The Colonial Village apartment complex in Arlington and Langley Fork Historic District in Fairfax County have been added to the Virginia Landmarks Register, a move that automatically nominates them for the National Register of Historic Places.
The state register is the official list of properties and structures worth preserving because of their role in the history of Virginia, according to Tucker Hill, executive director of the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.
"The register is an important reminder that the history of Virginia is told not only in records and books, but also in the numerous historic structures and sites that are scattered across the Commonwealth," Hill said.
Colonial Village, just north of Rosslyn, was built in four phases between 1935 and 1940. In adding the 974-unit complex to the state historic register, the landmarks commission noted that the apartments exemplify "early application of innovative garden city planning concepts to a low- and middle-income apartment complex."
The apartments were the first large-scale rental housing project to be built with Federal Housing Administration insurance, commission members noted, and became a model for future FHA-insured projects.
The complex was cited for its "spacious, richly landscaped courtyards, separation of pedestrian and automotive traffic routes, the use of an undeveloped interior greenbelt and the use of staggered setbacks in apartment design to permit increased ventilation and light.
"The transfer of planning ideas traditionally reserved for single-family suburban residential development to a law- and moderate-income apartment complex was of tantamount significance to planners of the 1930s," the commission noted.
The second site to be included on the landmarks list, the Langley Fork area, includes 70 acres centering on Georgetown Pike and Chain Bridge Road. This summer, Fairfax supervisors declared Langley Fork an historic district.
The district includes Hickory Hill, the home of Ethel Kennedy, as well as five other buildings that form the nucleus of the district.
Among the other major buildings are the Langley Toll House, built about 1820, which takes its name from the tolls once charged travelers who used Sugarlands Rolling Road (now Georgetown Pike), and the Langley Ordinary, a tavern that was built about 1850 and later used as a hospital in the Civil War.
Three churches are also included in the district: Gunnell's Chapel, a small wooden structure built for blacks after the Civil War; the Langley Friends Meeting House (1853), once a second meeting place for the Trinity Methodist Church and now owned by the Quakers, and the Mackall House (1858), the original Trinity Methodist Church and now the home of the Happy Hill Country Day School.
The inclusion of properties on the state and national registers places no legal restraints on the owner's use of the property or imply any architectural controls. Restrictions, such as historic district zoning, are the prerogative of local jurisdictions, Hill pointed out.
Hill added that registered landmarks do not have to be open to the public since most of them are privately owned.