Arlington County, Virginia "Alexandria County" and "Alexandria County, Virginia" redirect here. For the city of Alexandria, Virginia, see Alexandria, Virginia
In 2019, the county's population was estimated at 236,842,
making Arlington the sixth-largest county in Virginia by population
; if it were incorporated as a city, Arlington would be the fourth most populous city in the state. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2
), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county
in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, it has no incorporated towns within its borders. It is the 5th highest-income county
in the U.S. by median family income,
and is the 11th most densely populated county in the United States.
The area that now constitutes Arlington County was originally part of Fairfax County
in the Colony of Virginia
. Land grants from the British monarch were awarded to prominent Englishmen in exchange for political favors and efforts at development. One of the grantees was Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
, who lends his name to both Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax
. The county's name "Arlington" comes via Henry Bennet
, Earl of Arlington
, a Plantation
along the Potomac River, and Arlington House
, the family residence on that property. George Washington Parke Custis
, grandson of First Lady Martha Washington
, acquired this land in 1802. The estate was eventually passed down to Mary Anna Custis Lee
, wife of General Robert E. Lee
The property later became Arlington National Cemetery
during the American Civil War
, and eventually lent its name to present-day Arlington County.
Alexandria County, District of Columbia (D.C.)
The area that now contains almost all of Arlington County was ceded to the new United States federal government by Virginia, along with most of what is now the city of Alexandria. With the passage of the Residence Act
in 1790, Congress approved a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River
, the exact area to be selected by U.S. President George Washington
. The Residence Act originally only allowed the President to select a location within Maryland as far east as what is now the Anacostia River
. However, President Washington shifted the federal territory's borders to the southeast in order to include the existing town of Alexandria at the District's southern tip.
Map of the District of Columbia in 1835, prior to the retrocession of Alexandria County
In 1791, Congress, at Washington's request, amended the Residence Act to approve the new site, including the territory ceded by Virginia.
However, this amendment to the Residence Act specifically prohibited the "erection of the public buildings otherwise than on the Maryland side of the River Potomac."
As permitted by the United States Constitution
, the initial shape of the federal district was a square, measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2
). During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott
and several assistants placed boundary stones
at every mile point. Fourteen of these markers were in Virginia and many of the stones are still standing.
When Congress arrived in the new capital, they passed the Organic Act of 1801
to officially organize the District of Columbia and placed the entire federal territory, including the cities of Washington, Georgetown
, and Alexandria
, under the exclusive control of Congress. Further, the territory within the District was organized into two counties: the County of Washington
to the east of the Potomac and the County of Alexandria to the west. It included almost all of the present Arlington County, plus part of what is now the independent city
This Act formally established the borders of the area that would eventually become Arlington but the citizens located in the District were no longer considered residents of Maryland or Virginia, thus ending their representation in Congress.
Residents of Alexandria County had expected the federal capital's location to result in higher land prices and the growth of commerce.[when?]
Instead the county found itself struggling to compete with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
at the port of Georgetown
, which was farther inland and on the northern side of the Potomac River next to the city of Washington.
Members of Congress from other areas of Virginia also used their power to prohibit funding for projects, such as the Alexandria Canal
, which would have increased competition with their home districts. In addition, Congress had prohibited the federal government from establishing any offices in Alexandria, which made the county less important to the functioning of the national government.
Alexandria had also been an important center of the slave trade
(see Franklin and Armfield Office
). Rumors circulated that abolitionists
in Congress were attempting to end slavery in the District; such an action would have further depressed Alexandria's slavery-based economy.
At the same time, an active abolitionist movement arose in Virginia that created a division on the question of slavery in the Virginia General Assembly. Pro-slavery Virginians recognized that if Alexandria were returned to Virginia, it could provide two new representatives who favored slavery in the state legislature. During the American Civil War, this division led to the formation of the state of West Virginia
, which comprised by what was then 51 counties in the northwest that favored abolitionism.
