Lee Highway is Full of History, Food & Style

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Katy Lang Tweet Us @walkarlington@walkarlington September 28, 2018

Katy Lang was previously Program Director for Active Transportation. She started living car-free in Arlington in 2010 and is passionate about finding great running routes and safety for people walking and biking.

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The Lee Highway corridor is home to many, rich in history, offers food that will make your taste buds dance, and sports a stylish decor. Get a glimpse of what makes this corridor unique and why we chose this area for the Social Walk on October 4.

Lee Highway is many things to many people—a place to hang out, where they live, a historic roadway, and a connection to community amenities. It’s impossible to capture everything about historic Route 29 (even just the part that runs through Arlington), so we’re sharing a few of our favorite things that make this corridor unique.

The History of High View Park

High View Park also known as Halls Hill is the oldest enclave in the area settled by freed slaves after the Civil War. In the 1800s, the community was mostly farmland, and grew to include many family-and black-owned mom-and-pop stores in the 1900s. Between 1918 and 1946 residents opened the County’s first fire station, Fire Station #8, the John M. Langston Citizens Association, and Suzanna Hicks organized the first black-owned bus in the County.

Although High View Park was separated from neighboring white communities by a wall, “the community had a rich resource of community-based churches that provided the basis for social, cultural and religious enrichment,” writes the John M. Langston Citizens Association on their website. The residents united to fight segregation and set the precedent for desegregating Arlington’s schools. Today the community is anchored by the Langston-Brown Community Center and is home to thriving local restaurants, businesses, churches, and parks.

The Food Scene

Local restaurants line the entire corridor from east to west. Our team loves to eat on Lee Highway and sample cuisines from India, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, and more! But it’s not just that there are great restaurants—there is also great food history.

  • District Taco’s co-owners, Osiris Hoil and Marc Wallace, started cooking up recipes in a food truck, opened their first store on Lee Highway, and now have more than 10 stores across the area, including Pennsylvania.
  • Livin’ the Pie Life, a brainchild of two Arlington moms, Heather Sheire and Wendy MacCullum, bake scrumptious pies from scratch in their first brick-and-mortar location.
  • Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe owners Wolfgang and Carla Büchler have been serving the community European-inspired and mouth-watering baked goods for over 40 years.
  • The Italian Store, opened in 1980 by the Tramonte family, offers a rich selection of authentic Italian goods and draws patrons from all over the DC region.

Wherever you are in the corridor there’s sure to be something new or old that makes your taste buds happy.

The Art Deco Aesthetic

Art Deco is a style of visual arts, architecture, and design, and Lee Highway has some great architectural examples. Metro 29 Diner, as described by the Washingtonian, is an “Art Deco ode to Americana (with hefty waffles and whipped cream).” In Cherrydale, many commercial buildings reflect the Art Deco or Moderne style, like the Cherrydale Hardware Store, Cherrydale Cement Block Company, and the Family Tea House in addition to many great architectural details all around the corridor.

Experience the Lee Highway Corridor

Download one of the Walkabouts along Lee Highway and explore at your own pace.

Post updated on June 26, 2019 to remove reference to a past event.

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/Kittner.com

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