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Neighborhood Narratives: Clarendon

Clarendon, located between the Rosslyn and Ballston areas, was named after Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, a statesman and historian. The village of Clarendon was platted, named and dedicated in 1900. After the arrival of streetcars, the area became Arlington’s “downtown.” Over time, the area became known as a retail hub, including department stores such as J.C. Penney and Sears, as well as many smaller retailers.

In the mid-1970s, two Vietnamese grocery stores opened, followed by restaurants, shops, and a large Vietnamese community, thus giving Claredon the nickname, “Little Saigon.” Most of the shops have been closed, but the name remains familiar.

Today, Clarendon is well known for its unique mix of eclectic shops, popular bars, and small restaurants. Gentrification of the area has allowed for more development of mixed residential and commercial projects including luxury apartments, office buildings and upscale chain stores.