Finding Streets in Arlington
The Logic of our street names in 8 rules
1. Arlington Boulevard divides the north & south sections of the County.
2. Numbered streets run East - West, parallel to Arlington Boulevard.
They start at 1st St N and 1st St S, with the numbers going up as you get further from Arlington Boulevard. When numbers are repeated, they go Street, then Road, then Place.
3. Named streets run North - South by alphabet starting at the Potomac.
As you go away from the Potomac, there are:
- one-syllable names (Ball Street to Wayne Street)
- two-syllable names (Adams to Woodrow)
- three-syllable names (Abingdon to Yucatan)
- four-syllable names (Arizona is the only one)
4. North & South come before named streets and after numbered streets.
Examples: N. Buchanan or 31st Street South. This is the official naming adopted by the Arlington County Board, but is widely disregarded.
5. Boulevards usually run east-west and Drives run north-south.
6. Avenue, Circle, Highway, Lane, Parkway, Pike and Terrace are seldom used.
We have only one pike-Columbia Pike (originally a turnpike - toll road). There are three parkways: Spout Run, George Washington Memorial, and Custis Memorial Parkway (I-66).
7. Named Roads typically follow early winding routes and are excluded from the alphabetized pattern.
Examples include Glebe Road, Military Road and Pershing Drive.
8. Numbered and Named Streets are not through routes.
They are likely to be broken up, and only Boulevards, Drives, Highways and Roads cross the county with unbroken continuity.
Finding block numbers on named streets
Looking for 300 S. Wakefield? It's at 3rd Street, 3rd Road or 3rd Place. That's not too difficult.
Finding block numbers on numbered streets
Looking for 4600 7th Street South? That's not so easy, but just go down this list and find that it's at Wakefield.
This list belongs in the glove compartment of every Arlington car!
Here it is in .pdf format for printing out.
Finding Block Numbers on Numbered Streets: Cross Streets
|First Alphabet||2nd Alphabet||3rd Alphabet
|200 Ball||2400 Adams||4700 Abingdon
|300 Clark||2500 Barton||4800 Buchanan
|400 Dale||2600 Cleveland||4900 Columbus
|500 Eads||2700 Danville||5000 Dinwiddie
|600 Fern||2800 Edgewood||5100 Edison
|700 Grant||2900 Fillmore||5200 Frederick
|800 Hayes||3000 Garfield||5300 Greenbrier
|900 Ives||3100 Highland||5400 Harrison
|1000 Joyce||3200 Irving||5500 Illinois
|1100 Kent||3300 Jackson||5600 Jefferson
|1200 Lynn||3400 Kenmore||5700 Kensington
|1300 Mead||3500 Lincoln||5800 Lexington
|1400 Nash||3600 Monroe||6000 Madison
|1500 Oak||3700 Nelson||6000 Nottingham
|1600 Pierce||3800 Oakland||6100 Ohio
|1700 Queen||3500 Pollard||6200 Powhatan
|1800 Rolfe||4000 Quincy||6300 Quantico
|1900 Scott||4100 Randolph||6400 Roosevelt
|2000 Taft||4200 Stafford||6500 Sycamore
|2100 Uhle||4300 Taylor||6600 Tuckahoe
|2200 Veitch||4400 Utah||6700 Underwood
|2300 Wayne||4500 Vermont||6800 Van Buren
| ||4600 Wakefield||6900 Westmoreland
| || ||7000 Arizona
| || ||7100 Yucatan
It's a system?
Yes, there is a system, adopted in 1934 as a priority project of Arlington's new county manager form of government. A citizens committee studied the hodgepodge of streets created in the Arlington area by the topsy-turvy development of many unincorporated communities. To secure an Arlington postmark, the County Board implemented a system that eliminated the many duplicated street names--there were 10 Arlington streets and 11 Washington streets, for example--retained many historic names, and set the pattern for naming streets that remains in effect today.
