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|Arlington County, Virginia|
Location in the state of Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
|Founded||February 27, 1801|
|• Total||26 sq mi (67 km2)|
|• Land||26 sq mi (67 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.4%|
|• Density||8,309/sq mi (3,208/km²)|
|Arlington County, Virginia|
Location in the state of Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
|Founded||February 27, 1801|
|• Total||26 sq mi (67 km2)|
|• Land||26 sq mi (67 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.4%|
|• Density||8,309/sq mi (3,208/km²)|
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau-designated place of Arlington, which is the second-largest "Principle City" of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. As a result, the county is often referred to in the region simply as "Arlington" or "Arlington, Virginia". In 2013, the county's population was estimated to be 227,146, and would be the fourth-largest Virginian city if it were incorporated as such.
The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, a year after moving from the temporary National Capital at Philadelphia occupying the Federal City (also sometimes known then as "Washington City") in the District of Columbia, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of the District named Alexandria County. In 1846, Congress returned the land southwest of the Potomac River donated by Virginia due to issues involving Congressional representation and the abolition of slavery. The General Assembly of Virginia changed the county's name to Arlington in 1920 to avoid confusion with the adjacent City of Alexandria.
The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the south bank of the Potomac River directly across from Washington. Arlington is also bordered by Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church to the northwest, west and southwest, and the City of Alexandria to the southeast. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is among the geographically smallest self-governing counties in the United States, and due to state law regarding population density, has no other incorporated towns within its borders.
Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is headquarters to many departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States, including the Department of Defense (DoD) at the Pentagon, Drug Enforcement Administration, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It also home to Washington National Airport. The many federal agencies, government contractors, and service industries contribute to Arlington's stable economy. It is the highest-income county in the United States by median family income, though it has the highest concentration of singles in the region. Arlington is also the location of national memorials and museums, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial, and the United States Air Force Memorial.
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 name Arlington comes from Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington whose name had been applied to a plantation along the Potomac River. 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 now lends its name to present-day Arlington County.
The area that now contains Arlington County was ceded to the new United States federal government by the Commonwealth of Virginia. 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 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 pre-existing city of Alexandria at the District's southern tip. In 1791, Congress 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 U.S. 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 unincorporated 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 all of the present Arlington County, plus part of what is now the independent city of Alexandria, Virginia. 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 land sales and the growth of commerce. 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 a major market in the American slave trade, and 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 the Commonwealth, 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 the 55 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 the Commonwealth of 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 residents of the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116; however, the residents of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29. Despite the objections of those living in Alexandria County, President Polk certified the referendum and 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 only been considered politically as a town.
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 Union loyalists who lived in rural areas outside the town of Alexandria, rejected secession. Although Virginia was part of the Confederacy, its control did not extend all the way through Northern Virginia. In 1862, the United States Congress passed a law that provided that those districts in which the "insurrection" persisted 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.
After the war ended in 1865, the Abingdon estate's heir, Alexander Hunter, started a legal action to recover the property. James A. Garfield, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives who had been a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War and who later became the 20th President of the United States, was an attorney on Hunter's legal team. In 1870, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a precedential ruling, found that the government had illegally confiscated the property and ordered that it be returned to Hunter.
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 $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.
In 1870, the City of Alexandria became legally separated from Alexandria County by an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that made all Virginia incorporated cities (but not incorporated towns) independent of the counties of which they had previously been a part. Because of the confusion between the city and the county having the same name, a movement started to rename Alexandria County. In 1920, the name Arlington County was adopted, after Arlington House, the home of the American Civil War general Robert E. Lee, which stands on the grounds of what is now Arlington National Cemetery. The Town of Potomac was incorporated as a town in Alexandria County in 1908. The town was annexed by the independent city of Alexandria in 1930.
In 1896, an electric trolley line was built from Washington through Ballston, which led to growth in the county.
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. The Henry G. Shirley Highway (now Interstate 395) was constructed during World War II, along with adjacent developments such as Shirlington, Fairlington, and Parkfairfax.
