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Old 10-05-2010, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,180,478 times
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Just a thought...on the DC threads, people talk about a lack of DC culture. Then the argument always goes to black culture being the culture, as it isn't temporary. The general concept is that black DC residents have been here for awhile, and everyone else comes and goes about as frequently as various presidential administrations do.

So, this got me thinking....Arlington/Alexandria...is there a CULTURE there? Sometimes I get the feeling that Arlington is culture-less and bland, and a bit temporary. It also seems to give off the impression of caucasians who have DC jobs living there, but not necessarily for generations. Then you have high immigrants coming in these days, I get the impression anyways, which probably while interesting in itself, isn't a long-standing culture or timeless feel of the area.

There is also the NOVA sayings...not really Virginia, not really Southern...filled with northern transplants, etc. All adding more to a transplant-attracting, immigrant-attracting area.

So, deep down under all that...IS there a long-term CULTURE of Arlington/Alexandria...going back generations, etc.?

(I'm also purposely leaving Fairfax County out of this, as I get the impression it was very solid in the Virginia, southern culture of yesteryear until it was 'paved over'). Arlington/Alexandria however is solidly in the grey ambiguous realm however.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:34 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,643,209 times
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Here you go - some old Alexandria (aka "Little Edinburgh") institutions:

St. Andrew's Society of Washington DC

Welcome to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial

You really should visit in person and get to know the Freemasons and other native Alexandrians over haggis and a pint. Sometimes you'll have to kick yourself to remind yourself that you're not really in Scotland. But do bring a dictionary, as sometimes the local dialect is hard to understand.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
660 posts, read 1,502,474 times
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Out of curiosity, why do you think Arlington/Alexandria are solidly "in the grey ambiguous realm," but Fairfax County was in the "southern culture of yesteryear until it was 'paved over'"?

If Fairfax was once solidly Southern, Arlington was as well. It was just paved over earlier. While I wouldn't describe either as Southern now, that doesn't mean that Southern culture in general is a thing of the past (which your phrase "southern culture of yesteryear" seems to suggest).

To answer your main question, though, no, neither Arlington nor Alexandria get much of their character from families/traditions going back generations. But honestly, neither does DC. As Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC's non-voting delegate in the House) has pointed out, she grew up in a majority-white city. If you want to live in an area that has a lot of local roots, your closest bet is Baltimore. Nothing in the DC area is going to provide you with that.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Here you go - some old Alexandria (aka "Little Edinburgh") institutions:

St. Andrew's Society of Washington DC
Kilts, eh? That is something I wouldn't have readily associated with Alexandria before!
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:13 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,643,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen 81 View Post
Out of curiosity, why do you think Arlington/Alexandria are solidly "in the grey ambiguous realm," but Fairfax County was in the "southern culture of yesteryear until it was 'paved over'"?

If Fairfax was once solidly Southern, Arlington was as well. It was just paved over earlier. While I wouldn't describe either as Southern now, that doesn't mean that Southern culture in general is a thing of the past (which your phrase "southern culture of yesteryear" seems to suggest).

To answer your main question, though, no, neither Arlington nor Alexandria get much of their character from families/traditions going back generations. But honestly, neither does DC. As Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC's non-voting delegate in the House) has pointed out, she grew up in a majority-white city. If you want to live in an area that has a lot of local roots, your closest bet is Baltimore. Nothing in the DC area is going to provide you with that.
Darn. I was hoping TigerBeer would get as excited as Margaret Mead about a trip to study the natives in Alexandria, and you had to pull the plug.

Maybe we can at least work in a reference to Faulkner, though ("The past is never dead. It's not even past. Except maybe in large parts of Northern Virginia.")
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Macao
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I should add an addendum to the Southern statement.

I mean, Fairfax County...I imagine country fairs, lonely winding back roads, small towns, farming markets, etc. I mean, I imagine a more southern rural image that could aptly be applied to a feeling I'd get of many rural areas. Then within the last generation or so being completely paved in, and in comes many northerners, DC folks and immigrants filling the place up. So, its quickly changed in fairly obvious ways.

Whereas Alexandria would be southern as well, but it is also a long-standing URBAN city with a long history by American standards. Arlington as well for that matter, even if a bit suburban, but solidly suburban probably with a fixed population for quite some time. So, the southern part would be a theme of them as well, but my images of southern, I can't adequately place on them, as I imagine a much more unique culture to themselves quite a bit different than a 'its southern, so therefore everything you know about the south fits in exactly with them without variation' mold...know what I mean?
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
660 posts, read 1,502,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Darn. I was hoping TigerBeer would get as excited as Margaret Mead about a trip to study the natives in Alexandria, and you had to pull the plug.

Maybe we can at least work in a reference to Faulkner, though ("The past is never dead. It's not even past. Except maybe in large parts of Northern Virginia.")
Well I'm an Arlingtonian/Fairfaxian, so I am just clueless when it comes to the exotic rituals practiced south of Columbia Pike! Alexandria is "thar be dragons!" country to me.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:03 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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I think there are still a few people with old Alexandria roots around, though some live in Fairfax. I think I have met some in my synagogue, though their roots probably do not go back before 1910 or so. But folks who were part of the Alex community before it was completely absorbed into the DC commuter shed.

Arlington, not so much cause it was rural before suburbanization, and the suburban populations have mostly changed.

Fairfax County, you have to realize, was not all that thickly populated a rural area (IIUC) - probably a consequence of soil issues - thats why there isnt a lot of pre-1940 architecture - few and small market towns - look at how small the old part of FFX city is.

There was an old white lower middle class DC culture, but those folks moved out decades ago, mostly to the Maryland suburbs.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,920,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I mean, I imagine a more southern rural image that could aptly be applied to a feeling I'd get of many rural areas. Then within the last generation or so being completely paved in, and in comes many northerners, DC folks and immigrants filling the place up.
Not quite. For one thing, people starting moving into Farifax County back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s (not within the last generation). Fairfax is not a place I'd describe as "completely paved in." Not even close--there are a lot of areas that still have room for development, as well as a lot of parks. There is still much more greenery than pavement. Also, the people who first moved into the new developments in Fairfax came from a variety of places, not just "northerners, DC folks and immigrants." My family moved here in the 1950s from Texas, and the family next door moved in from North Carolina.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:20 PM
 
5,334 posts, read 6,143,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Here you go - some old Alexandria (aka "Little Edinburgh") institutions:

St. Andrew's Society of Washington DC

Welcome to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial

You really should visit in person and get to know the Freemasons and other native Alexandrians over haggis and a pint. Sometimes you'll have to kick yourself to remind yourself that you're not really in Scotland. But do bring a dictionary, as sometimes the local dialect is hard to understand.

Aw, that's just the Masonic lingo, not anything to do with Alexandria dialect or any semblance to a brogue.

The one Scottish restaurant I knew about is long-gone, too.

Alexandria does have some long-standing families, but I don't know how much they lend to the "flavor" or culture of the city. Some business families, like the Fannons, have been in Alexandria for 100 years or more.

When I was a kid going to church in Alexandria, there were some long-term families in the congregation who were big in Alexandria business, and who were Masons. You see Masonic emblems on cars sometimes.
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