Largely as a result of the economic neglect by Congress, divisions over slavery, and the lack of voting rights for the residents of the District, a movement grew to return Alexandria to Virginia from the District of Columbia. From 1840 to 1846, Alexandrians petitioned Congress and the Virginia legislature to approve this transfer known as retrocession
. On February 3, 1846, the Virginia General Assembly agreed to accept the retrocession of Alexandria if Congress approved. Following additional lobbying by Alexandrians, Congress passed legislation on July 9, 1846
, to return all the District's territory south of the Potomac River back to Virginia, pursuant to a referendum; President James K. Polk
signed the legislation the next day. A referendum on retrocession was held on September 1–2, 1846. The voters in the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116, while those in the rest of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29. Pursuant to the referendum, President Polk issued a proclamation of transfer on September 7, 1846. However, the Virginia legislature did not immediately accept the retrocession offer. Virginia legislators were concerned that the people of Alexandria County had not been properly included in the retrocession proceedings. After months of debate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to formally accept the retrocession legislation on March 13, 1847.
In 1852, the Virginia legislature voted to incorporate a portion of Alexandria County to make the City of Alexandria, which until then had been administered only as an unincorporated town within the political boundaries of Alexandria County.
Arlington National Cemetery sits on land confiscated from Confederate General Robert E. Lee
During the American Civil War
, Virginia seceded from the Union as a result of a statewide referendum held on May 23, 1861; the voters from Alexandria County approved secession by a vote of 958–48. This vote indicates the degree to which its only town, Alexandria, was pro-secession and pro-Confederate. The rural county residents outside the city were Union loyalists and voted against secession.
Although Virginia was part of the Confederacy, the Confederacy did not control all of northern Virginia. In 1862, the United States Congress
passed a law that some claimed had required that owners of property in those districts in which the "insurrection" existed were to pay their real estate taxes in person.
In 1864, during the war, the federal government confiscated the Abingdon
estate, which was located on and near the present Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
, when its owner failed to pay the estate's property tax in person because he was serving in the Confederate Army
The government then sold the property at auction, whereupon the purchaser leased the property to a third party.
The property containing the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
's family at and around Arlington House
was subjected to an appraisal of $26,810, on which a tax of $92.07 was assessed. However, Lee's wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee
, the owner of the property, did not pay this tax in person.
As a result of the 1862 law, the Federal government confiscated the property and made it into a military cemetery.
After the war ended and after the death of his parents, George Washington Custis Lee
, the Lees' eldest son, initiated a legal action in an attempt to recover the property.
In December 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the federal government had illegally confiscated the property without due process and returned the property to Custis Lee while citing the Court's earlier ruling in the Hunter case.
In 1883, the U.S. Congress purchased the property from Lee for its fair market value of $150,000, whereupon the property became a military reservation and eventually Arlington National Cemetery
. Although Arlington House is within the National Cemetery, the National Park Service
presently administers the House and its grounds as a memorial to Robert E. Lee.
Confederate incursions from Falls Church, Minor's Hill
and Upton's Hill
—then securely in Confederate hands—occurred as far east as the present-day area of Ballston
. On August 17, 1861, an armed force of 600 Confederate soldiers engaged the 23rd New York Infantry near that crossroads, killing one. Another large incursion on August 27 involved between 600 and 800 Confederate soldiers, which clashed with Union soldiers at Ball's Crossroads, Hall's Hill, and along the modern-day border between the City of Falls Church and Arlington. A number of soldiers on both sides were killed. However, the territory in present-day Arlington was never successfully captured by Confederate forces.
Separation from Alexandria
1878 map of Alexandria County, now (with the removal of Alexandria City) Arlington County
In 1896, an electric trolley line was built from Washington through Ballston, which led to growth in the county (see Northern Virginia trolleys
The former Arlington County seal, used from June 1983 to May 2007
In 1920, the Virginia legislature renamed the area Arlington County to avoid confusion with the City of Alexandria which had become an independent city
in 1870 under the new Virginia Constitution adopted after the Civil War.
In the 1930s, Hoover Field
was established on the present site of the Pentagon; in that decade, Buckingham, Colonial Village, and other apartment communities also opened. World War II brought a boom to the county, but one that could not be met by new construction due to rationing imposed by the war effort.
In October 1942, not a single rental unit was available in the county.
On October 1, 1949, the University of Virginia
created an extension center in the county named Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia. This campus was subsequently renamed University College, then the Northern Virginia Branch of the University of Virginia, thereafter, the George Mason College of the University of Virginia, until it was finally designated George Mason University
, which it remains today.
