An official website of Arlington County Government

Category: Our Back Pages

Local History: A Pentagon-less Arlington?
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Local History: A Pentagon-less Arlington?

Calling All Local History Fans… While answering a reference question, we came across this interesting passage describing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s original plans for a War Department building in Arlington:  …The new building in Arlington would not be the War Department’s permanent headquarters. Ultimately, the department would return to Foggy Bottom in Washington. “Now, my […]

Our Back Pages: A Taste of Home
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Our Back Pages: A Taste of Home

Vietnam in Clarendon For a brief period in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a small area of Clarendon became a hub of activity for America’s newest immigrant group, the Vietnamese – and even gained international fame. For the first half of the twentieth century, Clarendon had been Arlington’s shopping and social center, with stores, […]

War Bonds rally at Clarendon Circle, circa 1943.
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Our Back Pages: The “Cracker Jack Box”

A Memory of German Prisoners of War in Arlington, Virginia The following is an excerpt from an oral history with Walter R. De Groot, from the Center for Local History’s oral history collection.   In reply to a question regarding POWs in Arlington during WWII: INTERVIEWER: Where did they stay? NARRATOR: They came from Arlington Hall. […]

What Went Up Came Down, 1997
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What Went Up Came Down, 1997

1960s Courthouse Demolished Sixteen Years Ago   At 7 a.m. on Feb. 23, 1997, the shell of the old Arlington County Courthouse came down in an impressive, yet controlled, implosion. Located across the street from the current courthouse and correctional center, the building was opened in 1960 with great fanfare, as it was a vast improvement […]

Do You Know What Your Street Used To Be Named?
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Do You Know What Your Street Used To Be Named?

How Arlington made sense of its street names and paved the way for our first Federal building.   This document, from June of 1935, represents a unique moment in Arlington history– a time when many Arlingtonians had to re-learn the names of their streets and those of their neighbors. In 1932, Arlington County had already […]

Our Back Pages: The Nearby Hideaways
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Our Back Pages: The Nearby Hideaways

Nuclear attack was a constant boogeyman of the Cold War. In the 1950s and 1960s especially, American citizenry was encouraged to be proactive in protecting themselves from nuclear fallout (remember “Duck and Cover”?). Arlington was no exception. In late 1960s, the Northern Virginia Regional Planning Commission, which covered the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls […]

1979 Arlington County All-County Elementary Orchestra and Chorus album cover
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From Marching Bands to Indie Rock: The Story of Gerald Lewis Recording

In today’s music scene, it isn’t uncommon for those involved to wear many hats. Artists crossover from performing to producing, find parallel careers in film, literature, and the visual arts with regularity. In earlier times, this phenomenon was less prevalent, excepting well-known performers such as Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Arlington’s own Gerald M. Lewis had […]

A Garden to Remember
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A Garden to Remember

The Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden, located at the corner of N. Lexington  St. and Wilson Boulevard, was conceived by Nell Broyhill as a memorial for the many Arlingtonians who served and died in World War II. In 1941, Ms.  Broyhill assembled a group of women from Arlington churches, civic groups and associations and formed […]

Dan Kain Trophies, 1998 slider
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Clarendon’s Trophy

  The building at 3100 Washington Boulevard in Clarendon is a visually arresting structure. This Streamline Moderne-style storefront was the home of Dan Kain Trophies, which was the store in Arlington for trophies, ribbons and plaques for many years. Although Dan Kain Trophies is now located in Merrifield in Fairfax County, it still has a […]

How to Preserve Arlington's Past
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How to Preserve Arlington’s Past

The Virginia Room at Central Library is the County’s official history archive. But how does the Library keep a steady flow of history coming in? Donations, from people like you. Scott McCaffrey of the Sun Gazette was on hand for a recent donation by the Potomac Women’s Club, just one of several civic groups that […]