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Arlington County is a county of about 210,000 residents in the Commonwealth of Virginiamarker. It is located directly across the Potomac River to the southwest of Washington, D.C.marker Formerly part of the District of Columbiamarker, the land now composing the county was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846, in an act of Congress that took effect in 1847. It was called Alexandria County from that date until March 16, 1920, when an act of the General Assembly changed its name to Arlington County.

Despite being organized politically as a "county" in Virginia, it is considered a Central City of the Washington Metropolitan Area by the Census Bureau, along with the adjacent cities of Washington and Alexandria, Virginiamarker. At a land area of , it is geographically the smallest self-governing county in the United States.

In 2005 Arlington was ranked first among walkable cities in the United States by the American Podiatric Medical Association. CNN Money ranked Arlington as the most educated city in 2006 with 35.7% of residents having held graduate degrees. 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 July 2009, CNN Money ranked Arlington second in the country in its listing of "Best Places for the Rich and Single." Along with five other Northern Virginia counties, Arlington ranked among the twenty U.S. counties with the highest median household income in 2006.

Arlington is the location of Arlington National Cemeterymarker, Reagan National Airportmarker, the Pentagonmarker, Fort Myermarker, the Pentagon Memorialmarker, the USMC War Memorialmarker, the Air Force Memorialmarker, and numerous other monuments.


Colonial-era land grants, sources of names

Arlington County was within the very large area defined in several early British land grants in the colonial period in the Colony of Virginia (1607-1776) which was known as the Northern Neck of Virginia (not to be confused with a smaller eastern portion of it still known by that name in modern times).

Land grants, generally to prominent Englishmen, were various combinations of political favors and efforts at development. Perhaps the best known of the grantees was Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (Lord Fairfax), whose name is seen in many places in what is now known as Northern Virginia, notably Fairfax Countymarker and the independent city of Fairfaxmarker. Also notable among the land grants was one in 1673 from King Charles II to Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper (Lord Culpeper) and Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington (Earl of Arlington) whose names eventually were applied to several community features, and were the original source of the naming of Culpeper Countymarker and Arlington County.

The current Arlington County as it is now known in Virginia was the result of a renaming in 1920. The name of the 17th-century Earl of Arlington had been applied much earlier to a plantation on Virginia's eastern Shore, for which another plantation on the Potomac River was named. Much of the Potomac River plantation became Arlington National Cemeterymarker as a result of the American Civil War.

Boundaries and jurisdictions

Once part of Fairfax Countymarker in the Colony of Virginia, the area that contains Arlington County was ceded to the new U.S. government by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1791, the U.S. Congress formally established the limits of the federal territory that would be the nation's capital as a square of on a side, the maximum area permitted by Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution. However, the legislation (an amendment to the Residence Act of 1790) that established these limits specifically prohibited the "erection of the public buildings otherwise than on the Maryland side of the river Potomac.

During 1791 and 1792, Andrew Ellicott led a team of surveyors that determined the boundaries of the federal territory. The team placed along the boundaries forty markers that were approximately one mile from each other. Fourteen of these markers were in Virginia. Many of these still remain.

When Congress moved to the new District of Columbia in 1801, it enacted legislation (the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801) that divided the District into two counties: (1) the county of Washington, which lay on the east side of the Potomac River, and (2) the county of Alexandriamarker, which lay on the west side of the River.Sixth Congress, Session II, Chapter XV (An Act concerning the District of Columbia), Section 2 (Stat. II, Feb. 27, 1801) (United States Statutes at Large, Vol. II, p. 103); Alexandria County contained the present area of Arlington County, then mostly rural, and the settled town of Alexandria (now "Old Town" Alexandria), a port located on the Potomac River in the southeastern part of the area of the present City of Alexandriamarker.

1878 map of Alexandria County, now Arlington County
Residents of Alexandria County had expected the federal capital's location would result in land sales and the growth of commerce. Instead the county found itself struggling to compete with the town of Georgetownmarker, a port located in Washington County adjacent to the capital city (Washington City).

As the federal government could not establish any offices in the County, and as the economically important Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) on the north side of the Potomac River favored Georgetown, Alexandria's economy stagnated. It didn't help that some Georgetown residents opposed federal efforts to maintain the Alexandria Canal, which connected the C&O Canal in Georgetown to Alexandria's port. Moreover, as residents of the District of Columbia, Alexandria's citizens had no representation in Congress and could not vote in federal elections.