The Henry G. Shirley
Highway (now Interstate 395
) was constructed during World War II, along with adjacent developments such as Shirlington
, and Parkfairfax
In February 1959, Arlington County Schools desegregated
racially at Stratford Junior High School (now Dorothy Hamm) with the admission of black pupils Donald Deskins, Michael Jones, Lance Newman, and Gloria Thompson. The U.S. Supreme Court
's ruling in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
, Kansas had struck down the previous ruling on racial segregation Plessy v. Ferguson
that held that facilities could be racially "separate but equal." Brown v. Board of Education
ruled that "racially separate educational facilities were inherently unequal." The elected Arlington County School Board presumed that the state would defer to localities and in January 1956 announced plans to integrate Arlington schools. The state responded by suspending the county's right to an elected school board. The Arlington County Board, the ruling body for the county, appointed conservatives to the school board and blocked plans for desegregation. Lawyers for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) filed suit on behalf of a group of parents of both white and black students to end segregation. Black pupils were still denied admission to white schools, but the lawsuit went before the U.S. District Court, which ruled that Arlington schools were to be desegregated by the 1958–59 academic year. In January 1959 both the U.S. District Court and the Virginia Supreme Court had ruled against Virginia's massive resistance
movement, which opposed racial integration.
The Arlington County Central Library's collections include written materials as well as accounts in its Oral History Project of the desegregation struggle in the county.
Arlington during the 1960s was undergoing tremendous change after the huge influx of newcomers in the 1950s. M.T. Broyhill & Sons Corporation
was at the forefront of building the new communities for these newcomers, which would lead to the election of Joel Broyhill
as the representative of Virginia's 10th congressional district
for 11 terms.
The old commercial districts did not have ample off-street parking and many shoppers were taking their business to new commercial centers, such as Parkington and Seven Corners. Suburbs further out in Virginia and Maryland were expanding, and Arlington's main commercial center in Clarendon was declining, similar to what happened in other downtown centers. With the growth of these other suburbs, some planners and politicians pushed for highway expansion. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 would have enabled that expansion in Arlington. However, the administrator of the National Capital Transportation Agency, economist C. Darwin Stolzenbach, saw the benefits of rapid transit for the region and oversaw plans for a below ground rapid transit system, now the Washington Metro
, which included two lines in Arlington. Initial plans called for what became the Orange Line to parallel I-66, which would have mainly benefited Fairfax County. Arlington County officials called for the stations in Arlington to be placed along the decaying commercial corridor between Rosslyn and Ballston that included Clarendon. A new regional transportation planning entity was formed, the Washington, Metropolitan Transit Authority. Arlington officials renewed their push for a route that benefited the commercial corridor along Wilson Boulevard, which prevailed. There were neighborhood concerns that there would be high-density development along the corridor that would disrupt the character of old neighborhoods. With the population in the county declining, political leaders saw economic development as a long-range benefit. Citizen input and county planners came up with a workable compromise, with some limits on development. The two lines in Arlington were inaugurated in 1977. The Orange Line's creation was more problematic than the Blue Line's. The Blue Line served the Pentagon and National Airport and boosted the commercial development of Crystal City and Pentagon City. Property values along the Metro lines increased significantly for both residential and commercial property. The ensuing gentrification caused the mostly working and lower middle class white Southern residents to either be priced out of rent or in some cases sell their homes. This permanently changed the character of the city, and ultimately resulted in the virtual eradication of this group over the coming 30 years, being replaced with an increasing presence of a white-collar transplant population mostly of Northern stock. While a population of white-collar government transplant workers had always been present in the county, particularly in its far northern areas and in Lyon Village, the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s saw the complete dominance of this group over the majority of Arlington's residential neighborhoods, and mostly economically eliminated the former working-class residents of areas such as Cherrydale, Lyon Park, Rosslyn, Virginia Square, Claremont, and Arlington Forest, among other neighborhoods. The transformation of Clarendon is particularly striking, with its transformation from a downtown shopping area, ensuing decay, home to a vibrant Vietnamese business community in the 1970s and 1980s known as Little Saigon
, and has now been significantly gentrified - its former Vietnamese population barely visible save for several holdout businesses. Arlington's careful planning for the Metro has transformed the county and has become a model revitalization for older suburbs.
