Then and Now: Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street
Find out what Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street looked like before and after railroad tracks ran along Fairfax Drive, and learn about the Ball family cemetery.
Have you ever wondered about the cemetery located beside Central United Methodist Church at 4201 Fairfax Dr.? This spot at Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street is the family cemetery of the Ball family, who were relatives of George Washington and whose name appears today in the neighborhood we know as Ballston. Before the area came to be called Ballston, it was known as Birch's Crossroads and later, Ball's Crossroads.
As explored in last week's Then and Now column, the route for the Washington, Arlington and Falls Church Electric Railroad ran along present-day Fairfax Drive during the early part of the 1900s. The accompanying historical photos, taken in 1946, depict the intersection of Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street when the railroad track was in place and after it was removed, respectively.
Since the track was removed, this intersection has seen the growth of many businesses, such as Wachovia Bank, the Hilton Arlington and IHOP. Not far away from Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street are an entrance leading to the skyway for Ballston Common Mall, part of the bus hub outside Ballston-MU Metro station and the entrance to the Metro station.
Speaking of the Ballston-MU station, the station, located at North Fairfax Drive and North Stuart Street, opened in 1979 as an extension of the Orange Line past Rosslyn. The Court House, Clarendon and Virginia Square stations also opened at the same time. Until the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU station was built in 1986, the Ballston station served as the western terminus of the Orange Line.
When the station was still in development, it was to be called Glebe Road; the Metro board voted to change the station name to Ballston in 1977. The board voted again to rename the station Ballston-MU in 1995 to acknowledge the nearby location of Marymount University.
The Virginia Room at Arlington's Central Library has been a valuable resource for Then and Now, and we're excited to help get the word out about the Virginia Room's "Capturing Arlington" photo contest for students in grades 6-12. Contest rules state that entries should be photographs of places that might vanish as Arlington develops, such as, but not limited to, strip malls, businesses, places of historical importance, unusual buildings, public spaces and public art. Cash prizes will be given in two categories (grades 6-8) and senior (9-12). All winners will have their work displayed online and at Central Library.
Entries are due by Dec. 15 to Capturing Arlington Photo Contest, Virginia Room, Arlington Public Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22201. Visit http://arlingtonvalib.blogspot.com/2010/09/student-photo-contest-capturing.html for submission guidelines and an entry form. Winners will be notified by Jan. 31, 2011.