The town of Alexandria had been a port and market for the slave trade. With growing talk of abolishing slavery in the nation's capital, some Alexandrians feared the local economy would suffer if the federal government took this step. At the same time, there arose in Virginia an active abolitionist movement that created a division on the question of slavery in Virginia's General Assemblymarker (subsequently, during the Civil War, Virginia's division on the slavery issue led to the formation of the state of West Virginiamarker by the most anti-slavery counties). Pro-slavery Virginians recognized that Alexandria County could provide two new representatives who favored slavery in the General Assembly if the County returned to the Commonwealth.

Largely as a result of these factors, a movement grew to separate Alexandria County from the District of Columbia. After a referendum, the county's residents petitioned the U.S. Congress and the Virginia legislature to permit the County to return to Virginia. The area was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846.

In 1852, the independent city of Alexandria was incorporated from a portion of Alexandria County. This led to occasional confusion, as the adjacent county and municipal entities continued to share the name of "Alexandria". In 1920, the Virginia General Assemblymarker renamed Alexandria Countymarker as "Arlington County", to honor Robert E. Lee and to end the ongoing confusion between Alexandria County and the independent city of Alexandria.

During the American Civil War, though Virginia was part of the Confederacy, their control did not extend to Northern Virginia and Arlington County. The Federal Congress passed a law in 1862 that those districts in which the insurrection persisted were to pay their real estate taxes "in person." The property of Robert E. Lee at Custis-Lee Mansionmarker was subjected to an appraisal of $26,810 on which a tax of $92.07 was assessed. The Lees could not pay this in person as they would be subject to arrest. It became confiscated by the US government as a result. After the war and the death of the Lees, the Supreme Court found this to be unconstitutional. The country paid their heir $150,000 for the property.. Today, this is a federally maintained historic site.

20th century and beyond

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.


Arlington County is surrounded by Fairfax Countymarker on the north, west and south. It is located at . It is adjacent along its southwest and southern borders to the City of Falls Churchmarker and the City of Alexandriamarker; and along the Potomac River north.Included in the county are several neighborhoods, or "urban villages" such as Crystal Citymarker, Rosslynmarker, Ballstonmarker, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Westover, and Shirlingtonmarker.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 26 square miles (67 km¬≤), of which about 4.6 square miles (12 km¬≤) is federal property. The county is roughly in the shape of a rectangle by , with the small end slanting in a northwest-southeast direction.As of January 1, 2008, the estimated population was 209,969, giving the county a population density of approximately 7,995 persons per square mile. All cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia are independent of counties, though towns may be incorporated within counties. Considering this, it is inaccurate to refer to Arlington County as a city. However, Arlington has no existing incorporated towns because Virginiamarker law prevents the creation of any new municipality within a county that has a population density greater than 1,000 persons per square mile. Its county seat is the census-designated place (CDP) of Arlington , which is coincident with the Census Boundary of Arlington County; however, the county courthouse and most governmental offices are located in the Courthousemarker neighborhood.


Residential high rises in Crystal City.
Courthouse Plaza in Courthouse.

There are numerous unincorporated neighborhoods within Arlington County that are commonly referred to by name as if they were distinct towns. The county characterizes some of these neighborhoods - particularly those located at Metrorail stations and other major transportation corridors - as "urban villages." These are usually centers with commercial activity. These include:

There are also numerous neighborhoods which are largely residential including:

  • Alcova Heights
  • Arlington Forest
  • Arlington Heights
  • Arlington Ridgemarker
  • Arlington View
  • Ashton Heights
  • Aurora Hills
  • Ballston Crossing
  • Barcroft
  • Bellevue Forest
  • Bluemont
  • Bonair
  • Boulevard Manor
  • Brandon Village
  • Buckingham
  • Cherrydalemarker
  • Claremont
  • Clarendon Center
  • Columbia Forest
  • Columbia Heights
  • Country Club Hills
  • Crescent Hills
  • Crystal Gateway
  • Dominion Hills
  • Donaldson Run
  • Douglas Park
  • East Falls Church
  • Fairlingtonmarker
  • Forest Hills
  • Glencarlyn
  • Halls Hill
  • High View Park/Halls Hill
  • Jackson Court
  • Lacey Forest
  • Lauderdale
  • Lee Heights
  • Lyon Park
  • Madison Manor
  • Maywood
  • New Dover
  • Nauck (Green Valley A.K.A The Valley)
  • Over Lee Knolls
  • Penrose
  • Prospect House
  • Randolph Square
  • Rivercrest
  • Shirlington Crest
  • Station Square
  • Tara
  • Waycroft-Woodlawn
  • Waverly Hills
  • Willet Heights
  • Williamsburg
  • Williamsburg Village
  • Yorktown

