In 1919, the Arlington County Department of Health was one of the first full-time county departments for health services in the nation.
Unique for this type of county service, the Department received most of its funding from private rather than public resources.
The Department of Health was organized to improve the county’s state of public health by enforcing laws regulating sanitation and disease. Over the years, the Department evolved into a social agency serving the community and enhancing the quality of life through many local social programs.
Researchers interested in the early development and organization of municipal health systems and health care services should find this collection (RG 21) from the library’s Community Archives very valuable. The photograph above, a well house inspection from 1942, is from that collection. Information about RG 21 can be found in the library catalog and a full finding aid is available in the Virginia Room.
Today, the Department of Health has become the Arlington County Department of Human Services.
What About You?
What do you remember about the Health Department? How did you interact with them? Let us know what you remember!