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From Our Archives: Arlington Postcards

As a certain fictional ad virtuoso from the 20th century would say, an old postcard “takes us to a place where we ache to go again.”

Any old postcard works. But it’s the ones from home–maybe just a block away but with a distance of decades–that tug the most. A “Colorchrome” backstory can again make vibrant the most familiar, forgotten or repurposed neighbor.

The art deco Chrysler/Plymouth dealer becomes a Gold’s Gym. Small, boxey Clarendon Trust on McKinley now belongs to the fourth largest bank in the country.  And even a century back, sightseeing could overwhelm judging by a Luna Park visitor’s handwritten anguish: “Wish I was home am so tired/Momma.”

View Arlington in Postcards

Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room has assembled an engrossing digital collection of local historic postcards–some from the Library’s holdings and others from collectors who generously wished to share their materials with the community.


And note to Google Street View: Take a new trip down North Randolph . The former Super Pollo-Roy Rogers-Hardees-Red Barn is now lost to history, just like $1.29 “complete” fried chicken dinners for two.

The Library’s postcard collection was featured in the Washington Post Magazine on Dec. 5, 2012.

Through the Library website, our archives are always open. Find this collection and more online in our Arlington’s Story Digital Archive.

Comments (3)

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  1. Katharine Koch says:

    This collection of local “histor-rama” looks delicious – just my kind of favorite reason for outings out & about the neighborhood.
    Regret, however, that your list for June fails to include the June 3 exhibit of Nepali family Chitrakar photos. Those I know, from the 1930′s, are magnificent & will be on show for only one day. Worthy of some advanced publicity, I would think. Thank you.

  2. Ian says:

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed looking at the Arlington Postcards on your website (I found them via the link in the newsletter). I am glad some landmarks have not fallen prey to the developer’s bulldozers. I hope to see more postcards or photos from your archives in the future.

  3. Anne Griffith says:

    This collection is marvelous! I forwarded the one of the YMCA summer camp to my daughter who went to HB in the ’90s so she could see what used to be there.

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