Arlington County includes a large selection of Sears Catalog Homes, which were offered between 1908 and 1940, Considered to be of exceptional quality, in modern times, these houses are sought after by many home buyers. As well, Arlington features some of the first and among the best examples of post-World War II garden style apartment complexes in the U.S., some of which were designed by architect Mihran Mesrobian. Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) is the dividing line in the county.

Neighborhood Historic Preservation Districts

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, Penrose, Waverly Hills and Westover.
Courtyard at Colonial Village, 1700 block of Rhodes Ave, Arlington, Virginia

Neighborhood Conservation Plans

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.

Postal areas

The three-digit zip code prefix 222 uniquely identifies Arlington. Delivery areas north of Arlington Boulevard have odd-numbered ZIP codes (22201, 22203, 22205, 22207, 22209, and 22213), while delivery areas south of Arlington Boulevard have even-numbered ZIP codes (22202, 22204, and 22206). ZIP codes that are assigned to post office boxes, large mailers, and military facilities do not always follow that rule.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Pentagon, both within the boundaries of Arlington County, are assigned with Washington, D.C., ZIP codes.

Lost town of Potomac

The incorporated town of Potomacmarker (1908-1930) was located in Arlington County. However, it was annexed by the adjacent City of Alexandria in 1930, and thus, joined the lost towns of Virginia. Although "lost" as a political subdivision, the former town of Potomac is now a historic district of the City of Alexandria, and includes 1,840 acres and 690 buildings. The Town of Potomac was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Areas in the present City of Alexandria in addition to the former Town of Potomac were added by annexations from both Arlington and Fairfax counties over the years. However, all of the present Arlington County was once part of the District of Columbia, thus providing the county's claim, not only to being the state's smallest county in land area, but also the only one in Virginia to have both left and rejoined the Commonwealth.


The Arlington County Planning Research and Analysis Team (PRAT) estimates the January 1, 2008 population at 206,800

As of the 2000 census , there were:
  • 189,453 people
  • 86,352 households,
  • and 39,290 families residing in Arlington.

The population density was 7,323 people per square mile (2,828/km¬≤), the highest of any county in Virginia. There were 90,426 housing units at an average density of 3,495/sq mi (1,350/km¬≤).

In 2008, the racial makeup of the county was estimated by the US Census to be 80.3% White. This included 15.1% Hispanic. Also, 9.35% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 8.62% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 8.33% from other races, and 4.34% from two or more races.

28% of Arlington residents were foreign-born.

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 was 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 percentage of people who were single - 70.9%. 14.3% were married. 14.8% had families.

In the county, the population was spread out with 16.50% under the age of 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 years of age 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.

In 2009, there were 131,626 active voters in the county.

Population history

  • 1960.....163,401
  • 1970.....174,284
  • 1980.....152,299
  • 1990.....170,936
  • 2000.....189,453
  • 2006.....200,226
  • 2007.....202,800 (estimated)

Arlington Economic Development maintains regional economic data and statistics.


Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the United States (the largest county-level jurisdiction being North Slope Boroughmarker, Alaskamarker).

The budget for fiscal year 2009 was $1.177 billion.

Arlington is governed by a five person County Board, whose members are elected at-large to staggered four year terms. They appoint a county manager, who is the chief executive of the County Government. Like all Virginia Counties, Arlington also has five elected constitutional officers: a sheriff, a clerk of court, a commonwealth's attorney, a treasurer, and a commissioner of the revenue. Starting in 1996, the County switched from an appointed School Board appointed by the County Board to an elected School Board.


In 2009, as the state was voting for the Republican candidate for governor, 59% to 41%, Arlington voted for the Democratic candidate 66% to 34%. Voter turnout was 42.78%.

