Arlington

Posted by ARLINGTON on 7/24/2003 4:41:35 PM | Views: 346 |

Arlington

In November of 1800 when First Lady Abigail Adams moved from Philadelphia to join her husband President John Adams, in the new capital, the outlook uture expansion of the city was bleak. Arriving late after becoming lost en route somewhere in Maryland, Mrs. Adams wrote, "Washington City is not a city at all." Nearby George Town was still a muddy trek around marsh and through the woods, "The very dirtiest I ever saw," charged the first lady. Across the Potomac River, the port town of Alexandria seemed far away. In 1846 Congress decided to return as unneeded, all District land west of the river, including a huge plantation and Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee.

For decades Washington DC grew, but in fits and starts. Then along came President Franklin D. Roosevelt and The New Deal. Suddenly, government was a growth industry and Washington exploded, transforming Alexandria, Arlington and vast rural areas of Virginia and Maryland into thriving bedroom communities for government-employed workers.

Crossing over Memorial Bridge into Arlington, one immediately notices Robert E. Lee's grand old Arlington House. The ancestral home of the Confederate General was illegally seized by the Union Army during the Civil War in a dispute over a government attempt to levy taxes on Confederate land. Today Arlington House is an immaculately preserved historic site and tourist attraction.

The greater Washington area, with a population exceding three million, is sometimes referred to as the area inside The Beltway, the freeway system which forms a great loop that includes heavily-populalted parts Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The estate and plantation of Robert E. Lee was promptly seized by the Union Army when Lee let Arlington to take up arms against the government in 1881.Three years later, with General Lee now in command of the Confederate Army and Civil War casualties and Union established a cemetery on 200 acre Lee's plantation. By the end of the Civil War 16,000 soliders fromboth sides were buried in the new national cemetary.

A few years later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the land still belonged to Lee's estate. The grim prospect of moving thousands of war dead to an alternate cemetery was avoided when the Lee family accepted a cash settlement for the loss of their land in an agreement that closed the painful first chapter in the story of the Arlington National Cemetery.




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