Then and Now: Fairfax Drive Near Quincy and Oakland Streets/Arlington Funeral Home
In the early 1900s, the Washington, Arlington and Falls Church Electric Railroad ran along present-day Fairfax Drive. Take a look at a before photo taken near Quincy and Oakland Streets and learn what occupies this part of Fairfax Drive now.
These days, it's hard to imagine the area we know as Ballston and Virginia Square filled with anything other than cars and pedestrians making their way through the familiar intersections. However, information and photos from the Virginia Room at Arlington's Central Library reveal that an electric trolley line—the Washington, Arlington and Falls Church Electric Railroad—was constructed in 1896 and ran along the present route of Fairfax Drive. Fairfax Drive's name derives from the trolley's final destination, Fairfax City. For a time, the construction of the trolley line, which branched at Clarendon to serve the Rosslyn and downtown Washington, D.C., areas, resulted in a shift of much of the area's development away from Ballston.
By 1900, though, the village of Central Ballston had developed into a well-defined area with the present-day Wilson Boulevard, Taylor Street, Washington Boulevard and Pollard Street as its boundaries. The Ballston Railroad Station was at Ballston Avenue, now North Stuart Street. (See the accompanying photo of the station, which shows the Ballston Pharmacy and Post Office, now Welburn Square. For more on the Pharmacy and Post Office and Welburn Square, see this previous Then and Now column.)
The other historical photo accompanying this article depicts Fairfax Drive near the crossing of Quincy Street and Oakland Street, circa 1935. Railroad tracks are visible in the image.
Arlington Funeral Home, at 3901 N. Fairfax Dr., now occupies this section of Fairfax Drive. The funeral home, which was founded by Raymond L. Morris in 1954, has been in its present location since 1974. For more information about Arlington Funeral Home, visit http://www.arlingtonfunerals.com. Located across the street from Arlington Funeral Home, at 3900 N. Fairfax Dr., are the Quincy Plaza apartments.