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Ballston, Virginia

Ballston, Virginia

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Ballston is a neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

 and is home to the Ballston-MU station on the Orange Line
Orange Line (Washington Metro)
The Orange Line of the Washington Metro consists of 26 rapid transit stations from Vienna to New Carrollton. It has stations in Fairfax County and Arlington, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Prince George's County, Maryland. Half of the line's stations are shared with the Blue Line, and over...

 of the Metrorail
Washington Metro
The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C., United States, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority , which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name...

 subway system.

History


Named after the Ball family (relatives of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

), whose family cemetery lies in the neighborhood at N. Stafford Street and N. Fairfax Dr. Ballston began as Birch's Crossroads and later became Ball's Crossroads at what is now the intersection of North Glebe Road
Virginia State Route 120
Virginia State Route 120 is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as Glebe Road, the state highway runs from U.S. Route 1 in Crystal City north to SR 123 at the Chain Bridge...

 and Wilson Boulevard. This intersection is one of the oldest crossroads in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia consists of several counties and independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in a widespread region generally radiating southerly and westward from Washington, D.C...

.

A historical marker that stands at the new Ballston Point complex near the crossroads states:


This intersection has been a focal point since about 1740, when two roads were developed, one from the future site to Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

 to the mouth of Pimmit Run
Pimmit Run
Pimmit Run is a stream in northern Virginia that runs from Fairfax County to the Potomac River at Chain Bridge in the Arlingwood neighborhood of Arlington.Pimmit Run forms south of Leesburg Pike in Pimmit Hills...

, the other from Awbury’s Ferry (at the site of Rosslyn) to The Falls Church
The Falls Church
The Falls Church historically refers to the church from which the City of Falls Church, Virginia, near Washington, D. C., takes its name. The parish it originally served was established in 1732 and the brick meeting house preserved on site dates to 1769....

. The first came to be known as the Glebe Road because it passed the glebe of Fairfax Parish and in order to distinguish it from other roads to the Falls. The second was eventually named Wilson Boulevard in honor of President Wilson. The intersection became known as Ball’s Crossroads when Ball’s Tavern was established here in the early 1800s.


In 1896, an electric trolley line
Northern Virginia trolleys
The earliest electric railway, or streetcar line, in Northern Virginia opened in 1892. At their peak, when merged into a single interurban system , the successors of this and several other lines ran between downtown Washington, D.C., Rosslyn and Arlington Junction – present day Crystal City...

 was constructed north of the crossroads along the present route of Fairfax Drive, whose name derives from that of the trolleys' final destination, Fairfax City
Fairfax, Virginia
The City of Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City is nevertheless the county seat....

. Construction of the trolley line, which branched at Clarendon
Clarendon, Virginia
Clarendon is a neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia, USA, located between the Rosslyn area and the Ballston area. The main thoroughfares are Wilson Boulevard and Clarendon Boulevard .-Boundaries and geography:...

 to serve both Rosslyn
Rosslyn, Virginia
Rosslyn is an unincorporated area in Northern Virginia located in the northeastern corner of Arlington County, Virginia, north of Arlington National Cemetery and directly across the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Rosslyn encompasses the Arlington neighborhoods of North Rosslyn...

 and downtown Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, temporarily shifted much the area's development away from the crossroads. A historical marker that stands near the northwest corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stafford Street, one block east of the Ballston Metrorail station (which is at the former site of the Ballston trolley station) states:


By 1900 a well-defined village called Central Ballston had developed in the area bounded by the present-day Wilson Boulevard, Taylor Street, Washington Boulevard, and Pollard Street. More diffuse settlement extended westward to Lubber Run and southward along Glebe Road to Henderson Road.

The track of the Washington, Arlington, and Falls Church Electric Railroad ran along what is now Fairfax Drive; the Ballston Station was at Ballston Avenue, now North Stuart Street. Here Clements Avenue, now Stafford Street, divided to pass on either side of an old Ball family graveyard.


On November 4, 1951, the Parkington Shopping Center opened at the intersection formerly known as Balls Crossroads, on the site of the present Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall, which originally opened as Parkington Shopping Center in 1951, was one of the first major suburban shopping centers in the Washington D.C. area. It was the first shopping center built around a multi-story parking garage in the United States...

. Parkington was anchored by the headquarters location of the Hecht Company
Hecht's
Hecht's, also known as Hecht Brothers, Hecht Bros. and the Hecht Company, was a large chain of department stores located mainly in the mid-Atlantic and southern region of the United States....

 and was reputed to have the largest parking garage in the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 when it opened. For some time afterward, Ballston became commonly known as Parkington.