Starting in 2008, for the first time in many years, all elected officials in Arlington were either nominated by, or, in the case of School Board members, endorsed by the Democratic Party. However, starting in the early 1980s, the Democratic Party was the predominant party in the County. The Republican Party controlled a School Board seat from 1999 until 2007, held a majority on the County Board from 1977 to 1982, and controlled at least one County Board seat until 1995 (and again briefly in 1999).

Arlington is governed or represented by three of the four openly gay elected officials in Virginia. Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette was the first in 1997. Adam Ebbin became the first openly gay Delegate in 2003. In 2006, School Board member Sally Baird became the first openly lesbian elected official in Virginia. (The fourth openly gay elected official is Councilman Paul Smedberg of the City of Alexandria Council.)

Position Name Party First Election Next Election
Chairman Barbara Favola Democratic Party 1997 2012
Vice-Chairman Jay Fisette Democratic Party 1997 2009
Member Mary Hynes Democratic Party 2007 2011
Member J. Walter Tejada Democratic Party 2003 2011
Member Chris Zimmerman Democratic Party 1996 2010

Arlington also elects four Members of the 100 Member Virginia House of Delegates and two Members of the Virginia Senate. State Senators are elected to four year terms, while Delegates are elected to two year terms.

Office Name Party and District First Election Next Election
Senator Patricia "Patsy" Ticer Democratic Party (30) 1995 2011
Senator Mary Margaret Whipple Democratic Party (31) 1995 2011
Delegate David Englin Democratic Party (45) 2005 2009
Delegate Albert Eisenberg Democratic Party (47) 2003 2009
Delegate Robert Brink Democratic Party (48) 1997 2009
Delegate Adam Ebbin Democratic Party (49) 2003 2009

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, but as in many other Virginia jurisdictions, most Arlington school board candidates run with an explicit party endorsement.

Position Name Party First Election Next Election
Chair Sally Baird endorsed by Democratic Party in 2006 2006 2010
Vice Chair Libby Garvey endorsed by Democratic Party in 2008 1996 2012
Member Ed Fendley endorsed by Democratic Party in 2005 2005 2009
Member Abby Raphael endorsed by Democratic Party in 2007 2007 2011
Member Emma Sanchez-Violand endorsed by Democratic Party in 2008 2008 2012

Arlington also has five Constitutional Officers, all of whom are elected County-wide.

Position Name Party First Election Next Election
Treasurer Frank O'Leary Democratic Party 1983 2011
Clerk of the Court Paul Ferguson Democratic Party 2007 2015
Commonwealth's Attorney Richard "Dick" Trodden Democratic Party 1993 2011
Sheriff Beth Arthur Democratic Party 2000 2011
Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy Democratic Party 2003 2011

Presidential election results

Each year's winner in the general election is listed first below.

Public health and safety

In 2008, 20.3% of the population did not have medical health insurance.


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.

Personal income

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.

In 2009, the county was second in the nation for the percentage of people ages 25‚Äď34 earning over $100,000 annually (8.82% of the population).


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.

Real estate

In 2004 the average single-family home sales price passed $600,000, approximately triple the price less than a decade before, and the median topped $550,000.


Numerous federal agencies are headquartered in Arlington, including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DARPA, Drug Enforcement Administration, Foreign Service Institute, National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Transportation Security Administration, United States Department of Defensemarker, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Marshals Service, and the United States Trade and Development Agency.


Companies headquartered in Arlington include AES Corporation, Alcalde and Fay, CACI, Corporate Executive Board, USA, ESI International, and Rosetta Stone. US Airways (formerly USAir) maintained its corporate headquarters at 2345 Crystal Drive in Arlington County. When it merged with America West Airlines, the headquarters moved from the county.

Arlington is also home to organizations such as the US-Taiwan Business Council.

Development patterns

Arlington has won awards for its smart growth development strategies. For over 30 years, the government has had a policy of concentrating much of its new development near transit facilities, such as Metrorailmarker stations and the high-volume bus lines of Columbia Pike. Within the transit areas, the government has a policy of encouraging mixed-use and pedestrian- and transit-oriented development. Outside of those areas, the government usually limits density increases, but makes exceptions for larger projects that are near major highways, such as in Shirlingtonmarker, near I-395 (the Shirley Highway).

