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The Barcroft, Arlington Virginia neighborhood is bounded by Arlington Blvd. on the north, S Aberdeen Street and Four Mile Run on the NW/west, Columbia Pike on the south and S George Mason Drive on the east. Neighboring communities are Arlington Forest, Alcova Heights, Douglas Park and Arlington Mill.
Barcroft was ‘put on the map’ by George Washington, who surveyed the land and possibly built an early water grist mill there.
George Washington Parke Custis built Arlington Mill on Four Mile Run near Columbia Pike. Custis’ mill was destroyed during the Civil War. A 162-acre farm called Cedar Hill was owned by Frank Corbett, who subdivided a small portion on the north side of the Pike in 1892, near the single-track railroad station. He called it “Corbett” and named the four north-south streets and one east-west street Brooke (for his son), Arlington, Cedar Avenue, Spring Avenue (named for a spring in the center of the subdivision known as the “Dolly Madison Spring” because Madison enjoyed resting there during her rides through the countryside), and Fairfax Street.
Following Corbett’s death in 1903, the farm was sold to Mrs. Abbie G. Fox, who subdivided again and renamed it Barcroft, after local physician Dr. John Woolverton Barcroft, who replaced the old mill with a new one and built a house nearby. A Virginia builder, B.F. Perrow, was retained to construct a long one-story building on the Pike between the railroad and the creek for the use of workmen and equipment storage. A small number of modest homes were built, and a dry goods country store and post office were added in about 1885, but the area didn’t see significant growth until 1918, when builders Walter and Robert O’Hara constructed several hundred homes in the Barcroft area through the 1950’s. The O’Hara homes were designed in a variety of architectural styles, including Victorian, Colonial, Cape Cod, Cottages and Bungalows. During this time, there were also changes to the block sizes and street names of the subdivisions.
More construction filled out the neighborhood through 1989, in a mix of styles and types, including at least one Sears Kit home and a Lustron enameled steel home, as well as multifamily buildings. A number of 1960’s townhouses and apartment buildings constructed along Columbia Pike, South George Mason Drive and Arlington Boulevard. Today, there are about 1327 housing units in Barcroft.
For a thorough and charming history of the Barcroft neighborhood, see Barcroft, Arlington County, Virginia: A Village Metamorphosis and History of Barcroft.
Barcroft amenities include Barcroft Park, a 65-acre park featuring multiple sports fields and game courts and bating cages. Residents can fish or walk along a stream, hike or cycle the Four Mile Run Trail, picnic or grill, and enjoy the playgrounds. Barcroft’s Sports & Fitness Center is located next to the park and offers a gym, gymnastics training center, wellness studio and observation deck.