The Little Tea House Restaurant, located on Arlington Ridge Road, opened in 1920 and remained there until 1963 when it was demolished to make room for a high-rise apartment building.
During its heyday, many famous people ate at the restaurant, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Known for its lovely gardens and views, it was also one of the first places in Arlington where racially mixed groups could meet.
Gertrude Crocker, who started the restaurant, was active in women’s issues throughout her life and started the restaurant so she could be independent and her own “boss.” When Mrs. Crocker leased, and later sold, the business to Gertrude Allison, it became known for a period as Allison’s Little Tea House.
The Virginia Room’s Oral History Project includes an interview with Ellen C. Puterbaugh, daughter of Gertrude Crocker, and the Arlington Community Archives has a photograph collection, PG 215, of images of the Little Tea House dating primarily from the 1920s.
What About You?
Do you remember the Little Tea House? Did you ever eat there? Let us know what you remember!
Mary loflin Merritt says
I can still see the quaint little “Teahouse” overlooking a grand vista of the city of Washington . As a high school student in the 50’s, I often joined my mother there for lunch during the spring and summer. I remember fondly walking on the green grass; the wonderful beauty and fragrance of flowers ,and smells of good food filling the senses-
I first learned what a “smorgasbord” was,as my mother and I and many of her peers from the Pentagon circled the wonderful layout on the terrace and then proceeded to nearby tables. That wonderful place had the feeling of a lovely home,except it was always overflowing with an abundance of patrons eager to enjoy the warm hospitality and exquisite cuisine.
The ambience was totally unique: blue skies,white fluffy clouds, birds singing, warm breezes — an idyllic setting situated on a pinnacle providing a glorious panorama.
I will always be glad that it is tucked away in my repertoire of favorite memories!