Arlington has long been home to many flourishing small businesses, including the original Murphy & Ames lumber and hardware company:
Located in Rosslyn from 1908 to the 1960s, Murphy & Ames became known as a prominent company in the County. In 1951 a fire consumed their Rosslyn flagship store, but the devastation did not deter then President, W.P. Ames, Sr. He quickly rebuilt and expanded the company’s service offerings, even adding a new location in Falls Church.
The company’s goal was to serve Arlington County’s (and the surrounding communities) changing landscape and building needs. With the 1950s and 1960s housing boom, Murphy & Ames began to offer additional services, such as having an expert millwork craftsmen on-hand, and the company worked diligently to attend and serve Arlington’s ever-growing and ever-changing population.
By the early-to-mid 1960s, Murphy & Ames had expanded to Fairfax and Herndon thanks to the opening of I-66. Now with four stores in full operation, W.P. Ames made the decision to close and ultimately tear down his Rosslyn store. A ten-story office building was built on the former site, and with the continual decline of residential growth in Rosslyn, the area became an urban hub for office spaces through the remaining decades of the 20th Century.
To learn more about Murphy & Ames, or Arlington’s diverse history, visit the Center for Local History located on the 1st floor of Central Library.