In 1965, after years of negotiations, Arlington swapped some land in the south end with the city Alexandria, though less than originally planned. The land was located along King Street and Four Mile Run. The swap allowed the two jurisdictions to straighten out the boundary and allow highway and sewer projects to go forward. It moved into Arlington several acres of land to the south of the old county line that had not been a part of the District of Columbia.
Arlington, regarded as a model of smart growth
, has experienced explosive growth in the early 21st century.
Jurisdictions South and West of Washington, DC
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 26.1 square miles (67.6 km2
), of which 26.0 square miles (67.3 km2
) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2
) (0.4%) is water.
It is the smallest county by area in Virginia and is the smallest
self-governing county in the United States.
About 4.6 square miles (11.9 km2
) of the county is federal property. The county courthouse and most government offices are located in the Courthouse
In 2002, Arlington received the EPA
's National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for "Overall Excellence in Smart Growth
In 2005, the County implemented an affordable housing ordinance that requires most developers to contribute significant affordable housing resources, either in units or through a cash contribution, in order to obtain the highest allowable amounts of increased building density in new development projects, most of which are planned near Metrorail station areas.
A number of the county's residential neighborhoods and larger garden-style apartment complexes are listed in the National Register of Historic Places
and/or designated under the County government's zoning ordinance as local historic preservation districts
These include Arlington Village, Arlington Forest, Ashton Heights, Buckingham, Cherrydale, Claremont, Colonial Village, Fairlington
, Lyon Park, Lyon Village, Maywood, Nauck
, Penrose, Waverly Hills and Westover.
Many of Arlington County's neighborhoods participate in the Arlington County government's Neighborhood Conservation Program (NCP).
Each of these neighborhoods has a Neighborhood Conservation Plan that describes the neighborhood's characteristics, history and recommendations for capital improvement projects that the County government funds through the NCP.
Arlington ranks fourth in the nation, immediately after Washington, D.C.
, itself, for park access and quality in the 2018 ParkScore ranking of the top 100 park systems across the United States, according to the ranking methodologies of the nonpartisan Trust for Public Land
As of the 2010 census,
there were 207,627 people, 98,050 households, and 41,607 families residing in Arlington. The population density was 8,853 people per square mile, the second highest of any county in Virginia.
According to the US Census, the racial makeup of the county in 2012 was 63.8% Non-Hispanic white
, 8.9% Non-Hispanic Black or African American
, 0.8% Non-Hispanic Native American
, 9.9% Non-Hispanic 2.3% Asian
, 0.1% Pacific Islander
, 0.29% Non-Hispanic other races
, 3.0% Non-Hispanics reporting two or more races
. 15.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino
of any race (3.4% Salvadoran, 2.0% Bolivian, 1.7% Mexican, 1.5% Guatemalan, 0.8% Puerto Rican, 0.7% Peruvian, 0.6% Colombian). 28% of Arlington residents were foreign-born as of 2000.
Low-rise residential structures help make up the real estate inventory in Arlington.
There were 86,352 households, out of which 19.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.30% were married couples living together, 7.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.50% were non-families. 40.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.96.
Families headed by single parents were the lowest in the DC area, under 6%, as estimated by the Census Bureau for the years 2006–2008. For the same years, the percentage of people estimated to be living alone was the third highest in the DC area, at 45%.
In 2009, Arlington was highest in the Washington DC Metropolitan area for the percentage of people who were single – 70.9%. 14.3% were married. 14.8% had families.
In 2014 Arlington had the 2nd highest concentration of roommates after San Francisco
among the 50 largest U.S. cities.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the county was $94,876, and the median income for a family was $127,179.
Males had a median income of $51,011 versus $41,552 for females. The per capita income for the county was $37,706. About 5.00% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line
, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 7.00% of those age 65 or over.
The age distribution was 16.50% under 18, 10.40% from 18 to 24, 42.40% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 9.40% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.70 males.
ranked Arlington as the most educated city in 2006 with 35.7% of residents having held graduate degrees
. Along with five other counties in Northern Virginia
, Arlington ranked among the twenty American counties with the highest median household income
In 2009, the county was second in the nation (after nearby Loudoun County
) for the percentage of people ages 25–34 earning over $100,000 annually (8.82% of the population).
In August 2011, CNN Money
ranked Arlington seventh in the country in its listing of "Best Places for the Rich and Single."
In 2008, 20.3% of the population did not have medical health insurance.
