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Fairlington is an unincorporated Arlington, Virginia neighborhood created in 1941 as a housing community dubbed “Seminary Heights.” but renamed in 1942 due to the name’s similarity to other neighborhoods near Virginia Theological Seminary. The revised name was chosen for the community’s location in both Fairfax and Arlington counties at the time it was designed. In 1952, the independent City of Alexandria annexed the Fairfax portion, and in 1966, Arlington and Alexandria adjusted the city-county boundary through North Fairlington from one that followed the original DC-Virginia line to one following the north and east sides of King Street (State Route 7), 30th Street South, South Columbus Street, and 28th Street South. In 1967, a bridge connecting South Abingdon Street in North Fairlington and 34th Street South in South Fairlington was opened, directly connecting the two sections for the first time. All of Fairlington, including the Alexandria portion, is in the 22206 zip code area and is served by the Shirlington Annex Post Office.
Fairlington was the largest housing project funded by the Defense Homes Corporation (a division of the FHA created by FDR) at the start of WWII. By 1941, DHC had purchased most of the land in the area and by 1942 it dedicated 322 acres to the project, designed to house military and civilian defense personnel. Located 2.5 miles from the Pentagon, which began construction in the same year, the completed complex contained 3,439 housing units and cost $35 million to build.
Fairlington was sold in 1947 to Fairmac Realty Corporation and became a rental apartment community. By the late 1960’s the property was sold to Hartford Insurance Corp., which converted it to condominiums in 1972.
Fairlington’s five-year condo conversion process began with the sale of the property to Chicago Bridge and Iron. CBI-Fairmac operated the asset, converting it to seven legal entities under the Virginia Horizontal Property Act. Six of the condominiums were in South Fairlington and the entirety of North Fairlington formed one condominium. The initial offerings sold between $19,000. and $45,500. in 1972 and prices were increased for later sales with the final units closing in 1978.
The Fairlington community was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1998 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, with 1024 historical buildings and 30 residential unit types.
Today, Fairlington is comprised of seven, independent condominium associations (often referred to as “villages”). They are: Fairlington Arbor, Fairlington Commons, Fairlington Glen, Fairlington Green, Fairlington Meadows, and Fairlington Mews, all in South Fairlington, and Fairlington Villages in North Fairlington. The Fairlington Citizens Association represents the community in local affairs and the Fairlington Historical Society promotes historical preservation. Offered are 29 floor plans from one to three bedrooms, ranging in size from 711 square feet to 2145 square feet. A number of the plans offer dens and four offer basement storage.
Architecture in Fairlington consists of townhouses in the Colonial Revival style. Building heights range from 1.5 to 3 stories, accentuated by gable, hipped, flat or gambrel roofs, as well as a few mansard roofs, all primarily made of slate. Front porches include hipped, shed or gable roofs supported by wood Tuscan or Doric columns, turned wood posts or brick piers, and front stoops may be covered by bracketed canopies. While most walls are constructed of brick, a few of the 1.5 story structures with steep, gable roofs are made of cut stone. Windows are six-over-six double-hung sash products. Many of Fairlington’s condominiums have nonfunctioning brick chimneys. Architectural details include decorative wood moldings, stone window and door lintels, pilasters, sidelights, wheel and round windows, belt courses and inoperative shutters.
Area amenities include The Fairlington Community Center (NE corner of 34th Street South and South Stafford Streets in South Fairlington), farmer’s market, Utah Field Park and Abingdon Elementary School public recreation center. Each condominium association within Fairlington maintains its own swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts.
Fairlington has its own commercial-retail center with businesses and services that cater to community residents and the surrounding area. The Village at Shirlington, located next to Fairlington, offers restaurants, retail, bars, a theater and cinema, and the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail trailhead. South Fairlington residents are connected to Shirlington by a pedestrian walkway that crosses the Shirlington Circle interchange with I-395. Alexandria’s Bradlee and Fairlington shopping centers are adjacent to South Fairlington.
Transportation options in Fairlington include a number of Metrobus routes and Alexandria’s DASH service. There are several Metro stations within 4 miles, and both Metrobus and DASH directly connect the neighborhood to the King Street-Old Town Metro station in Alexandria, also the Pentagon Metro station in Arlington.