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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

000-8825 Garden Apartments, Apartment Houses, and Apartment Complexes in Arlington County MPD

Garden Apartments, Apartment Houses, and Apartment Complexes in Arlington County MPD
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/11/2002

NRHP Listing Date 05/22/2003

NPS property number 64500845

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.


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

Updated February 20, 2019