In 2010, AIDS prevalence was 341.5 per 100,000 population. This was eight times the rate of nearby Loudoun County and one-quarter the rate of the District of Columbia.
Crime statistics for 2009 included the report of 2 homicides, 15 forcible rapes, 149 robberies, 145 incidents of or aggravated assault, 319 burglaries, 4,140 incidents of larceny, and 297 reports of vehicle theft. This was a reduction in all categories from the previous year.
According to a 2016 study by Bankrate.com, Arlington is the best place to retire, with nearby Alexandria
coming in at second place. Criteria of the study included cost of living, rates of violent and property crimes, walkability, health care quality, state and local tax rates, weather, local culture and well-being for senior citizens.
Government and politics
The county is governed by a five-person County Board; members are elected at-large on staggered four-year terms. They appoint a county manager
, who is the chief executive of the County Government. Like all Virginia counties
, Arlington has five elected constitutional officers: a clerk of court, a commissioner of revenue, a commonwealth's attorney
, a sheriff, and a treasurer. The budget for the fiscal year 2009 was $1.177 billion.
For the last two decades, Arlington has been a Democratic
stronghold at nearly all levels of government.
However, during a special election in April 2014, a Republican running as an independent, John Vihstadt, captured a County Board seat, defeating Democrat Alan Howze 57% to 41%; he became the first non-Democratic board member in fifteen years.
This was in large part a voter response to plans to raise property taxes to fund several large projects, including a streetcar and an aquatics center. County Board Member Libby Garvey, in April 2014, resigned from the Arlington Democratic Committee after supporting Vihstadt's campaign over Ferranti's.
Eight months later, in November's general election, Vihstadt won a full term; winning by 56% to 44%.
This is the first time since 1983 that a non-Democrat won a County Board general election.
Under Virginia law, the only municipalities that may be contained within counties are incorporated towns
; incorporated cities
are independent of any county. Arlington, despite its population density and largely urban character, is wholly unincorporated with no towns inside its borders. In the 1920s, a group of citizens petitioned the state courts
to incorporate the Clarendon
neighborhood as a town, but this was rejected; the Supreme Court of Virginia
held, in Bennett v. Garrett
(1922), that Arlington constituted a "continuous, contiguous, and homogeneous community" that should not be subdivided through incorporation.
Current state law would prohibit the incorporation of any towns within the county because the county's population density exceeds 200 persons per square mile.
In 2017, then-county board chairman Jay Fisette
suggested that the county as a whole should incorporate as an independent city.
State and federal elections
In the Virginia State Senate, Arlington is split between the 30th, 31st, and 32nd districts, represented by Adam Ebbin
, Barbara Favola
, and Janet Howell
, respectively. In the Virginia House of Delegates, Arlington is divided between the 45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th districts, represented by Mark Levine
, Patrick Hope
, Rip Sullivan
, and Alfonso Lopez
, respectively. All are Democrats.
At the presidential level, Arlington was once a fairly reliable GOP stronghold, supporting the Republican candidate in all but two elections from 1944 to 1980. However, in 1984, Democrat Walter Mondale
carried the county by a narrow margin, despite Republican Ronald Reagan
's electoral landslide nationally. It has gone Democratic in every presidential election since then. In fact, in 2016, Republican nominee Donald Trump
received the fewest raw votes of a major-party candidate in the county since Adlai Stevenson II
in 1956, in addition to receiving the lowest proportion of Arlington's vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate in the past century. Arlington is part of Virginia's 8th congressional district
, represented by Democrat Don Beyer
Presidential election results
Presidential election results
Senatorial election results
Gubernatorial election results
Arlington has consistently had the lowest unemployment rate of any jurisdiction in Virginia.
The unemployment rate in Arlington was 4.2% in August 2009.
60% of office space in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is leased to government agencies and government contractors.
There were an estimated 205,300 jobs in the county in 2008. About 28.7% of these were with the federal, state or local government; 19.1% technical and professional; 28.9% accommodation, food and other services.
In October 2008, BusinessWeek
ranked Arlington as the safest city in which to weather a recession, with a 49.4% share of jobs in "strong industries".
In October 2009, during the economic downturn
, the unemployment in the county reached 4.2%. This was the lowest in the state, which averaged 6.6% for the same time period, and among the lowest in the nation, which averaged 9.5% for the same time.