On September 11, 2001, five al-Qaeda hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into The Pentagon killing 125 Pentagon personnel and all 64 people on board, as part of the September 11 attacks.
1812 N Moore in Rosslyn, completed in 2014, is the tallest building in the Washington metropolitan area, exceeding the nearby Rosslyn Twin Towers that were constructed three decades before it.
Arlington County is located at Coordinates: and is surrounded by Fairfax County and the Falls Church to the southwest, the City of Alexandria to the southeast, and Washington, D.C. to the northeast directly across the Potomac River, which forms the county's northern border. Other landforms also form county borders, particularly Minor's Hill and Upton's Hill on the west.
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 among the smallest by land area in the United States. About 4.6 square miles (11.9 km2) of the county is federal property. The county is roughly in the shape of a rectangle 4 miles (6.4 km) by 6 miles (9.7 km), with the small end slanting in a northwest-southeast direction. All cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia are independent of counties, though towns may be incorporated within counties. However, Arlington has no existing incorporated towns because Virginia 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 coterminous with the boundaries of the county; however, the county courthouse and most government offices are located in the Courthouse neighborhood.
There are a number of unincorporated neighborhoods within Arlington that are commonly referred to by name as if they were distinct towns. For over 30 years, the government has pursued a development strategy of concentrating much of its new development near transit facilities, such as Metrorail 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. Some of these "urban village" communities include:
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, 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.
As of the 2010 census, there were:
The population density was 8,309 people per square mile (2,828/km²), the highest of any county in Virginia.
According to the US Census, the racial makeup of the county in 2012 was:
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%.
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, 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.
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.
CNN Money 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 2006. 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.
Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the United States. The county 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. The budget for fiscal year 2009 was $1.177 billion.
|Position||Name||Party||First Election||Next Election|
|Chair of the County Board||Jay Fisette||Democratic Party||1998||2017|
|Vice-Chair of the County Board||Mary Hynes||Democratic Party||2007||2015|
|Member of the County Board||J. Walter Tejada||Democratic Party||2003||2015|
|Member of the County Board||Libby Garvey||Democratic Party||2012||2016|
|Member of the County Board||John Vihstadt||Independent - has aligned with Republican Party in the past||2014||2014|
|Treasurer||Frank O'Leary||Democratic Party||1983||2015|
|Clerk of the Court||Paul Ferguson||Democratic Party||2007||2015|
|Commonwealth's Attorney||Theophani (Theo) Stamos||Democratic Party||2011||2015|
|Sheriff||Beth Arthur||Democratic Party||2000||2015|
|Commissioner of Revenue||Ingrid Morroy||Democratic Party||2003||2015|
Arlington County is one of the most Democratic localities in Virginia. It last supported a Republican for president in 1980, and all elected officials in the county are Democrats. However, in April 2014, a Republican running as an independent, John Vihstadt, won a special election for the County Board, defeating Democrat Alan Howze 57%-41% and becoming the first non-Democrat to be elected to the board since 1999. County Board Member Libby Garvey, in April 2014, resigned from the Arlington Democratic Committee after supporting Vihstadt's campaign over Howze's.
In 2009, as the state was voting for Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell for governor by a 59% to 41% margin, Arlington voted for Democrat Creigh Deeds 66% to 34%. Voter turnout was 42.78%. 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. The county is included within Virginia's 8th congressional district, currently represented by Democrat Jim Moran.
|Office||Name||Party and District||First Election||Next Election|
|Senator||Adam Ebbin||Democratic Party (30)||2011||2015|
|Senator||Barbara Favola||Democratic Party (31)||2011||2015|
|Delegate||Rob Krupicka||Democratic Party (45)||2012||2013|
|Delegate||Patrick Hope||Democratic Party (47)||2009||2013|
|Delegate||Robert Brink||Democratic Party (48)||1997||2013|
|Delegate||Alfonso Lopez||Democratic Party (49)||2011||2013|
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.)