Much of Arlington's development in the last generation has been concentrated around 7 of the County's 11 Metrorail stations.

In addition, the County implemented in 2005 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. The County also permits greater heights and densities through zoning ordinance bonuses in exchange for the creation of additional on-site affordable housing units, at a target level of 1:1 (i.e. one committed affordable unit for every market-rate unit; since 2004, and including condominium projects, actual average production has been closer to 2:3.)

The County focuses its efforts to preserve, create and maintain for-sale and rental affordable housing units to households whose income is not greater than 80% of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Median Income (AMI); rental units are committed for no fewer than 30 years at no greater than 60% AMI. AMI tables are published annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

PRAT maintains detailed data about current and historical development in Arlington County.

Image:Rosslyn1457828712 33c9d23751 o.jpg|RosslynmarkerImage:Ballston153351.jpg|CourthousemarkerImage:Ballston4355454.jpg|BallstonmarkerImage:Pentagon City.jpg|Pentagon CitymarkerImage:Crystalcity.jpg|Crystal Citymarker

Rosslyn, Courthouse, and Ballston are accessible on Metromarker's Orange Line from east to west, as well as the Silver Line in coming years. Rosslyn, Pentagon City, and Crystal City are accessible on the Blue Line from north to south, with Pentagon City and Crystal City also utilizing the Yellow Line.


Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is an American military cemetery established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's home, Arlington Housemarker (also known as the Custis-Lee Mansion). It is directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.marker, north of the Pentagonmarker. With nearly 300,000 people buried there, Arlington National Cemetery is the second-largest national cemetery in the United States.

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 Vernonmarker. 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 Pointmarker, 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 afterwards to the Lees' eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee.

The U.S. government confiscated Arlington House and 200 acres (81 hectares) of ground immediately from the wife of General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. The government designate 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 Courtmarker. 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 and Iraq. Pre-Civil War dead were re-interred after 1900.

The Tomb of the Unknownsmarker, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiermarker, stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, DC. President John F. Kennedy is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife and some of their children. His grave is marked with an "Eternal Flame." His brothers, Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, are also buried nearby. Another President, William Howard Taft, who was also a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is the only other President buried at Arlington.

Other frequently visited sites near the cemetery are the U.S.marker Marine Corps War Memorialmarker, commonly known as the "Iwo Jima Memorial", the U.S.marker Air Force Memorialmarker, the Women in Military Service for America Memorialmarker, the Netherlands Carillonmarker and the U.S. Army's Fort Myermarker.

The Pentagon

The Pentagon, looking northeast with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in the distance.

The Pentagonmarker in Arlington is the headquarters of the United Statesmarker Department of Defensemarker. It was dedicated on January 15, 1943 and it is the world's largest office building. Although it is located in Arlington, the United States Postal Service requires that "Washington, D.C." be used as the place name in mail addressed to the six ZIP codes assigned to The Pentagonmarker.

The building is pentagon-shaped in plan 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 miles (28 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 tons 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 missile.

During World War II, the earliest portion of the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway was built in Arlington in conjunction with the parking and traffic plan for the Pentagon. This early freeway, opened in 1943, and completed to Woodbridge, Virginiamarker in 1952, is now part of Interstate 395.



Located here is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airportmarker , which provides North American air services to the Washington, D.C. area. In 2009, Condé Nast Traveler readers voted it the country's best airport.

Nearby airports with international services include Washington Dulles International Airportmarker , located in Fairfaxmarker and Loudounmarker counties in Virginia, and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airportmarker , located in unincorporated Anne Arundel Countymarker, Marylandmarker.

Public transportation

Arlington is served by the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines of the Washington Metromarker. Additionally, it is served by Virginia Railway Express (commuter rail), Metrobus (regional public bus), Fairfax Connector (regional public bus), Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) (regional public bus), and a county public bus system, Arlington Transit (ART).


Main articles: Streets and highways of Arlington County, Virginia and Arlington County, Virginia, street-naming system

The county maintains of 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 for streets going north / south. (The "lowest" alphabetical street is Ball Street. The "highest" is Arizona.) Many east / west streets are numbered. Route 50 divides Arlington County. Streets are generally labeled North above Route 50, and South below. Arlington County is traversed by two interstate highway, Interstate 66 in the northern part of the county and Interstate 395 in the eastern part, both with high-occupancy vehicle lanes or restrictions. In addition, the county is served by a number of multi-lane urban arterial roads and the George Washington Memorial Parkwaymarker.