In 2018, there were an estimated 114,700 housing units in the county.
In 2010, there were an estimated 90,842 residences in the county.
In 2019, the median home was worth $610,000.
4,721 houses, about 10% of all stand-alone homes, were worth $1 million or more. By comparison, in 2000, the median single family home price was $262,400. About 123 homes were worth $1 million or more.
In 2010, there were 0.9 percent of the homes in foreclosure. This was the lowest rate in the DC area.
14% of the 146,412 people working in Arlington live in the county, while 86% commute in, with 27% commuting from Fairfax County
. An additional 92,784 people commute out for work, with 42% commuting to DC, and 29% commuting to Fairfax County.
A number of federal agencies are headquartered in Arlington, including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research
, American Battle Monuments Commission
, Diplomatic Security Service
, Drug Enforcement Administration
, Foreign Service Institute
, the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate
, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
, Office of Naval Research
, Transportation Security Administration
, United States Department of Defense
, United States Marshals Service
, the United States Trade and Development Agency
, and the U.S. AbilityOne Commission
Companies and organizations
Companies headquartered in Arlington include AES
, Alcalde and Fay
, Arlington Asset Investment
, AvalonBay Communities
, Corporate Executive Board
, ENVIRON International Corporation
, ESI International
, FBR Capital Markets
, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
, Pacific Architects and Engineers
, Rosetta Stone
, and Nestlé
Organizations located here include the American Institute in Taiwan
, Army Emergency Relief
, Associated General Contractors
, The Conservation Fund
, Conservation International
, the Consumer Electronics Association
, The Fellowship
, the Feminist Majority Foundation
, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
, The Nature Conservancy
, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
, the Public Broadcasting Service
, United Service Organizations
, and the US-Taiwan Business Council
Virginia Hospital Center, the eighth largest employer in Arlington County
According to the County's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,
the top employers in the county are:
Arlington has been recognized as a strong incubator for start-up businesses, with a number of public/private incubators and resources dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the county.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington House was named after the Custis family's homestead on Virginia's Eastern Shore. It is associated with the families of Washington, Custis, and Lee. Begun in 1802 and completed in 1817, it was built by George Washington Parke Custis
. After his father died, young Custis was raised by his grandmother and her second husband, the first US President George Washington
, at Mount Vernon
. Custis, a far-sighted agricultural pioneer, painter, playwright, and orator, was interested in perpetuating the memory and principles of George Washington. His house became a "treasury" of Washington heirlooms.
In 1804, Custis married Mary Lee Fitzhugh
. Their only child to survive infancy was Mary Anna Randolph Custis, born in 1808. Young Robert E. Lee, whose mother was a cousin of Mrs. Custis, frequently visited Arlington. Two years after graduating from West Point
, Lieutenant Lee married Mary Custis at Arlington on June 30, 1831. For 30 years, Arlington House was home to the Lees. They spent much of their married life traveling between U.S. Army
duty stations and Arlington, where six of their seven children were born. They shared this home with Mary's parents, the Custis family.
When George Washington Parke Custis died in 1857, he left the Arlington estate to Mrs. Lee for her lifetime and afterward to the Lees' eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee
The U.S. government confiscated Arlington House and 200 acres (81 ha) of ground immediately from the wife of General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. The government designated the grounds as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864, by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
. In 1882, after many years in the lower courts, the matter of the ownership of Arlington National Cemetery was brought before the United States Supreme Court
. The Court decided that the property rightfully belonged to the Lee family. The United States Congress
then appropriated the sum of $150,000 for the purchase of the property from the Lee family.
Veterans from all the nation's wars are buried in the cemetery, from the American Revolution
through the military actions in Afghanistan
. Pre-Civil War dead were re-interred after 1900.
The building is pentagon
-shaped and houses about 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel. It has five floors and each floor has five ring corridors. The Pentagon's principal law enforcement arm is the United States Pentagon Police
, the agency that protects the Pentagon and various other DoD jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region.
Built during the early years of World War II
, it is still thought of as one of the most efficient office buildings in the world. It has 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors, yet it takes only seven minutes or so to walk between any two points in the building.
It was built from 680,000 short tons (620,000 t) of sand and gravel dredged from the nearby Potomac River
that were processed into 435,000 cubic yards (330,000 m³) of concrete and molded into the pentagon shape. Very little steel was used in its design due to the needs of the war effort.
