Arlington Hall, located at Route 50 and George Mason Drive, was a girls finishing school founded in 1927.
The school suffered financial problems in the 1930s, and finally became a non-profit institution in 1940. In 1942 the facility faced condemnation and was taken over by the Secretary of War under the Second War Powers Act. The property was deemed essential for the war effort, and the school became the headquarters of the Army Signal Corps, later the Intelligence and Security Command; at this time it became known as Arlington Hall Station.
Arlington Hall Station was one of only two primary cryptography operations in the United States during World War II, concentrating mostly on Japanese codes. Along with the Pentagon and other war agencies, Arlington Hall Station provided employment for many women who came to the area looking for work, as you can see in the photograph above.
In the post-war years, Arlington Hall Station continued to do work dealing with espionage and diplomacy. It housed a large portion of the Defense Intelligence Agency, founded in 1961, and today the National Foreign Affairs Training Center and the Army National Guard Readiness Center operate out of Arlington Hall.
The Arlington Community Archives holds materials pertaining to the site, including histories and photographs, and holds several yearbooks and other documents dating to Arlington Hall’s time as a girls school.
What About You?
What do you remember about Arlington Hall? What was Arlington like during World War II? Let us know what you remember!