Penrose Historic District

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Located about three miles from Washington, D.C., the Penrose Historic District is a planned community in Arlington County associated with the historic, economic, and cultural contributions of African American families. During and after the Civil War, free Blacks and formerly enslaved individuals lived in the government-established Freedman’s Village, but as residents became assimilated into the work force, many families relocated to nearby communities that began to cater to African Americans. Planned development in the area that became Penrose began in 1882 when former Village residents William Butler and Henry Louis Holmes established the Butler-Holmes Subdivision. The neighborhood also attracted middle- and working-class populations with the arrival of streetcar lines that allowed easy access to Washington, D.C. Today, The Penrose Historic District is a firmly established multicultural and multiethnic neighborhood with domestic architecture representing vernacular forms and Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman styles.

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


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