Today is the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a historic event during which Arlington played a significant role.
It was in an Arlington hotel that some of the convicted insurrectionists had stayed and stored weapons. Arlington law enforcement and firefighters have been honored for their role in helping to protect the Capitol and treat the injured. And it was here that dozens of Virginia State Police troopers rallied before heading into the District to join the fray against the mob.
It is still surreal recalling the events of that day playing out on TV and then, closer to home, on Arlington police radio channels and traffic cameras.
Above we’ve included a gallery of photos that we published that day and below is a chronological recounting of our Twitter account on Jan. 6, from the first breaking article being published on.
BREAKING: Convoy of a dozen Arlington police and fire vehicles seen heading through Clarendon, apparently going to D.C. https://t.co/bTgmQJHRPA
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
UPDATE: Metrobus and ART bus service is ending early, at 9 p.m. Metrorail service is ending at 8 p.m. Some businesses are also closing early. https://t.co/bTgmQJZtea
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
UPDATE: Statement from county expected soon. ”Stay home, stay safe, take care of yourselves and take care of each other,” says County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti, adjourning closed meeting. https://t.co/WtQVZadEbz
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
It is now 6 p.m. and the governor’s curfew is in effect. For the next 12 hours, it is "illegal for any person to be present in any street, park, or other public place, unless an exception applies.” https://t.co/WtQVZadEbz
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
More Arlington medic units are being dispatched into the District, per scanner. Sounds like they’re going to a fire station to help fill in for their D.C. counterparts.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 7, 2021
Christmas and Hanukkah are nearly here, which is undoubtedly provoking panic among last-minute shoppers.
Luckily, ARLnow has an Arlington-centric holiday gift guide for all those who looking for the perfect present for the the gondola fans and local literature enthusiasts in you life.
Below are eight great, last-minute Arlington-related gifts.
Money helps supports the local non-profit Real Food for Kids. The auction ends next week, on Dec. 22.
This summer, local elected officials again introduced joint legislation to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from the historic home at Arlington National Cemetery. While the bills stalled, it was actually George Washington Parke Custis who had the house built to honor George Washington.
With word coming that a new indoor dog park and bar may be replacing Green Valley’s New District Brewing, now is the time to stuff those stockings with beer.
Four packs of beer, including the National Landing IPA and Potomac Paddleboarder Blonde Ale, are available in the taproom whenever the brewery is open. All the beer is now packaged at their facility with its crowd-funded canning line.
Help that little Arlingtonian in your life to learn local history with this book written by community leader Wilma Jones.
It tells the story of a third grader in 1955 who visits the Halls Hill fire station. For decades, Fire Station 8 was the only one in Arlington that was staffed by African-Americans.
The county is providing a chance to get in on the craze by offering pickleball classes for all ages. The classes begin in February and continue through April, but can be purchased now.
But be careful about where you play so the county doesn’t get sued.
Demolition day may be looming for the building that once housed legendary Inner Ear Studios, but the recording studio still lives in Don Zientara’s Arlington basement. Some have called it “the Abbey Road of Arlington.”
A t-shirt with the original Inner Ear logo is available from ARLnow on Amazon.
Ballston resident Isa Seyran serves up dishy stories in his new book detailing working in the local restaurant scene.
The subject of a recent ARLnow Press Club feature, Seyran shares a number of anecdotes in the book about working for some of the most famous chefs in the D.C. area.
Sure, it’s actually Arlington, Texas that’s getting an XFL team, and not Arlington, Virginia, but that didn’t dissuade us from asking readers on social media what they would have named the football team.
One answer stood out:
The Arlington Gondoliers
- Bonus: Items from a local holiday market
If you are still in need of more last-minute gifts, the Forever Grateful Market in Crystal City is happening this weekend.
Applicant and owner Nayan Patel — doing business as Arlington Boulevard LLC — proposes to replace the 128-unit, 2-story motel across the street from the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall with apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail.
Possible community benefits include a slow-speed, shared-use drive that provides a pedestrian and cycling connection to the Arlington Blvd Trail, protected bike lanes and on-site committed affordable housing units. Residents of the the 251-unit, 8-story building at 2201 Arlington Blvd will have access to an off-leash dog run.
The Arva Apartments will borrow its name from the 67-year-old building’s original name, the Arva Motor Hotel — a portmanteau of Arlington, Virginia. It will feature reconstructions of the hotel’s triangular sign and glassy lobby exterior.
But the county says the project designers, STUDIOS Architects, can do more to emphasize this history.
