By Lorraine Drolet
Chair, Fairlington Historical Designation Committee
Anyone who has experienced the intimacies of growing up in a small town can appreciate
firsthand the similarities between Fairlington and a small community. Fairlington's
streets lined with mature, lofty, and majestic Dutch and American Elms, the manicured
lawns, the sense of establishment and order, and the uniformity among well-maintained
buildings, are just a few of the characteristics that Fairlington has in common with the
traditional small town.
It is not a mere coincidence that Fairlington's full name includes the word Villages.
Like any small community, the Fairlington ambiance is one of friendliness and good will.
There is an overall feeling of connection with one's neighbors. It is not usual for
joggers and strollers to acknowledge a smile with a "good morning" or a nod of
the head. Fairlington has experienced a slow and steady transition from a young single
homeownership community to a community in which a large share of the households are
families with one to two children. Unlike the early days of the condominium, it is not
uncommon to see children at play at one of Fairlington's several playgrounds or swimming
Fairlington's tree-lined streets and open spaces are an ideal sanctuary for the many
species of birds including blue jays, robins and Baltimore orioles that are part of our
community. Fairlington also can boast that several species of its trees have been listed
on the Arlington County's Register of Notable Trees. The listing represents the best of
the best of the County's trees. Each nomination is judged by measuring the tree's
circumference, height and crown spread. Selected are those that exemplify the qualities of
a "Noble Tree."
The County's highest award is a plaque acknowledging those trees of great size for
their species or that are not commonly found in this area. Trees that have strong
historical or cultural associations also may receive a plaque. Through the marvels of the
internet, we wish to welcome you to the Fairlington Notable Tree Walk.
Fairlington Notable Tree Walk
(Length: 1.8 miles; fairly level terrain)
Park in the Utah Field parking lot at the end of S. Utah Street and S. 32nd Street.
- STOP 1 - Nellie Stevens Holly - Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Size Plaque Winner
1990) - S. Utah Street at Utah Park. Tree is located along the west side of S. Utah
Street. It is the largest among four. Nellie Stevens Holly is a cross hybrid of Chines and
English Holly. Often treated as a shrub, the magnificent specimen at this location has
been kept in atree form and currently is the highest scoring in the County.
- STOP 2 - Pyramidal English Oak - Quercus robur 'Fastigiata' (Species 1989) - 3221
S. Utah Street. Tree is located at the south side entrance to the swimming pool. Very
narrow form of English Oak and not commonly found in Arlington, especially this size or
age (about 40 years old).
- STOP 3 - Sycamore Maple - Acer pseudodlantanus (Species 1991) - 3233 S. Utah
Street. Tree is along the street about 150 feet from the corner of S. Utah and 32nd Road.
This specimen is small but represents a species unusual for Arlington County (native of
Europe and Western Asia).
- STOP 4 - Deodora Cedar - Cedrus deodora (Size 1988) - 3308 S. Stafford Street.
Tree is largest of two at the entrance of the Fairlington Community Center. Introduced
from Asia, this tree was widely used in the area until the cold winters of 1978 and 1983
damaged and killed many. Since Arlington is north of the usual hardiness zone, large
specimens like this one are not commonly found here. This tree is currently the County's
high scoring Deodora Cedar.
- STOP 5 - Darlington (Laurel) Oak - Quercus laurifolia (Species 1990) - Tree is
located at the intersection of S. 36th and S. Taylor Streets. It is the largest among 28
planted in the immediate area (36th, Taylor, Utah, Stafford, and 35th Streets). To
distinguish Laurel Oaks from the Willow Oaks planted on the street, look of a slightly
shorter and smaller tree, a broader, more oval leaf which remains green through most of
- STOP 6 - Sugar Maple - Acer saccharum subsp. nigrum (Species 1991) - 3224 S.
Stafford Street. Tree is the small maple in front of the 3224 townhouse front door. It is
an unusual variety of Sugar Maple called Black Maple.
The six condominium villages have contributed substantially to increasing the number of
Fairlington trees. Over the past twenty years, the villages have planted well over 1,000
new trees and plants, such as the Rose of Sharon, azaleas, early flowering Dogwoods, the
dwarf Japanese summer blooming Crape Myrtle, the common White Oak and the rare Franklinia
or Pumpkin Ash.
With its parliamentarian and Robert's Rules of Order, Fairlington's governance is an
adaptation of the New England Town Meeting. Through the annual homeowners' association
meeting, each of the six villages provides homeowners with the opportunity to meet
annually in an open forum to discuss issues of importance. Like the town meeting,
homeowners can discuss, challenge and debate budget matters with their board
representatives. All condominium information is available upon request to each homeowner
for review except in cases in which release of information violates the right of privacy
of other homeowners.