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Lacey Woods, ‘Arlington Outdoors’ review

A review from an "outdoor" perspective
A review from an "outdoor" perspective
James George

Performing a review of area parks comes from different viewpoints. Let’s use Lacey Woods as an example. First, declare what you want to do.

Old pint tree at Lacey Woods
James George
  • I want a place for my small children to play safely.
  • I want the kids to be able to run in a field.
  • I want clean bathrooms.
  • I want a place to park for free.
  • I want to walk, a little.
  • I want a place to sit.
  • I want to have a picnic.
  • I want to play basketball


  1. Mother with young children

    Lacey Woods has a jungle gym area for young children that is quite new. If your children want to play games in a field, there is room for that.

  2. Park user

    Yes, there are bathrooms, and parking is available on adjacent streets. Be careful with young children as the streets are busy on two sides of the park. This is a small park with a small wooded area, so you will not overindulge on walking, hiking, or biking unless you use Lacey Woods as a base camp to connect with the Custis Trail not far away. If you want to picnic, there are some tables and a nice area to do that, including a shelter.

  3. Basketball player

    There is a court and it is active, especially after working hours.

Arlington County Parks and Recreation Department is investing in this small park. Across the street there once was a natural wooded area that appeared to be an extension of the Lacey Woods. After years of being fallow, now the land is being developed to add nine new homes. That will be a crowd and add to the heavy traffic already at the intersection of George Mason and Washington Blvd. that is the location for this park area.

The parks department have heavily molested Mother nature here as there are too many paths and too much tramping. That will endanger the health of the remaining trees. It is as if the planners have decided to forfeit the woods for a park lawn. We are losing the canopy in Arlington County and this location is an example of the loss.

If citizens want to preserve the character and quality of our parks, they need to be vigilant and give feedback to the department.

“A historical marker entitled ‘Lacey Car Barn’ located near the northwest corner of N. Glebe Road and Faifax Drive states:

In 1896, the Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railway began running electric trolleys from Rosslyn to Falls Church on the present routes of Fairfax Drive and I-66. By 1907, the Fairfax trolley linked Fairfax, Vienna, and Ballston with downtown Washington. In 1910, at this location, the railway built a car barn, railyard, workshops, electrical substation, and general office. In 1912, the rival Washington & Old Dominion Railway began crossing the tracks on a bridge 200 yards west of here, following the present route of I-66 from Rosslyn. The Fairfax trolley closed in 1939, but Metrorail’s Orange Line follows its route through Arlington.[6]”,_Arlington,_Virginia

Arlington history of the Lacey family

“Following the Civil War, a Union officer, Major RS. Lacey of Ohio, who had been attracted by Northern Virginia, bought a farm in the southern part of the Waycroft-Woodlawn area and built a house, Broadview. This house survives today at 14th and Evergreen Streets. In the same period, a black community, High View Park-Hall's Hill, grew up to the north of Waycroft-Woodlawn, It was started by former slaves who purchased land from their old master Basil Hall. In the last years of the nineteenth Century and the early years of the twentieth century, the construction of first trolley lines and then railroads brought growth to Arlington, and small commuter villages grew in Clarendon, Ballston, Cherrydale, Bon Air, Glencarlyn, and Barcroft. Ballston lay just to the southeast of the Waycroft-Woodlawn area, and the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad crossed the southeast corner of the area (where Interstate 66 now cuts under Glebe and Washington Boulevard). The Lacey Station (near the present intersection of Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive) was the closest stop to Waycroft-Woodlawn. Meanwhile, in 1870, the town of Alexandria became an independent city while the Arlington area continued as Alexandria County.

By 1900, Arlington had a population of 6,450, but it remained rural. In Waycroft-Woodlawn at the time of World War I, most of the land to the north of Brown's Bend Road belonged to the Marcey and Sealock farms. Mr. Sealock's barn stood approximately where the old portion of Arlington Hospital is today and the Glebe School is now on the Marcey farm site. The Lacey farm occupied most of the land in the area south of Brown's Bend Road, and there were woods along Glebe Road between Mt. Olivet Church and Garrison Road (now Washington Boulevard). Area boys played ball in the Lacey cow pasture just north of Garrison Road and swam in a favorite hole in Lubber Run (a portion of the stream now completely covered over) on the other side of Garrison Road. In 1920, a name change from Alexandria County to Arlington County was enacted to avoid confusion with Alexandria city. Arlington, while exhibiting most characteristics of a mid-size suburban city, remains a county to this day. There are no cities within its boundaries.”

Here is a map:

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