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View of Rosslyn from Washington.
View of Rosslyn at night.

Rosslyn is an unincorporated area in Northern Virginia located in the northeastern corner of Arlington County, Virginiamarker, north of Arlington National Cemeterymarker and directly across the Potomac River from Georgetownmarker in Washington, D.C.marker Rosslyn encompasses the Arlington neighborhoods of North Rosslyn and Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights.

Characterized as one of several "urban villages" by the County, the numerous skyscrapers in the dense business section of Rosslyn make its appearance in some ways more urban than nearby Washington.

Arlington Temple United Methodist Church is possibly the world's only church located on top of a gasoline station. The village has generally lower rents and taxes than does the District of Columbia. The village's location also attracts Georgetown Universitymarker and George Washington Universitymarker students who wish to live off campus. The local TV station affiliate of ABC in the Washington, D.C. area WJLA-TVmarker "ABC 7" is located in Rosslyn at 1100 Wilson Boulevard. The Art Institute of Washington is located at 1820 North Fort Myer Drive.

The United States Marine Corps War Memorialmarker, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorialmarker, is located in Rosslyn adjacent to Arlington National Cemeterymarker, Arlington Boulevard (U.S. Route 50), and Fort Myermarker. On the grounds of the Memorial, and offering views of the Lincoln Memorialmarker, Washington Monument, and United States Capitolmarker, is the Netherlands Carillonmarker. Freedom Parkmarker, opened in 1996, offers seating and views of Washington DC.


In Virginia's colonial period, Rosslyn's shoreline contained a landing for Awbrey's ferry, which transported travelers to and from Georgetown. A community that gradually developed behind the shore became known as Ross Lynn, the name of a local farm.

During the 1830s and 1840s, the Aqueduct Bridgemarker was constructed between Georgetown and Rosslyn. When completed in 1843, this bridge carried the Alexandria Canal, which transported canal boats from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Georgetown to the downstream port of Alexandria, Virginiamarker.

Following the American Civil War in the 1860s, a lawless community developed at the base of the bridge. Known primarily for its gambling halls, pawnshops, saloons, brothels and unsavory inhabitants, the community failed to attract much development other than a large brewery, which became a Cherry Crush soft drink bottling plant after Prohibition went into effect.

Eventually, spurred by the real estate potential that the arrival of electric trolleys in the 1890s inspired, developers and reformer ousted Rosslyn's more unsavory elements in the early 1900s. Nevertheless, Rosslyn remained primarily known for its pawnshops and used car dealerships for many years.

During the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, "Deep Throat" (W. Mark Felt) passed information to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in the middle of the night in an underground parking garage at 1401 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn.

The original corporate headquarters of the USA Today newspaper, owned by the Gannett Company was located in the area. Both the company and the newspaper occupied two high-rise silver-colored towers, (seen in the first picture, above), built in the early 1980s, which adjoin each other at 1100 Wilson Boulevard. Gannett did not own these buildings, and moved from their original home to a new campus in Fairfax County, Virginiamarker in 2002.

In 2003, the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority attempted to attract the relocating Montréal Expos to Northern Virginia by proposing three Arlington County locations for a new baseball stadium. Two sites were in the urban village of Pentagon Citymarker; the third was a site in the southeastern corner of Rosslyn that was already occupied by four cooperative buildings, formerly the historic Arlington Towers, (see external link below), which were the first high-rise towers in Arlington County, now known as River Place. The issue proved highly divisive, and Virginia's bid failed completely when Virginia Governor Mark Warner ruled out state financing for stadium construction. The Expos eventually moved to D.C. after the 2004 season to become the Washington Nationals, with a new stadium built in southeast Washington.


Waterview tower.
In 1964, the Theodore Roosevelt Bridgemarker opened to carry Interstate 66 (I-66) between Washington, D.C., and Rosslyn. Soon afterwards, a development boom in the 1960s began to "revitalize" Rosslyn with the construction of a large number of high-rise office buildings and hotels in its center and a smaller number of residential buildings on its outskirts. Arlington County widened Rosslyn's major streets to accommodate the increased motor vehicle traffic that this new development would bring.

A skywalk system carried pedestrian traffic over these widened streets. While planners expected retail establishments to develop along the skywalks, few such establishments actually opened. As a result, the skywalk system attracted few pedestrians. The Arlington County government now plans to dismantle some or all of the bridges that carry the skywalks over Rosslyn's broad streets.

In 1977, Metrorail's Blue Line reached Rosslyn. In subsequent years, the Blue Line and the Orange Line were extended from an underground junction near the Rosslyn stationmarker to serve Northern Virginia's suburbs.

In the early 1980s, I-66 was extended through Rosslyn to reach the Capital Beltway. The extensions of Metrorail and I-66 attracted additional high-rise development to Rosslyn.


Rosslyn currently has of office space and 6,365 housing units, expected to increase by 2011 to of office space and 7,906 housing units.

The tallest and most expensive condominium towers in the Washington metropolitan area are located in the urban village, such as the recently completed Waterview tower, River Place, and the soon to be completed Turnberry tower.

A zipcar location allows carsharing.


The Rosslyn Jazz Festival, started in 1991, attracted 10,000 attendees in 2006.


The Arlington County Government operates the 367-seat Rosslyn Spectrum Theater.


At 205 feet, 8 inches, the escalator to street level at the Rosslyn Metro station is the third longest continuous span escalator in the world.


Washington Metromarker's Blue and Orange Lines service the Rosslyn Metro stationmarker.


There are 14 Metro bus lines to the urban village. There is a shuttle run by Georgetown Universitymarker.


Rosslyn is a transportation hub which the intersection of U.S. Route 29 (Frances Scott Key Bridgemarker and Lee Highway), Virginia State Route 110 (Jefferson Davis Highway), the George Washington Memorial Parkwaymarker, and I-66 (Custis Memorial Parkway) partially create. U.S. Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) connects with all of these routes in and near Rosslyn.


Rosslyn offers access to a number of trails that travel through Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. By heading north on North Lynn Street, one can reach the paved Custis Trailmarker, which travels through Arlington along Interstate 66. By traveling southeast on the Custis Trail and crossing the George Washington Memorial Parkway, one can reach the paved Mount Vernon Trail, which travels downstream on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to Alexandriamarker and Mount Vernonmarker, as well as the unpaved Potomac Heritage Trail, which travels upstream near the riverbank to the Capital Beltway. By heading west along the Custis Trail, one can reach the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Trail, which travels for through Northern Virginia.

One can also cross the Francis Scott Key Bridge at the end of Lynn Street and pick up the unpaved C&O Canal towpath or the paved Capital Crescent Trailmarker in Washington. By heading south on North Lynn Street, one can cross over U.S. Route 50 and travel through the grounds of the Marine Corps War Memorial to reach a paved trail that travels along the wall of Arlington National Cemeterymarker to Memorial Drive. A sidewalk and paved path along the Drive connects in Lady Bird Johnson Park on Columbia Islandmarker to the Mount Vernon Trail and to the wide sidewalk of the Arlington Memorial Bridgemarker, which crosses the Potomac into Washington.


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