In his column for the Falls Church News-Press, “Our Man in Arlington,” journalist Charlie Clark digs dirt and mines gold from the city’s history. His essays are compiled in “Arlington County Chronicles” ($20, History Press), out April 22. The book’s a window into the city’s often-forgotten past, full of degenerates (Nazis) and heroes (astronauts). Here are a few semi-historic locations Arlingtonians may well pass every day.
1400 Wilson Blvd.: Two plaques here, at the former headquarters of the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), honor the scientists who built ARPANET, an ancestor of the Internet, in the 1970s. One plaque brags; the other says “ARPANET” in binary code.
2507 N. Franklin Road: The building that now houses The Java Shack in Clarendon was the American Nazi Party’s headquarters from 1968, the year after Party founder George Rockwell was shot to death outside an Arlington laundromat, until the early 1980s.
2512 N. Randolph St. (pictured): Double agent Aldrich Ames bought this home with dirty money from the Soviets. The CIA operative was assigned to lure Russian spies to America’s side; in 1985, he switched teams, selling secrets to his former foes. In the ’90s, the FBI bugged the home, dug through the trash outside and hacked Ames’ computer. He and his wife were arrested in 1994.
4709 Lee Highway: In the 1960s, this CVS was a branch of Peoples Drug Store and a stop in a two-week series of anti-segregation sit-ins along Lee Highway. The protesters were arrested at a nearby Howard Johnson’s.