Do you like history? Do you like local history? The Arlington Historical Society (AHS) was founded in 1956 to preserve and promote the history of Arlington County. Since 1963 the AHS has operated the Arlington Historical Museum in the Hume School at 1805 South Arlington Ridge Road. The Hume School is itself a historic building. Built in 1891, it operated as a school until 1958. The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
So, what would you see if you came to the AHS museum? Running through Nov. 11, 2018 we feature an exhibit on the First World War. We also have an exhibit on the Union forts that filled the county during the Civil War. There is even a cannon ball a local resident found while planting a bush in her yard.
Local businesses are also represented in the collection. If you came over the Key Bridge into Rosslyn in the 1940s and 1950s you’d find a number of pawnshops. The museum has the trefoil pawn sign (three large gold balls) that hung over the National Pawn Shop for decades. If you wanted to get something to drink after visiting the pawn shop you might want to have a Cherry Smash, made for years in the old Arlington Brewery by John Fowler.
One of Mr. Fowler’s grandsons gave the AHS some rare Cherry Smash items and his generous gift sparked one of our most colorful and popular displays. We also have relics from businesses that existed in Rosslyn in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including gold mining.
There are also displays on local African-American History, the Little Tea House, the Pentagon on 9/11, and more. Please come visit and check us online at our website http://www.arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/ or on Facebook.
Of course this area was inhabited before the Europeans arrived. Numerous Native American villages sat along the Potomac and their inhabitants left behind their own artifacts. The museum displays some of the items found by archeologists in the county, including a stone ax head found on a local golf course.
Speaking of archeologists, did you know the AHS sponsored an archeology dig at its second property, the Ball-Sellers House? Built in the 1740s by John Ball and his family (he had a wife and five daughters) it’s the oldest surviving building in the county. It’s open from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday afternoons from April into September.
Check the AHS website for more information: www.arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/