By 1941, the last of the property where the USDA's Experimental Farm had been located (at the northeast tip of Arlington) was transferred to the War Department for use in the National Defense Program.
In 1943, the United States Government transformed that land into war residences for female civil servants and service members during World War II. Six of the ten dorms were reserved for civilians and government employees, while the remaining four were for military servicewomen.
Most of the women living at Arlington Farms worked at the Pentagon, the Navy Annex, or Arlington Hall Station, the headquarters of the Army’s Signal Intelligence Service. During World War II, women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers—accounting for approximately 40% of the workforce between 1940 and 1945.
Arlington Farms was nicknamed “Girl Town” and was a popular spot for soldiers and sailors stationed at nearby bases. In addition to the department store, beauty shop and recreation hall picture in the photographs above, Arlington Farms also had a chapel, a post office, and a cafeteria.
The complex’s buildings were demolished in the 1960s and today Arlington National Cemetery occupies the land.
To see more items like these, or to learn more about Arlington's history, visit the Center for Local History on the first floor of the Central Library.
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