With regard to the article "Maywood Area Divided Over Historic Label" {Nov. 12}, much of Arlington's history is buried beneath Rosslyn, Metro, I-66 and other roads "improved" for commuter use. "Progress" marches up the subway tracks, sneaks onto side streets and stands tall in the sky, forever changing the character of this small, primarily residential county. That's why, to me, the remaining few old neighborhoods such as Maywood are so important.

I can find history in the simple fact that the man who built my house in the 1920s lived in it until he died in 1980. He was a postal clerk who caught a train at the bottom of Thrifton Hill (now under I-66) and sorted mail on a train all night from Union Station to the Carolinas, then back again. He built other houses in Maywood and Arlington, including one for his daughter on the next street from mine. He cared about this place, and it shows.

In my house, there is chestnut woodwork, operable transoms above each door and oak floors even in the kitchen. There are sturdy plaster walls, old-fashioned plumbing fixtures and the original green-and-cream enamel gas kitchen stove. The radiator heat is almost silent, and the old streaked and bubbled window glass trembles when jets fly by. Much of this is inconvenient to modern life or demanding in upkeep, but I, as only the second owner, still listen to the old house and its ghosts and hesitate to change things.

The neighborhood was lucky to escape destruction when the "old" was being tossed out, but its Lee Highway and Lorcum Lane/Spout Run boundaries were nibbled away, and the county periodically proposes more road widening. I-66 slashed off an entire end of Maywood, taking many old houses, including the one (on this same street) my family moved to from Wisconsin when I was a kid in 1958. I've lived in Arlington most of the time since and came back to Maywood as an adult because I love the place.

I can't help thinking that Maywood, a primarily extant early subdivision along the now-defunct Old Dominion train line, deserves recognition precisely because so much Arlington history has already been destroyed; and that a Historic Neighborhood designation would discourage encroachment and help protect what most of us already find so valuable: an active neighborhood of wide diversity, both in its houses and in its people. GREER B. GILKA Arlington