Like many residents, Thomas appreciates the neighborhood’s diversity and history. Nauck is home to African Americans, Hispanics and whites; old and young; professional and blue-collar.
Nauck is the oldest African American neighborhood in Arlington. The Levi and Sarah Jones family were among the first African Americans to buy land and build a house there in 1844. Then residents of the nearby Freedman’s Village, recently freed slaves, moved there. And in 1874, D.C. resident John D. Nauck purchased 46 acres, subdivided them and sold lots to other black families.
The neighborhood was a stop on the migration route, which took shape at the end of the Civil War, from the south to Freedman’s Village, according to a draft book of the history of the Nauck community by Alfred O. Taylor Jr., 79, president of the civic association and longtime community activist, that will be published soon.
“It’s quiet, the houses have unique characteristics, everyone is welcoming, [Arlington County] is investing money here, and it’s really nice to have diversity in the neighborhood,” Thomas said. “My neighbors are from all different walks of life, and that’s great.”
Old and new attractions: Retail outlets and churches in the community reflect Nauck’s history and modern-day needs.
The community still has an array of commercial enterprises and services that were established many years ago to cater to the African American community. Four churches anchor the neighborhood — Lomax AME Zion, Mount Zion Baptist, Our Lady Queen of Peace and Macedonia Baptist.
Green Valley Pharmacy, established 62 years ago by Leonard Muse, was designated an Arlington Historic District in January. Muse, 90, clad in a white lab coat, is still in charge of the operation. As customers lined the counter to make purchases recently, he admitted to a visitor that he hopes to turn the shop over to his 29-year-old granddaughter, who lives in Rosslyn.
The community is served by a variety of newer retail offerings, including restaurants in adjacent Shirlington; one Giant Food supermarket on Columbia Pike and another on Glebe Road; Potomac Yard, five to 10 minutes away by car; and downtown Washington, an easy 10-to-15-minute drive.
Nature beckons: Sidewalks and streets are wide. The gently rolling terrain turns steep occasionally, and houses high up command panoramic views of Arlington and Washington. “When I stand on my front steps, I can see the planes land at the airport and I can pick out sites downtown,” said Taylor, the community historian.
The Washington & Old Dominion Trail is a popular footpath for strolling, running and biking that extends 45 miles to Leesburg. A bank of red Capital Bikeshare bikes sits adjacent to the trailhead.