Neighborhood Profile: Cherrydale in Arlington, Virginia.

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On a wall between a barber shop and a sushi restaurant in the main shopping district of the Cherrydale community of Arlington, Virginia, is a small plaque testifying to the neighborhood’s contribution to American history. It commemorates the six black students from Howard and Duke universities who participated on the first day of a lunch counter “sit-in” protest in Northern Virginia.

This act of defiance in 1960 created its own momentum: Cherrydale Drug Fair worker Joseph Wooten eventually joined the students, who resisted taunts and harassment as they sat at the counter and helped propel the American civil rights movement.

This is a recently rediscovered story. Cherrydale resident and amateur historian Greg Embree – who organized the community’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2018 with his wife, Suzanne – raised money for the plaque. Fittingly, it faces Langston Boulevard, the old Lee Highway, which was renamed in 2021 to honor Virginia’s first black congressman, John M. Langston, rather than Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

“I’m excited about it – to live in a neighborhood where these things have happened,” Embree, 75, said.

Cherrydale, established in 1893 and named after a resident’s large cherry orchard behind the local post office, was home to Stratford Junior High School, the first school in Virginia to desegregate, in 1959. (The New Dorothy Hamm Middle School, named for the Virginia civil rights figure, is on the same property.) The community volunteer fire department contributed vitally to recovery efforts following the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon lighting the roof from the air.

Embree wrote about these events and the civil rights protest in “It Happened in Cherrydale,” a book he self-published in 2020. The memorial plaque, anniversary celebration, and this book all helped raise awareness residents and make them proud of their neighborhood history, says Embree.

But what drew him to the neighborhood in 1987 was the proximity to the Cherrydale Library, which was “about a 120-second walk from the front door” of his townhouse.

“That was the main selling point,” he said, “and the obvious walkability of headquarters.”

Quiet, shaded streets make up most of Cherrydale, while restaurants and shops, including the beloved Cherrydale Hardware and Company Flowers on Langston, put many necessities within walking distance.

Residents of Cherrydale love the area’s green spaces and the shade and beauty provided by the century-old trees. They are a major concern in discussions of a “missing middleman” housing proposal that would allow more multi-family homes to be built in Arlington to create affordable housing options.

Kevin Love, a Remax Allegiance estate agent who has been selling homes in Cherrydale since 1985, disputes that the houses on offer would be more affordable. He categorically opposes the decision.

“People who live in this part of the county bought into this area…because they loved the nature in the woods and parks in this area, and that needs to be preserved,” he said.

Joan McIntyre, who runs the Cherrydale Garden Club, said she was generally in favor of the proposal, as long as the county pays attention to tree cover, setbacks and stormwater drainage.

“The county needs to be a little bit creative in terms of opportunities and how different things can come together and make Arlington welcoming for everyone, which is a big issue,” she said.

McIntyre, a Cherrydale resident since 1985, started the garden club in 2019 and led the installation of a pollinator demonstration garden at Quincy and 15th Streets near Cherry Valley Park in 2021.

“It’s kind of a social occasion to come together. The members share some of their plants with each other,” McIntyre, 65, said. especially new neighbors, on the value of having trees.

New neighbors also connect with the community through the Cherrydale Citizens Association, which publishes a quarterly newsletter titled “Sweet & Sour News” and maintains a residents mailing list for information and updates. Popular neighborhood events include a 4th of July BBQ and Block Party and a coordinating Cherrydale Garage Sale.

Patricia Kime, who moved to Cherrydale in 2005, said she and her husband retreated to the community of their former home in Lyon Village because they felt the nearby neighborhoods of Clarendon and Court House were getting too busy and built. She had a vision, she says, of her two young sons being able to play in the woods and walk alone to the local 7-Eleven for a Slurpee. Cherrydale delivered on both counts.

“Just the fact that we’re so close to DC and yet it’s just a quiet little neighborhood — it’s really awesome,” she said.

Live there: The neighborhood, bordered by Interstate 66 to the south and east and North Utah Street to the west, and extending past Langston Boulevard to Lorcom Lane at its northernmost point, is a mix of detached houses, townhouses and condominiums, with a mix of architectural styles including Victorian homes, farmhouses and arts and crafts houses. It has seen home values ​​skyrocket over the past few decades and continues to evolve as buyers tear down smaller, older homes to build new ones. Of the 24 homes sold last year, 14 were new construction, Love said.

The highest selling price this year is $2.5 million for a six-bedroom, six-bathroom modern Tudor home; the lowest is $785,000 for a 2,000 square foot superior repairman. Three single-family detached homes are currently on the market. Rentals are rare and the average monthly rent for one bedroom is $2,900.

Transit: The closest subway stations are Virginia Square-GMU and Clarendon on the Orange Line, each about a 15-minute walk from the southern edge of the neighborhood. Several metro buses stop along Cherry Hill Road and serve Military Road.

Schools: elementary Glebe and Taylor; Escuela Key Elementary Immersion; Dorothy Hamm Midfielder; Washington Liberty High.

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