The open-air central plaza in the Pentagon is the world's largest "no-salute, no-cover" area (where U.S. servicemembers need not wear hats nor salute). The snack bar in the center is informally known as the Ground Zero Cafe
, a nickname originating during the Cold War
when the Pentagon was targeted by Soviet nuclear missiles
I-395 southbound in Arlington, near the Pentagon
Streets and roads
The street names in Arlington generally follow a unified countywide convention. The north-south streets are generally alphabetical, starting with one-syllable names, then two-, three- and four-syllable names. The first alphabetical street is Ball Street. The last is Arizona. Many east-west streets are numbered. Route 50 divides Arlington County. Streets are generally labeled North above Route 50, and South below.
Forty percent of Virginia's transit trips begin or end in Arlington, with the vast majority originating from Washington Metro
Arlington is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
(WMATA or Metro), the regional transit agency covering parts of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Arlington has stations on the Orange
, and Silver
lines of the Washington Metro
rail system. The Metro stations in Arlington are the only stations outside of Washington, D.C., where the system's original Brutalist architecture
can be found.
Arlington is also served by WMATA's regional Metrobus
service. This includes Metroway
, the first bus rapid transit
(BRT) in the D.C. area, a joint project between WMATA, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria, with wait times similar to those of Metro trains. Metroway began service in August 2014.
Arlington also operates its own county bus system, Arlington Transit
(ART), which supplements Metrobus service with in-county routes and connections to the rail system.
In 2007, the county authorized EnviroCAB
, a new taxi company, to operate exclusively with a hybrid-electric
fleet of 50 vehicles and also issued permits for existing companies to add 35 hybrid cabs to their fleets. As operations began in 2008, EnvironCab became the first all-hybrid taxicab fleet in the United States, and the company not only offset the emissions generated by its fleet of hybrids, but also the equivalent emissions of 100 non-hybrid taxis in service in the metropolitan area.
taxi expansion was part of a county campaign known as Fresh AIRE, or Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions, that aimed to cut production of greenhouse gases
from county buildings and vehicles by 10 percent by 2012.
Arlington has a higher than average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 13.4 percent of Arlington households lacked a car, and dropped slightly to 12.7 percent in 2016. The national average is 8.7 percent in 2016. Arlington averaged 1.40 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.
Arlington Public Schools
operates the county's public K-12 education system of 22 elementary schools; 6 middle schools (Dorothy Hamm Middle School
, Gunston Middle School
, Kenmore Middle School
, Swanson Middle School
, Thomas Jefferson Middle School
, and Williamsburg Middle School
); and 3 public high schools (Wakefield High School
, Washington-Liberty High School
(formerly Washington-Lee), and Yorktown High School
). H-B Woodlawn
and Arlington Tech
are alternative public schools. Arlington County spends about half of its local revenues on education. For the FY2013 budget, 83 percent of funding was from local revenues, and 12 percent from the state. Per pupil expenditures are expected to average $18,700, well above its neighbors, Fairfax County ($13,600) and Montgomery County ($14,900).
Arlington has an elected five-person school board whose members are elected to four-year terms. Virginia law does not permit political parties to place school board candidates on the ballot.
Through an agreement with Fairfax County
Public Schools approved by the school board in 1999, up to 26 students residing in Arlington per grade level may be enrolled at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
at a cost to Arlington of approximately $8,000 per student. For the first time in 2006, more students (36) were offered admission in the selective high school than allowed by the previously established enrollment cap.
is the only university with its main campus located in Arlington. Founded in 1950 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
as Marymount College of Virginia, both its main campus and its Ballston Center are located on North Glebe Road, with a shuttle service connecting the two.
In June 2011, Virginia Tech
opened the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington in Ballston
, providing a teaching and research base for graduate students in computer research and engineering to interact with organizations and research agencies in the National Capital area.
Arlington Sister City Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Arlington County, Virginia. ASCA works to enhance and promote the region’s international profile and foster productive exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts through a series of activities. Established in 1993, ASCA supports and coordinates the activities of Arlington County’s five sister cities
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- ^ Jim Morrison:
Robert E. Lee:
George S. Patton, Jr.:
Aldrich Hazen Ames:
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