Un/Common Places

This ongoing series features places attached to personal stories we hope will distinguish them as "uncommon places" that help us better understand Arlington County's history and cultural diversity, and perhaps heighten recognition of the importance of place in all our lives.  Some of the qualities that make a place "uncommon" are historic value, longstanding use, aesthetic value, public spaces that facilitage congregation, neighborhood enhancement including qualities that contribute to local character or that may act as landmarks.


A Neighborhood Enhancement Contributing to Local Character
Group Houses in Arlington

The tearing down of the "Kansas Street" group house marks the end of an era of group houses in Arlington. There was a great community of group houses starting in the 1980s, and "Kansas Street" could be the last of that era.

A Place of Longstanding Use
Virginia Hardware

Virginia Hardware was a part of Arlington since 1924. Harry Goldman operated the business in Rosslyn then, but moved to Clarendon in 1963. In 1985, Harry's son Allen hired 16 year old Rick Iglesias...

A Place of Longstanding Use/A Neighborhood Enhancement
The Weenie Beenie

Washington, DC has the Chili Bowl, Baltimore has the eateries at Lexington Market, but Arlington has the Weenie Beenie Sandwich Shop...

A Place of Longstanding Use
Judson's Shoe Repair

Judson Bowman began his career at Shoe Repair in 1959 as assistant to the former proprietor Zimmie Bradley. He bought the business from Mr. Bradley's estate in 1996...

A Neighborhood Enhancement
In the Beginning it was Vinyl...Orpheus Records

Before ipods, before cd's, before cassettes -- and yes, before 8-tracks -- there were VINYL long-playing records...

A Place of Aesthetic Value
Bob Peck Chevrolet

The Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and Glebe Road was one of Arlington's most recognizable structures. The transparent circular auto showroom...

A neighborhood enhancement? Definitely it was a landmark.
It Happened at Sears

Back in 1992, the building at 2801 Clarendon Boulevard that now houses the Clarendon Education Center was Arlington's Sears department store. The building was originally constructed in 1942.

A Place of Historic Value
The "Deep Throat" Parking Garage

Built in 1964, Rosslyn's Oakhill office building towers over what may arguably be Arlington's most enigmatic Uncommon Place: parking space 32D.

A Place of Aesthetic Value (if only for one day)
Guatemalan Alfombra, Good Friday, 2007

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Falls Church played host to its annual Good Friday processional and mass on the evening of Friday, April 6. These recreations of the last moments leading to the crucifixion take place...

A Neighborhood Enhancement
T.A. Sullivan & Sons, Monuments

Along Washington Boulevard, in a commercially booming part of Clarendon where buildings are mostly 10 stories high, many drivers find that something that bears further investigation is a tiny one-story beige house with brown trim, surrounded by hundreds of gravestones...

A Place of Historic Value
The Lustron Houses

"The house of tomorrow" is now on the endangered species list: once there were eleven and now there are five -- as Arlington's inventory of Lustron houses continues to dwindle. All the Lustrons in Arlington were built in 1949...

A Place of Historic Value
Dunbar Homes

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Mutual Homes Association -- that was the name eventually given to this settlement of row houses positioned along the hill at the eastern end of Kemper Road in Arlington. Originally built by the U.S. government to house war program workers and returning veterans of World War II...