Getting around Arlington still can be a challenge. Laid out by the old metes and-bounds system of the East, the early roads wound around hills and along ridges, skirted streams and pastures, dodged estates and stores, veered toward springs and easy stream crossings, and often followed even earlier trails. Subsequent paved streets generally had to be laid over these early routes. Naturally, some boggling quirks resulted. Some streets skip along with seven or eight separate block interruptions. A visiting motorist may think they are seeing things twice when passing by two separate intersections of Glebe and Dittmar roads a mile apart. At North Taylor Street, 26th Street becomes 31st Street. Arlington's N. Vermont St Triangle where Vermont meets Vermont and Vernon, was once featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not.
What's in an Arlington Street Name?
In history-gilded Arlington, reading an Arlington street map is like a historical tour. Or a history class when you start looking up half remembered and unfamiliar names: try Dale and Eads for starters! Arlington's 528 streets literally present a pageant of history:
Music--Key Boulevard and Key Bridge were named for Frances Scott Key, author of the "Star Spangled Banner."
Scene--Charming landmarks recall the land's natural beauty: Rock Spring, Carlin Springs, Little Falls, Four Mile Run, Valley, Forest.
People--Native Amercian-origin street names include Potomac, Powhatan, Pocomoke, Tuckahoe, Tacoma, Kennebec, Kennesaw, and Ottawa. Pioneer family names adorn many street-name signs: Roberts, Dittmar, Marcey, Ball, Veitch, and Lorcom (for Dr. Joseph Taber Johnson's two sons, LORen and basCOM. Famous names abound: Barton, Custis, Marshall, Harvard, Longfellow.
Colonial Memories--Williamsburg Boulevard memorializes the colonial capital. Fairfax Drive is named for Lord Fairfax, who inherited the large area known as Fairfax County from his mother, Catherine Culpeper .. there is a Culpeper Street, too.
Southern Elegance--Gracious plantation and estate names: Arlington, Wakefield, Abingdon, Kenmore. Vacation Lane was a popular street for summer-retreat homes for Washington families.
Romance--Romance and commerce blend in Rolfe and Powhatan streets. John Rolfe discovered how to cure tobacco and he also married Pocahontas, daughter of the famous Indian chief, Powhatan.
Adventure--Columbus and Peary streets.
Faith--Old-time religion gave Glebe Road its name. A glebe was a rectory on farmland for a Church of England minister.
Progress--Edison Street honors the great American inventor, and Walter Reed Drive honors the Army surgeon whose research conquered yellow fever Shirley Highway-Virginia's first limited access highway-was named m 1942 for Virginia Highway Commissioner Henry G. Shirley, internationally recognized master roadbuilder.
War & Peace--Many street-name signs commemorate war stories: Liberty, Fort Myer, Fort Scott, Lee, Pershing Rixey, Yorktown, Richmond
Drama--Patrick Henry Drive: Give me liberty or give me death.
Politics--Statesmen are remembered on many corners: Bryan, Randolph, George Mason, Dinwiddie, Franklin, Hamilton, Hancock. Jefferson Davis Highway commemorates the Confederate President. And the names of 23 U.S. presidents-through Woodrow Wilson-dignify numerous street name signs. That is, all but Chester Alan Arthur, James K. Polk, and John Tyler. An oversight? Insufficient alphabetizing space? Or just politics?
Numbered and Named Streets
Only a few very short streets in the northwestern part of the county are unbroken in continuity. The majority of numbered and named streets have some blocks of interruption. However, North and South designations-with Arlington Boulevard as the dividing line-hold true. Generally, only Boulevards, Drives, Highways and Roads cross the county with unbroken continuity.
Are Not Through Routes
This page was adapted from a pamphlet produced by Carol Nation for Arlington County in 1984 and revised once in 1990. It is out of print, but we thought the information deserved wider distribution.
Arlington County has an abbreviated version of this page up.
You can pick up a County street map at the Courthouse service counter: 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Also available is a bicycle map with a complete street grid and bicycle routes well marked.
This page was last revised on: February 11, 2007.