Ballston entered a period of decline in the 1960s and 1970s, but grew and changed considerably after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is a tri-jurisdictional government agency that operates transit service in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including the Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess...

 opened the Ballston Metrorail station (originally to be called the "Glebe Road" station) on December 1, 1979. The construction of the station necessitated the relocation of the Ballston Volunteer Fire Department located at 911 North Stuart Street. As a condition of the sale of the fire station the volunteer firefighters insisted the name be changed from "Glebe Road" to "Ballston," thus reviving the "Ballston" name which had all but faded into history.

Ballston is home to tall modern apartment
Apartment
An apartment or flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building...

 complexes and condominiums, the Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall, which originally opened as Parkington Shopping Center in 1951, was one of the first major suburban shopping centers in the Washington D.C. area. It was the first shopping center built around a multi-story parking garage in the United States...

, and many restaurants and bars
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

. Ballston also boasts a number of parks, trails and open outdoor spaces and a number of people can be seen engaged in some sport on any given evening.

Commercial, government and educational activity


Ballston is also home to several U.S. government agencies and organizations including the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal government agency within the United States Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats...

, DARPA (the funding agency for the original Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 research), and the Office of Naval Research
Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research , headquartered in Arlington, Virginia , is the office within the United States Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S...

, as well as non-profit groups, such as The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a US charitable environmental organization that works to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive....

. Additionally, many government contractor
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

s and high tech
High tech
High tech is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology currently available. It is often used in reference to micro-electronics, rather than other technologies. The adjective form is hyphenated: high-tech or high-technology...

 companies have offices in Ballston such as CACI
CACI
CACI International Inc is a professional services and information technology company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. CACI is a member of the Fortune 1000 Largest Companies and the Russell 2000 index. The company has approximately 13,700 employees in over 120 offices in the U.S. and...

, SAIC
Science Applications International Corporation
SAIC is a FORTUNE 500 scientific, engineering and technology applications company headquartered in the United States with numerous federal, state, and private sector clients...

, as well as the headquarters of ESI International
ESI International
ESI International, Inc. is a provider of learning-based solutions focused on skills training and consulting in project management, program management, business analysis, business skills and contract management....

. In September 2011, Accenture
Accenture
Accenture plc is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It is the largest consulting firm in the world and is a Fortune Global 500 company. As of September 2011, the company had more than 236,000 employees across...

 agreed to move their offices from Reston, VA to a 360,000 sq. ft. facility under construction by JBG Cos. on the corner of Wilson and Glebe Rd. in Ballston . The building is scheduled to open in Spring, 2012.

The Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals are a professional ice hockey team based in Washington, D.C. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . Since their founding in 1974, "The Caps" have won one conference championship to reach the 1998 Stanley Cup...

 professional
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 ice hockey team built the Kettler Capitals Iceplex on the eighth level of the Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall
Ballston Common Mall, which originally opened as Parkington Shopping Center in 1951, was one of the first major suburban shopping centers in the Washington D.C. area. It was the first shopping center built around a multi-story parking garage in the United States...

's public parking garage. The facility includes two full-size rinks
Ice rink
An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, figure skating and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows...

 for the Capitals' practice and for paid public use. The rinks offer about 8,100 hours of ice skating annually. The facility holds 1,200 seats and a conditioning center for the Capitals. It also houses the organization's front office staff. In addition, the facility houses a conference room that is available for public use without charge when the organization is not using it for its own purposes. The Mall's owners hope that the facility will bring in additional revenue for the Mall, which did not become a big money maker after the owners constructed a multiplex
Multiplex (movie theater)
A multiplex is a movie theater complex with multiple screens, typically three or more. They are usually housed in a specially designed building. Sometimes, an existing venue undergoes a renovation where the existing auditoriums are split into smaller ones, or more auditoriums are added in an...

 movie
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 theater there with the same type of anticipation.

Ballston is also home to a satellite campus of Marymount University
Marymount University
Marymount University is a coeducational, four-year Catholic university that has its main campus located in Arlington, Virginia. Marymount offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines and has a diverse and welcoming academic community with approximately 3,600...

.

Taste of Arlington


Ballston hosts the annual Taste of Arlington food festival
Food festival
A food festival is a festival, usually held annually, that uses food, often produce, as its central theme. "These festivals have always been a means of uniting communities through celebrations of harvests and giving thanks for a plentiful growing season...

, a street fair
Street fair
A street fair is a fair that celebrates the character of a neighborhood. As its name suggests, it is usually held on the main street of a neighborhood....

which has been produced each Spring since 1987. The 2009 Taste of Arlington event featured over forty area restaurants offering portions of their cuisine to ticket-holders, and drew approximately 15,000 people. The festival is organized by the Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership, the regional business development organization, and is produced in cooperation with other area community development organizations and the National Science Foundation. Funds are raised for area charities through ticket sales.

External links