The United States Postal Service designates zip codes starting with "222" for exclusive use in Arlington County. As a result of the unique relationship of some institutions to the federal government, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and The Pentagon both use Washington, D.C. as their address and have zip codes that begin with the digits "20" even though each is actually located in Arlington County.
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 2010, there were an estimated 90,842 residences in the county. In 2000, the median single family home price was $262,400. About 123 homes were worth $1 million or more. In 2008, the median home was worth $586,200. 4,721 houses, about 10% of all stand-alone 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.
A number of 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 Defense, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Marshals Service, and the United States Trade and Development Agency.
Companies headquartered in Arlington include AES, Allbritton Communications Company, Alcalde and Fay, Arlington Asset Investment, CACI, Corporate Executive Board, ENVIRON International Corporation, ESI International, FBR Capital Markets, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Rosetta Stone and Strayer Education.
Organizations located here include 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 Public Broadcasting Service, United Service Organizations and the US-Taiwan Business Council.
According to the County's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the county are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Government of the United States||34,064|
|4||Virginia Hospital Center||2,042|
|7||Booz Allen Hamilton||1,370|
|10||US Airways Group||1,300|
|12||Corporate Executive Board||968|
|13||Bureau of National Affairs||900|
|17||State of Virginia||547|
|18||National Rural Electric Cooperative Association||540|
|19||Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide||525|
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 House (also known as the Custis-Lee Mansion). It is directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., north of the Pentagon. With nearly 300,000 graves, 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 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.
The Tomb of the Unknowns, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 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. 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. Marine Corps War Memorial, commonly known as the "Iwo Jima Memorial", the U.S. Air Force Memorial, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon and the U.S. Army's Fort Myer.
The Pentagon in Arlington is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. 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 Pentagon.
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 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.
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, Virginia in 1952, is now part of Interstate 395.
Arlington forms part of the region's core transportation network. The county is traversed by two interstate highways, 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 the George Washington Memorial Parkway. In total, Arlington County maintains 376 miles (605 km) 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. 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 is served by the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines of the Washington Metro. 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).
Arlington County is home to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which provides domestic air services to the Washington, D.C. area. In 2009, Condé Nast Traveler readers voted it the country's best airport. Nearby international airports are Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia, and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
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 U.S. and the company not only offsets the emissions generated by its fleet of hybrids, but also the equivalent emissions of 100 non-hybrid taxis in service in the metropolitan area. The green taxi expansion is part of a county campaign known as Fresh AIRE, or Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions, that aims to cut production of greenhouse gases from county buildings and vehicles by 10 percent by 2012.
Arlington has 86 miles (138 km) 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, including: Four Mile Run Trail that travels the length of the county; the Custis Trail, which runs the width of the county from Rosslyn; the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail (W&OD Trail) that travels 45 miles (72 km) from the Shirlington neighborhood out to western Loudoun County; the Mount Vernon Trail that runs for 17 miles (27 km) along the Potomac, continuing through Alexandria to Mount Vernon.
Arlington Public Schools operates the county's public K-12 education system of 22 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 4 public high schools in Arlington County including Wakefield High School, Washington-Lee High School, Yorktown High School and the H-B Woodlawn alternative school. 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.
|Position||Name||First Election||Next Election|
|Vice Chair||Sally Baird||2006||2014|
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 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.
Marymount University 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.
George Mason University operates an Arlington campus in the Virginia Square area between Clarendon and Ballston. The campus houses the George Mason University School of Law, School of Public Policy and other programs.
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.
Other private and technical schools maintain a campus in Arlington, including the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, the University of Management and Technology, The Art Institute of Washington, DeVry University. Strayer University has a campus in Arlington as well as its corporate headquarters.
In addition, Argosy University, Banner College, Everest College, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Northern Virginia Community College, Troy University, the University of New Haven, the University of Oklahoma, and Westwood College all have campuses in Arlington.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Arlington County has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
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|Fairfax County||District of Columbia|
|Fairfax County||District of Columbia|
|City of Falls Church||City of Alexandria|