The Pershing Drive General Land Use Plan study, a 2021 document that outlines the community’s vision for this site, says architectural features should honor the motel’s mid-century design or the history of the adjacent Washington-Lee Apartments. It also says the developer should incorporate the existing triangular sign and the two-story, glassy lobby at the corner of Pershing Drive and Arlington Blvd.
“While the proposal incorporates a recreated sign and a lobby area that resembles the original lobby, the structures themselves are not actually preserved,” county planner Peter Schulz said in a presentation. “Staff also believes that the architecture above the ground level does not do enough to honor either the mid-century design of the existing motel or the historic Washington-Lee apartments.”
STUDIOS Architecture Principal Ashton Allan said in a presentation that the designs embrace the Moderne and mid-century modern styles and blends them with other styles in Lyon Park to do something new.
“As we set out to add our design to this collection, we wanted to draw inspiration from history, but also make our own statement in this chorus of voices,” he said.
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.”
Know of a majestic maple, terrific tulip or winsome willow tree deserving of recognition?
Don’t leaf it until the last minute to nominate a tree for Arlington County’s recognition program for notable trees. The deadline for the 2023 honors is this Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31), which is less than two weeks away.
“Since 1987, Arlington County has recognized its most notable trees,” Arlington’s Urban Forest Manager Vincent Verweij told the Arlington County Board this spring during his presentation on the 2022 winners. “This volunteer-led program has recognized over 365 trees.”
Owners are recognized with a certificate or plaque, and sometimes, the trees are included on neighborhood walking tours.
“While these trees are not legally protected, notable tree status has often helped communicate the value of these trees in development projects, and led to increased conservation of our most prized natural resource,” Verweij said.
Nominators can fill out a form that asks for the tree’s common and species name, the tree’s street address and location on the property. There is space to write a brief description of why the nominator believes the tree should be recognized and an option to upload photos.
“Nominators other than the tree’s owner should contact the owner for consent before submitting an application,” per the county. “Owners may request that their names and addresses not appear on the public listing.”
Volunteers or county staff will measure the tree and evaluate its health before making a recommendation to the Forestry and Natural Resources Commission. Considerations include a tree’s size, age, historical and community significance, and whether its species is unique and non-invasive.
For 2022, 18 submissions were reviewed and 12 nominations were approved, Verweij said.
A museum in Columbus, Ohio has a piece of post-World War II Arlington history.
Technically, more than one piece — almost an entire enameled steel, prefabricated two-bedroom, one-bathroom house that originally stood in the Columbia Forest neighborhood. In 2011, Arlington County donated the home, a prefabricated steel Lustron house, to the Ohio History Connection (OHC).
Eight years after the museum rebuilt the house and put it on public display, it is looking to get rid of some parts it did not end up incorporating, like a bathroom vanity, trusses and a heating unit, per a county report. It’s offering first dibs to the Arlington County Board, which it has to do, per the terms of the donation a decade ago.
County staff recommend the Board refuse the offer, arguing that the museum is in a better position to place these pieces with other Lustron homeowners, who are mostly in the Midwest. Plus, staff say, the county already has some panelling salvaged from other Lustron homes.
“The proximity of the OHC to a robust network of Lustron Homes and owners in Ohio and beyond provides a better-suited opportunity for these historic items to be feasibly reused,” per a county report.
Arlington County had struggled for years to figure out what to do with this home, which came into its possession about 15 years ago.
Advertised as “the house America is talking about,” several thousand Lustron houses were produced between 1948-1950. Eleven were built in Arlington, giving the county the distinction of having the largest quantity in the D.C. area, per a 2006 board report.
Due to their small size and unusual construction, they “are are at great risk for demolition and are becoming increasingly rare,” according to the report.
By 2005, only six remained in Arlington — and the one in the best condition was Clifford Krowne’s 1,805-square-foot “Westchester Deluxe 02” model in “dove gray.” That year, he told the county he intended to raze the home and redevelop his property, but he offered to delay those plans if the county wanted to preserve the house but put it somewhere else.
The county agreed to pay $18,500 to have a contractor disassemble it. Plans to reassemble it in the Arlington Heights neighborhood never transpired, so it sat in storage in Chantilly, costing the county $4,800 a year, for five years, save for a brief moment of celebrity in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.
Then, staff found a recipient: the Ohio history society.
“Though the OHC maintains the official Lustron corporate archives in its collection, the organization did not yet own an actual Lustron Home,” according to the 2022 board report. “The OHC agreed to assume all associated costs for shipping the house from Chantilly to Columbus and was eager to use the home for educational and interpretive purposes.”
