There are times when a columnist and a reader, possessing different information, can both be right. Elizabeth Cannon Kimball of Winchester, who lived in Arlington from 1922 to 1976, is a reader who has rightly corrected accurate information purveyed in Metro Scene one day last week.
We reported, thinking we had nailed down our wording with some precision, that "it wasn't until 1937 that a letter could be mailed to an Arlington address." But wait!
To prove us wrong in a friendly way, she forwarded the envelope pictured above that she sent her parents on May 27, 1935, containing a college invitation from Richmond. It was addressed simply to: "Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. Cannon, Arlington, Va."
Reader Kimball, rebutting our contention that direct delivery to much of Arlington came via "Georgetown, D.C.," cites the late Cornelia B. Rose Jr.'s marvelous 1976 book, "Arlington County, Va.: A History." To quote:
"There was at least one post office in . . . what was then known as Alexandria county as early as 1878 . . . the Arlington P.O. on Columbia Pike near what is now Walter Reed Drive served only part of the county" -- where reader Kimball's parents lived in 1935.
"Mail for the rest of the county went either to Alexandria or Georgetown," and subsequently to an array of community offices such as Fort Myer, Ballston, Relee (later South Washington, Va., where the Twin Bridge Marriott is now) or Cherrydale. Until 1935, when Georgetown instituted Rural Free Delivery to much of the county, all Arlingtonians had to pick up mail at these post offices.
The Post Office Department was persuaded to deliver mail to individual homes -- that is, to street addresses -- in Arlington in 1937 only after the county's belated adoption of a unified countywide street-naming system.