“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

East Falls Church

East Falls Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
1. East Falls Church Marker
Inscription.  In the 1700s, Falls Church began along two Indian trails and included large farms anchored by an Anglican church. Several taverns and inns served as resting spots for travelers on their way to or from Leesburg, Virginia. By the 1840s, Falls Church became a village and continued progressing with the completion of the Alexandria-Leesburg turnpike, which increased the opportunity for farmers to sell goods to larger markets. East Falls Church, which developed on the eastern redge of the village, was part of the land ceded to the federal government for the creation of Washington, D.C. in 1791, but returned to Virginia in 1847.

In 1859, the Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad (later owned by the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad) completed the line from Alexandria to Leesburg with a station on the western edge of Falls Church. In the 1870s, the Washington and Ohio Railroad, the subsequent owners, constructed the East Falls Church station. The railroad provided access to the District of Columbia while insulating the community from the urban lower classes who could not afford the cost of commuting. One upper class residence, the Eastman-Fenwick
East Falls Church Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
2. East Falls Church Map
Falls Church District No. 4, G.M. Hopkins's 1879 Atlas of 15 Miles Around Washington. In 1875, Falls Church, which then included East Falls Church, incorporated as a town.
House, was built in 1876 and is among several still standing in East Falls Church.

East Falls Church experienced another burst of development with the arrival of the Washington, Arlington, and Falls Church electric streetcar offering service from East Falls Church to Rosslyn in 1896. Within ten years, the streetcar offered a cheap, nine-mile route to the District of Columbia, and combined with low land and house prices, transformed the area into a bedroom commuter community. As a result, Isaac Crossman estate and other surrounding farmlands were subdivided into residential developments featuring frame houses. East Falls Church also developed into a vibrant commercial center offering a wide range of shops and services, including a post office, bank, lumber yards, hardware store, livery stable, pharmacy, grocery store, and restaurants.

In the 1930s, citizens of East Falls Church petitioned the courts for exclusion from the corporate limits of Falls Church and to be considered only a part of Arlington County. Falls Church officials protested, claiming the town would lose sixty percent of its business district, thirty percent of its land, and twenty percent of its population. In 1936, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the citizens of East Falls Church, and the resultant separation created a new sense of eastward expansion towards Arlington. An influx of federal
East Falls Church 1942 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
3. East Falls Church 1942
Aerial photograph of East Falls Church, 1942. The area within and above the hatch marks is the present location of Interstate 66.
employees in the 1930s led to the subdivision of the remaining rural farmland between East Falls Church and the rest of Arlington.

A dramatic change to East Falls Church occurred in the 1970s and the 1980s. In order to support an expanding population and encourage a new commuter population in Northern Virginia, the historic business district of East Falls Church was leveled to make way for Interstate 66, though a small automotive and industrial area remained on either side of Lee Highway.

For additional information, visit the Arlington-East Falls Church Civic Association's website.
Erected by Arlington, Virginia.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommercePolitical SubdivisionsRailroads & Streetcars.
Location. 38° 53.212′ N, 77° 9.661′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker is at the intersection of Fairfax Drive (County Route 237) and Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling north on Fairfax Drive. Located beside the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2121 North Westmoreland Street, Arlington VA 22205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. East Falls Church Station (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Presidential Visit to Falls Church, 1911
Photos on the Left Side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
4. Photos on the Left Side of Marker
Top: East Falls Church train station, 1966. In 1894, the Southern Railway purchased the rail line and constructed the station shown above. The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad operated the station until 1967. Removed 1970.

Center: The Barksdale House from Charles Stewart's A Virginia Village, 1904. The house is located on the northeast corner of Washington Boulevard and Roosevelt Street.

Bottom: The George Crossman House from Charles Stewart's A Virginia Village, 1904. The house is located on N. Underwood Street. It is a local Arlington historic district and on the National Register of Historic Places.
(approx. ¼ mile away); Pearson's Funeral Home (approx. ¼ mile away); Original Federal Boundary Stone, District of Columbia, Southwest 9 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Crossman House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Brandymore Castle (approx. half a mile away); City of Falls Church Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arlington.
Also see . . .  Arlington-East Falls Church Civic Assocition. (Submitted on June 3, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
East Falls Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
5. East Falls Church Marker
East Falls Church Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
6. East Falls Church Today
In the 1942 photo, several businesses occupied buildings standing beside the railroad. Today a major chain hotel occupies that space.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 3, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 746 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 3, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Sep. 20, 2020