A National Airport advisory panel has recommended that the ruins of Abingdon plantation house be replaced by a parking garage {Metro, June 22}. This plan will allow the airport to increase congestion on George Washington Parkway and, incidentally, charge the public premium rates to park near Metro and an air terminal. It will also destroy a historical site that the Arlington County Board and some local residents wish to preserve.

Only foundations, walls, a well and a plaque now remain at Abingdon, which once played an incomparable role in our area's history.

Abingdon's earliest known resident, Gerrard Alexander, served on Alexandria's first board of trustees. Later John Parke Custis, the only surviving son of Martha Washington, purchased the plantation.

J. P. Custis, the principal heir to his parents' extensive estate, served in Virginia's colonial and state legislatures and lived in the plantation house before dying at the battle of Yorktown. At that battle, he served as an aide to Gen. George Washington, who, after marrying Martha, had raised him like a son and stood by his side at his death.

Washington's physician and business confidant Dr. David Stuart moved into Abington after marrying J. P. Custis's widow (who bore 20 children to two husbands). After George Washington became president, he appointed Dr. Stuart as one of three commissioners supervising development of the new federal capital.

While residing at Abington, Dr. Stuart named the site across the river "The City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia."

George Washington Parke Custis, the son of J. P. Custis, lived at Abingdon as a child. After being adopted and raised by the Washingtons at Mount Vernon, he built and named Arlington House (the "Custis-Lee Mansion" now in Arlington Cemetery), preserved George Washington's memorabilia and, in the early 19th century, became a leading citizen of the area and father-in-law to Robert E. Lee. His sister Nellie, born at Abingdon, received the now historic Woodlawn Plantation as a wedding gift from Washington, who had adopted her also.

George and Martha Washington often visited Abingdon while their family and associates lived there. Washington eventually returned the plantation to the Alexanders to settle family debts while acting as guardian to the young G. W. P. Custis.

During the 19th Century, Alexander Hunter, U.S. District marshal for 18 years, lived at Abingdon, as later did Alexander Hunter II, who served in Virginia's legislature. Fire destroyed the old plantation house in 1930.

Arlington, Alexandria and Washington all owe their names to people who lived in the Abingdon house. Since 1746, its foundation has remained in place, longer than any other historical structure in these jurisdictions. Yet airport officials, political appointees all, may succeed in replacing this unique piece of our heritage with, of all things, a garage.

BERNARD H. BERNE Arlington