If the County Board approves the refusal, the last pieces of Arlington’s post-World War II history will go to Lustron homeowners whose homes remain a testament to everything prefabricated homes represented.
“The design and manufacture of Lustrons aimed not just to satisfy an overwhelming and immediate need for affordable housing, but to raise the quality of living for middle-class Americans,” according to the county report. “Lustrons were ingenious not only in their materials, but also for their open floor plan, space-saving built-in cabinetry, and maintenance-free and fireproof all steel construction.”
The Arlington Historical Society is separately in talks with the Ohio museum about taking some pieces, the County Board report notes.
The driver of a pickup truck nearby ran off the side of the Memorial Bridge this evening.
The truck mounted the southern sidewalk and smashed through the decorative masonry on the side of the bridge, over the GW Parkway and the Mt. Vernon Trail. It was likely just a few feet away from falling off the side of the bridge and onto the trail.
Police described it as a single-vehicle crash. U.S. Park Police officers and Arlington firefighters were among those to respond to the scene. No information on injuries or the cause of the crash was immediately available.
The inbound lanes of the bridge were closed to traffic for a time after the crash but have since reopened.
Memorial Bridge underwent an extensive, two-year rehabilitation project that wrapped up in 2020. The work included cleaning, repairing and reinstalling the bridge’s “historic granite balustrade.”
It appears that the truck smashed through one of those sections of balustrade. Repairing it may take awhile.
More on the balustrade work from a 2019 Washington Post article:
Hunks of curbing, benches and hundreds of ornate 80-pound balusters, for the balustrade, or stone railing, were scattered across a large Lorton Stone company work yard in Upper Marlboro, Md., like pieces of a huge puzzle.
There, they were being power-washed and repaired, if needed, said National Park Service spokesman Jonathan Shafer.
Many of the pieces have been stained by rust over the years from passing cars and nicked by snowplows, said Lindy Gulick, a Park Service architectural conservator.
Missing parts are being replaced by new pieces that are glued in place and sculpted to fit.
The original balusters were handcrafted from stone cut in a quarry in Mount Airy, N.C.
Replacements for the few that could not be repaired are being made with the help of a computer and with stone from the same quarry, Gulick said.
More on the crash via social media:
Traffic Alert: Inbound Arlington Memorial Bridge closed for single car crash.
— USPPNEWS (@usparkpolicepio) September 7, 2022
— Stephen V Liu, MD (@StephenVLiu) September 7, 2022
— Kenneth Edward Piner (@kennethpiner) September 7, 2022
A towering remembrance of the former Black community of Queen City is slated to be included in an Amazon-funded park next to HQ2.
A presentation prepared for the meeting shows a 30 foot tall brick chimney stack, with the words “Queen City” written in brick, along the footpaths of the new Met Park in Pentagon City. The park is currently under construction after the County Board approved a $14 million, Amazon-funded renovation project two years ago.
The revamped park is expected to re-open at some point next year.
Made with reclaimed bricks and illuminated by LED uplighting, the tower will seek to carry forward the legacy of the Black enclaves of Freedman’s Village and, more specifically, Queen City — two of several that dotted Arlington a century or more ago.
Freedman’s Village, founded on the former estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War, was closed by the federal government in 1900 and became part of Arlington National Cemetery. Queen City was founded nearby in response to the closure of Freedman’s Village.
But Queen City, too, would eventually be razed by the federal government — in 1942, to make way for the freeway network built around the newly-constructed Pentagon.
From the doctoral dissertation of Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Ph.D., a curator in the National Museum of African American History and Culture:
Together with the adjacent community of East Arlington, Queen City was located in south-eastern Arlington on flat land, prone to flooding from the nearby Potomac River, near several factories and along the Washington, Alexandria, and Mt. Vernon trolley line. Queen City was built around the Mt. Olive Baptist Church which had roots in Freedman’s Village. Saving one-fourth of an acre for the church, the remaining land was parceled into forty lots to be sold to church members leaving the Village. With small plots of 20 feet by 92 feet, this subdivision transformed the former farm land into a more dense and suburban environment. Many of the homes constructed by former residents of Freedman’s Village at this time were reminiscent of the simple clap-board houses they called home in the Village, making housing type another product of the Village’s diaspora.
By 1942 more than 200 working class families lived in modest but well-kept frame houses. Just as was the case in Freedman’s Village, where residents saw a thriving community, outsiders saw the black neighborhood as a ghetto. In January of 1942 construction began for the Pentagon’s road networks in the path of the communities. Properties were seized through [eminent] domain laws with modest payments. With this loss some community members left the area entirely, while other residents and institutions relocated to Arlington’s remaining black communities of Hall’s Hill, Johnson’s Hill, or Green Valley.