Bicycle paths

Arlington has of on-street and paved off-road bicycle trails. Off-road trails travel along the Potomac River or its tributaries, abandoned railroad beds, or major highways. Many of the county's major streets designate bicycle lanes near their curbs or parking lanes. Green route signs help cyclists navigate the routes while yellow warning signs alert drivers to the many street crossings.

Several regional paved off-road trails originate in Arlington and extend well beyond its boundaries. The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail (W&OD Trail) rail trail travels northwest from Shirlingtonmarker through Falls Churchmarker, Viennamarker, Herndonmarker, and Leesburgmarker to the town of Purcellvillemarker in western Loudoun County, Virginiamarker. The Mount Vernon Trail runs for along the Potomac, continuing through Alexandriamarker to George Washington's plantation homemarker in Fairfax County.

Smaller, intra-county trails connect the larger trials. In Arlington's southeast corner, immediately south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airportmarker, the Mount Vernon Trail meets the Four Mile Run Trail, which travels westward through Arlington in a stream valley, connecting to the W&OD. The hilly Custis Trailmarker begins at the Mount Vernon Trail in Rosslynmarker and travels westward beside Interstate 66 to the W&OD. The Bluemont Junction Trail, another rail trail, travels between the W&OD Trail and the Custis Trail in Ballstonmarker.

A partially off-road bike route bisects the County while traveling westward from Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and Rosslynmarker to Falls Church while travelling as a paved trail near or adjacent to Arlington Boulevard (U.S. Route 50) or within the boulevard's service road.

National protected areas

The following national protected areas are located in Arlington:


Primary and secondary schools

Arlington County is served by the Arlington Public Schools system. The public high schools in Arlington County are Yorktown High Schoolmarker, Washington-Lee High Schoolmarker, Wakefield High Schoolmarker, and the H-B Woodlawn program. Arlington County is also home to Bishop O'Connellmarker, a Roman Catholic high school.

Arlington County spends about half of its revenue on education, making it one of the top ten per-pupil spenders in the nation (as of 2004, over $13,000, the second highest amount spent on education in the United States, behind New York Citymarker).

Through an agreement with Fairfax Countymarker 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 Technologymarker in Fairfax at a cost to Arlington of approximately $8000 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.

Colleges and universities

Marymount Universitymarker 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 located on North Glebe Road. The school has expanded into offering complete 4 year undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and recently doctorial degrees in Fall 2004. The school expanded in the early 1990s and opened an additional campus in Ballston. They also have a Reston Center located in Reston, Virginiamarker.

George Mason Universitymarker operates an Arlington campus in the Virginia Square area between Clarendonmarker and Ballstonmarker. The campus houses the School of Lawmarker, School of Public Policy and other programs. The University is constructing a new building, expected to open in 2010, to provide additional space for the School of Law and other graduate programs.

The Institute for the Psychological Sciences is a regionally accredited institution offering postgraduate programs in Psychology with a Roman Catholic perspective. Its campus is in the Crystal City neighborhood.

The John Leland Center for Theological Studiesmarker, a baptist institution composed of a graduate seminary and undergraduate school, has its main campus in the Clarendon neighborhood.

DeVry Universitymarker operates a campus for undergraduate classes along with the Keller School of Management for its graduate classes, in Crystal City. The University established the campus in 2001.

University of Management and Technology is a distance learning university that is headquartered in Rosslyn.

The Art Institute of Washington, a local branch of The Art Institutes is located in the Ames Center across from the Rosslyn Metro Station.

Strayer University has a campus in Arlington as well as its corporate headquarters.

In addition, Argosy University, Banner College, Everest College, George Washington Universitymarker, Georgetown Universitymarker, Northern Virginia Community College, Troy Universitymarker, the University of New Havenmarker, the University of Oklahomamarker, and Westwood College all have campuses in Arlington.


Interest in sports for youngsters outside the school has varied over the years. In 1974, for example, 1,650 youngsters were participating in soccer in a county-wide association.

Sister cities


See also


External links

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