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Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Arlington
Year Organized: 1801
Square Miles: 26
Court House:

2100 Clarendon Blvd.
County Courthouse
Arlington, VA 22201-5445

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Arlington is named for the Arlington estate associated with the Washington, Custis and Lee families. The estate, in turn, was named for the original Arlington estate in Northampton County, Virginia established sometime before 1680, which was, in turn again, named for the Baron Arlington.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Arlington County (old Alexandria County)

Alexandria County, Virginia formed from the District of Columbia (that part which was formerly a part of Fairfax County and Alexandria City, Virginia). Extinguished in 1920 with formation of Arlington County. On Dec. 3, 1789, the Virginia Assembly passed 'An Act for the cession of ten miles square, or any lesser quantity of territory within this State, to the United States, in Congress assembled, for the permanent seat of the general government' ... By act of Congress of Feb. 27, 1801 (U. S. Stats. 2, pp. 103, 115), the United States took over exclusive jurisdiction of that portion of Fairfax County, therein named Alexandria County. By Act of Congress of July 9, 1846 (U.S. Stats. 9, p. 35), the United States retroceded to Virginia the territory comprising the County of Alexandria, and by Act of Assembly of Mar. 13, 1847... Virginia extended her jursidiction over the retroceded territory. [Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation, by Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, originally published as Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9, January, April, July 1916, reprinted 1992 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD, p. 74]

Arlington County was originally named Alexandria County. It was formed from a part of Fairfax County that was ceded to the U.S. government in 1789 but was returned to Virginia in 1846. The county name was changed in 1920 to Arlington, the name of the Custis family mansion (former home of Robert E. Lee), which is located in the county. Its area is 25 square miles, and the county seat is Arlington. The population is 189,453 according to the 2000 census. Pre-1920 records belong to Alexandria and Fairfax Counties and the District of Columbia.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Arlington is the smallest self-governing county in the United States (the largest county-level jurisdiction being North Slope Borough, Alaska).


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