Landmark of the Month (July): Ginger's bike commute

Ginger's commute takes her right through the heart of Cherrydale, a beautiful historic neighborhood in northern Arlington.

Cherrydale is an old community, with the first recorded reference being in 1839 (listed on an application for a a branch U.S. Post Office). Apparently, the name "Cherrydale" comes from the large number of cherry orchards, owned by a man named Dorsey Donaldson, that were located behind the historic firehouse. (For the record, the first recorded settler in thearea was Andrew Donaldson, a farmer and ancestor of Dorsey, who was farming the area in 1780. Native Americans, probably of the Algonquin tribe, lived in sporadic settlements along the Potomac River prior to European settlement.)

In the late 1800's, Cherrydale was an ideal location for fruit orchards and family farms. Easy access to the Washington and Georgetown markets made the land increasingly valuable, for many of the same reasons that the property is highly sought after today. Housing had existed in this area for well over a century, but was especially stimulated in 1906 by the establishment of The Great Falls and Old Dominion Railway Line. Abandoned in 1935, the track bed became Old Dominion Drive, one of the major thoroughfares in the area. In March 2003, the entire Cherrydale neighborhood was placed onthe National Register of Historic Places. It's a beautiful neighborhood with a wide variety of housing styles. You'll find 1920's prefabricated Sears houses, 1930's bungalows,1940's "war boxes," and the currently popular neo-Victorian and colonial style homes. I'm especially fascinated by the concept of a mail-order house, such as these ordered from Sears in the early 1900's. Even if you are not on a bike, it's worth a ride through this wonderful neighborhood.

The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, c. 1911

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