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Rosslyn is an unincorporated area in Northern Virginia that is sited on a bluff above the Potomac River, overlooking Washington DC. It is located near the northeast corner of Arlington County, bordered on the north by I-66 and Gateway Park, on the east by the U.S. Marine Corps. War Memorial, on the south by Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Meyer, and on the west by Clarendon/Court House and Colonial Village. The neighborhood includes North Rosslyn and Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights.
One of several Arlington County “urban villages.” Rossyln had a seedy start and eventually reinvented itself to become the “Gateway to Virginia.”
Following the Civil War, many soldiers stayed in the area, driving out farmers with their saloons, gambling joints, brothels and rampant crime. In the early 1900s, campaigns began to clean up Rosslyn. The pool halls, saloons, brothels and gambling joints were replaced by lumber and coal yards, auto repair shops and oil storage tanks. The Aqueduct Bridge was replaced by Francis Scott Key Bridge in 1923, and Rosslyn’s poor reputation improved, but just so much.
The federal government’s expansion in the early 1950’s created a demand for affordable leased office space outside of the District, incentivizing developers to build prolifically and quickly. Louis J. Pomponio, Jr., with brothers Peter and Paul, responded by acquiring control of underused and undervalued Rosslyn and Crystal City properties, constructing 15 high-rise office buildings during the late 1950’s through the 1960’s. In 1969, the brothers announced plans for a huge, $100 million project, National Center in Crystal City, designed as a mixed-use complex integrated with a ‘minicity,’ National Center H. But by 1972, the Pomponios were being investigated by a federal grand jury in Alexandria for federal tax violations. Construction setbacks and news about the investigation dried up their credit lines. Debt collectors stepped in, banks and investors threatened foreclosure and legal challenges multiplied. The Pomponios had built one of the largest real-estate conglomerates in the DCMA and left an indelible mark on Rosslyn and Crystal City before landing in prison.
By the late 1970’s, the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and I-66 had been built, the Metro station was running and Rosslyn had become a major transit hub.
Today, Rosslyn is home to Fortune 500 companies, national media outlets and government contractors. The neighborhood offers a vibrant retail, entertainment and dining scene, green public spaces and great views of DC and the Potomac.
Rosslyn amenities include cycling and walking trails such as the Custis Trail, Mount Vernon Trail, Potomac Heritage Trail and, by crossing Key Bridge, pick up the C&O Canal Towpath or Capital Crescent Trail in DC. In addition to the Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon and Arlington Cemetery attract many visitors.