Garden Apartments, Apartment Houses, and Apartment Complexes in Arlington County MPD

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


The apartment building as it exists today has evolved from its early beginnings in Europe to the numerous individual apartment houses and complexes located throughout the United States. This Multiple Property Documentation Form facilitates the nomination of individual apartment complexes in Arlington County to the registers. The multi-family dwellings that had dominated the metropolitan landscape across the United States in the late 19th century were characterized as an “undesirable and makeshift habitation” that was appropriate for “individuals with transient habits.” These apartment houses were typically one of two types–the ultra-luxurious design for the upper class or the tenement housing for the lower class. A majority of the apartments were primarily tenement housing and the horrific conditions of these dwellings soured the middle class against enthusiastically embracing apartment living. Architects and developers began to address this distorted view and developed new purpose-built apartments to entice the middle and upper classes to choose this housing option and to provide better housing for the less fortunate. A combination of various factors in the 20th century, including economics, housing shortages, and booming populations, led to the dire need of acceptable rental housing within metropolitan areas throughout the United States. The explosion of the population in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area between 1934 and 1954 as a result of the federal government’s New Deal programs, increasing need for wartime workers, and return of World War II veterans, led to a crippling housing shortage throughout the area. In response, and with assistance from the Federal Housing Administration in a number of cases, developers and architects constructed approximately one hundred and seventy-six individual apartment buildings and complexes in Arlington County, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., to house these new middle-class residents.

A 2011 amended MPD provides additional context information on the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) including:  housing needs during the Depression; federal programs to revive the housing industry; origins of the FHA’s Housing Philosophy; FHA influence on apartment design and construction; architectural styles; apartment construction in Arlington County; World War II-era construction; post-World War II construction; acceleration of the apartment construction; and the turning point in 1949 when building permits were granted for the first high rise. Of the 174 buildings in Arlington County which were garden apartments and multiple housing building from 1934 to 1954, a third have been demolished.  Only 109 remained standing in 2009.
[NRHP Accepted: 5/10/2012]

Last Updated: April 20, 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

2001 Additional Documentation MPD


African American Watermen of the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Multiple Property Document

(MPD) Multiple Property Document


Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac

Arlington (County)


African American Resources in Fauquier County, Virginia, 1865–1973

(MPD) Multiple Property Document