its first motor hotel was in Arlington, the Twin Bridges Marriott built in 1957 near the 14th Street Bridge and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It was torn down in 1990. But baby-boomer rock fans recall it as the site where Little Feat guitarist Lowell George met his end there in 1979 from a heart attack.
Last but not least, fewer and fewer Arlington old-timers recall a time when many teenagers, right after they got their driver’s license, ventured over to Speed Hill. It’s still there, hidden off Nellie Custis Drive and hugging the Potomac along the 2700 block of North Quebec Street. Many a rookie driver as far back as the 1960s tested his (parents’) speedometer on what was reputed to be the steepest hill in Arlington. I recall at one point worried authorities made it one-way–going up. Today it’s two-way street, lined by beautiful upscale homes, inhabitants of which, I was recently told, call it Death Hill. May all who experience it — and all who read these essays — travel Arlington safely. –Charlie Clark
Copyright 2017 The History Press, republished with permission.
‘Open Road’ Coming to Rosslyn — A new location of Open Road, from the restaurant group behind Circa, is expected to open in Rosslyn next year. Open Road is expected to have a large, covered outdoor patio area. [Washington Business Journal]
Milkshake Shipped from Cleveland for Cancer Patient — Using dry ice and overnight shipping, a popular Cleveland restaurant shipped one of its famous milkshakes to a terminal cancer patient in Arlington. A photo of the patient, Emily Pomeranz, enjoying the shake in her hospice room has gone viral. [Facebook, Fox 8 Cleveland]
Street Work Schedule — Arlington County will be performing micro-sealing work on a number of streets this month as part of its preventive maintenance program. Among the roads with planned nighttime closures: Shirlington Road, Washington Blvd, N. George Mason Drive, N. Pershing Drive, S. Arlington Ridge Road and Army Navy Drive. [Arlington County]
Arlington Had a Little Italy — Arlington County once had its own Little Italy, a “makeshift village occupied by Italian quarrymen and their families on the banks of the Potomac, accessible only by footpath.” The former quarry site is located along the Potomac Heritage Trail, according to an article posted earlier this summer on WETA’s Boundary Stones local history blog. [WETA]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
Equinox Gym Coming to Clarendon — “Clarendon is getting an Equinox health club — just the third standalone location of the gym in the D.C. area. The high-end fitness facility will be part of the Market Common development in the Arlington neighborhood, according to two real estate broker sources familiar with the deal.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Seniors Have Millennial Transit Traits — “Arlington seniors are fairly tech savvy. They are generally comfortable with transportation tasks such as searching options online to using apps on their smartphones. They generally have a young frame of mind and are open to considering new ways of doing things (including trying various modes of transportation) and the latest technology.” [Mobility Lab]
History of Local Newspapers — Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. have a rich history of local newspapers, with one currently-published paper tracing its roots back to 1800. [Falls Church News-Press]
A plan to revamp Interstate 66 is threatening the character of the Custis Memorial Parkway, the highway’s name inside the Capital Beltway, historic preservation advocates said today (Wednesday).
Preservation Arlington, a nonprofit group that looks to protect Arlington’s architectural heritage, released its annual list of “endangered historic places,” with the parkway named as one.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of an ambitious plan known as “Transform 66” to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston within the existing eastbound right-of-way.
But Preservation Arlington said the plan could undermine “the roadway’s unique parkway design.”
“Plantings are no longer maintained. Corten steel guardrails and sign supports are being replaced with standard, steel interstate highway components,” the group wrote. “The new toll road gantries, and large, new sign supports (and highway signage) on nearby arterial roads have further eroded the parkway’s ability to blend into its surroundings.”
Another piece of history under threat, according to Preservation Arlington, are the Education Center and Planetarium, chosen last week by the Arlington County School Board for an extra 500-600 high school seats and a renovation.
“While some exterior improvements will be necessary it is hoped that this will be minimal and will not alter the appearance of the historic structure,” Preservation Arlington wrote. “Designed as a headquarters building to show the strength and commitment to education, the building is iconic in our community.”
Also under threat, according to Preservation Arlington:
- 1000-series Metro cars, retired this month for safety reasons
- Community buildings like those for churches and service organizations
- Four Mile Run industrial area
- Housing stock from before World War II, with the continued loss of these homes “erasing Arlington’s architectural and community history.”
Image via VDOT presentation
There’s a recent addition to the site of Marymount University’s new mixed-use complex at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive in Ballston.
The inscription on the sign, below, notes that there are four additional informational markers in the complex’s courtyard, made from salvaged blue panels from the former building.
Construction of the Marymount complex is expected to wrap up this summer. A Starbucks coffee shop is set to be its first retail tenant.
This site is where the distinctive “Blue Goose” building stood. While the origin of the moniker remains unknown. Arlingtonians recognized the building’s atypical form and striking use of polychromatic blue metal panels. Well-known local architect John M. Walton designed the building for M.T. Broyhill and Sons, which opened the office tower in 1963.
Marymount University welcomes you to walk through the courtyard to the right, which contains four two-sided informational markers. Visitors heading to the west will learn about the transportation history of this site including the streetcar line that followed Fairfax Drive. Visitors walking to the east will read about the history of the Blue Goose and its architect, developer, and tenants. These four markers were partially constructed with salvaged blue panels from the Blue Goose.
Photo courtesy Joel Kirzner