The dissertation notes that the destruction of the Queen City community was personally approved by the president at the time.
Saturday Afternoon’s Painted Sky — From the Capital Weather Gang: “A couple more nice examples of this circumhorizon arc being see all over the DMV. We wrote about these a few years ago… not uncommon high in the sky around midday during summer.” [Twitter]
Local Woman Harassed in Metro Station — “A 21-year-old woman is sharing the frightening experience she had when a stranger yelled at and harassed her for 10-straight minutes at a Metro station this week in Washington, D.C. Helen Molteni, of Arlington, Virginia, said she was on the platform at the Foggy Bottom station when a man came up to her and started harassing her.” [NBC 4]
Va. Attorney General Visits — “Virginia’s attorney general met with local nonprofit groups in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday for a roundtable listening session about addressing poverty and community needs… Miyares was joined by representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and the Arlington County police in sitting down with members of various faith organizations and nonprofit programs, including Arlington Bridge Builders, a local community coalition with the mission of helping people in need.” [WTOP]
APS Students Top National Competition — “Lina Barclay and Ellie Nix, two Arlington Tech graduates from the Arlington Career Center, won the first-place gold medal in the Television (Video) Production contest at the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference and SkillsUSA Championships in Atlanta. Barclay and Nix represented Virginia in this contest and competed against 37 other teams across the United States.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Are These Pike Apartments Historic? — “Members of the Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) have opted against moving forward, for now, on a proposal to confer historic-district status on a 70-year-old apartment compound in the Arlington Mill neighborhood. But the buildings may end up preserved, nonetheless.” [Sun Gazette]
Rents Keep Rising Rapidly — “The median rental price for an Arlington apartment grew 2.8 percent from June to July, according to new data, ranking the county third nationally among the 100 largest urban areas in terms of price growth. With the increase, Arlington’s median rent now stands at $2,121 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,538 for two bedrooms.” [Sun Gazette]
Crash at Infamous I-395 Exit — From Dave Statter: “Another considerate driver signals before making a left turn across 4 lanes of I-395S. But their #8CDash came to an abrupt halt when the driver in the last lane somehow didn’t see that signal — or just didn’t believe what they were seeing.” [Twitter]
Office to Apartment Conversions Ramp Up — “‘There really hasn’t been a time like right now, where office is on the decline to the point that [an empty building] is basically the same value as just the land,’ says Lindsay Stroud, a structured-finance broker with the commercial real-estate firm Savills. One possible solution: more office-to-residential conversions like Park & Ford.” [Washingtonian]
It’s August 1 — Partly cloudy throughout the day, with spotty rain possible later. High of 86 and low of 72. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:21 pm. [Weather.gov]
Photo courtesy Leslie Koch
(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.
Cruel Summer in the Pool — “Arlington’s four summer swimming teams in the Northern Virginia Swimming League had a combined losing record of 9-11 this season. It was the first summer since the 2012 campaign that the four had a cumulative losing mark… This summer Overlee also was the only one of the four with a winning mark, at 3-2.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington = Jersey City? — A TikTok creator, talking about her viral map comparing parts of the D.C. area with New York City area locales: “I completely understand that people are going to disagree with this, but it was Arlington and Jersey City — you know, being literally across the river from a big economic center that people commute into. I think the way people in DC talk about Arlington — it just sounded very familiar to some of the things that I’ve heard people in Manhattan saying about people who live just across the water in New Jersey.” [Washingtonian]
Another Gun Caught at DCA Checkpoint — “A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented an Alexandria, Va., resident from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight this morning, July 25. It was the 16th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.” [Press Release]
Brittany O’Grady’s Latest Project — From actress and Arlington native Brittany O’Grady: “I’m filming an Amazon show called The Consultant, with Nat Wolff and Christoph Waltz. It’s about a man who takes over a company, and my character and others are challenged on their morality. I’m also excited to finally play women [rather than teenagers]. The storylines get deeper.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
A Spring and Arlington’s Oldest Home — “This land was originally patented by Thomas Owsley in 1696 with the caveat that he had to build a house on the land within a year or forfeit rights to the land. It’s believed that Owsley built the stone house that sits at Dawson Terrace Recreation Center, one street west of the Spring Site. If true, it is the oldest house in Arlington County… The spring is located inside a spring house at the bottom of a stone stairway at the end of North Scott Street.” [Atlas Obscura]
It’s Tuesday — Cloudy, then rain starting in the afternoon. High of 80 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. [Weather.gov]