Ballston, Arlington, Virginia
|Country||United States of America|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Ballston is a neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia. Ballston is located at the western end of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. It is a major transportation hub and boasts one of the nation's highest concentrations of scientific research institutes and research and development agencies including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, the Advanced Research Institute of Virginia Tech, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and associated engineering, management, and public sector consulting firms. Ballston also contains a section known as Virginia Square and sometimes the area is collectively known as Ballston-Virginia Square.
Ballston proper is served by the Ballston–MU station while the Virginia Square section is served by the Virginia Square-GMU station, both of which are on the Orange and Silver Lines of the Washington Metro with a 1/2 mile walking distance from each other. By some measures, Ballston is the densest neighborhood in the entire Washington metropolitan area.
Ballston is named after the Ball family, one of whose family cemeteries lies in the neighborhood at N. Stafford Street and Fairfax Drive, also known as Virginia State Route 237. Ballston began as Birch's Crossroads, and later became Ball's Crossroads at what is now the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard.
A historical marker that stands near the southeastern corner of the intersection reads:
This intersection has been a focal point since about 1740, when two roads were developed, one from the future site of Alexandria to the mouth of Pimmit Run, the other from Awbury’s Ferry (at the site of Rosslyn) to The Falls Church. The first came to be known as the Glebe Road because it passed the glebe of Fairfax Parish and in order to distinguish it from other roads to the Falls. The second was eventually named Wilson Boulevard in honor of President Wilson. The intersection became known as Ball’s Crossroads when Ball’s Tavern was established here in the early 1800s.
In 1896, an interurban electric trolley line, the Fairfax line of the Washington, Arlington and Falls Church Railway (WA&FC), began operating north of the crossroads along the present route of Fairfax Drive, whose name derives from that of the trolleys' final destination, Fairfax City. Construction of the trolley line, which branched at Clarendon to serve both Rosslyn and downtown Washington, D.C., temporarily shifted much of the area's development away from the crossroads.
A historical marker that stands near the northwestern corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stafford Street, one block east of the Ballston Metrorail station (which is at the former site of the Ballston trolley station) states:
By 1900, a well-defined village called Central Ballston had developed in the area bounded by the present-day Wilson Boulevard, Taylor Street, Washington Boulevard, and Pollard Street. More diffuse settlement extended westward to Lubber Run and southward along Glebe Road to Henderson Road.
The track of the Washington, Arlington, and Falls Church Electric Railroad ran along what is now Fairfax Drive; the Ballston Station was at Ballston Avenue, now North Stuart Street. Here Clements Avenue, now Stafford Street, divided to pass on either side of an old Ball family graveyard.
The Ball family burial ground on Washington Boulevard has a historical marker as well, stating:
Old Ball Family Burial Ground. This is one of Arlington's oldest family burial grounds. Ensign John Ball (1748–1814), a veteran of the American Revolution (Sixth Virginia Infantry) is buried here. John Ball was the son of Moses Ball, who was one of the pioneer settlers in the Glencarlyn area of Arlington. Also buried here in the cemetery are many of John Ball's direct and collateral descendants including John Wesley Boldin, a Civil War soldier (Company D, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry) and members of the Marcey, Stricker, Donaldson, and Croson families.
In 1912, a competing interurban electric trolley line, the Washington and Old Dominion Railway constructed a branch that crossed the WA&FC near the west end of Ballston (then called Lacey), near a WA&FC car barn and railyard. Interstate 66 and the Bluemont Junction Trail now follow the route of this railroad branch between Rosslyn and the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park in Bluemont Park. 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.
In 1951, the Parkington Shopping Center opened at the intersection formerly known as Balls Crossroads on the site of the present Ballston Quarter. Parkington was anchored by the headquarters location of the Hecht Company, and was reputed to have the largest parking garage in the U.S. when it opened.
Ballston began to redevelop rapidly after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) opened the Orange Line's Ballston Metrorail station on December 1, 1979, and when an entrance to Interstate 66 (I-66) opened on December 22, 1982.
Ballston also contains a section known as Virginia Square which takes its name from the Virginia Square Shopping Center that once stood there. Virginia Square is served by WMATA's Virginia Square-GMU station. Sometimes the area is collectively known as Ballston-Virginia Square. 
Ballston and Virginia square Washington metro stations are within a 1/2 mile walking distance from each other.
Shopping and recreation
The MedStar Capitals Iceplex, constructed on top of the Ballston Quarter parking garage, houses the offices, 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) training facility, for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL)y. In addition to the ice hockey team's training center, the Iceplex features two indoor NHL-sized ice rinks, office space, locker rooms, a full-service pro-shop, a Capitals team store, a snack bar, and space for special events. The facility provides public skating, figure skating, and hockey programs for youths and adults. Virginia Square Shopping Center once operated in the now named Virginia Square section of the Ballston neighborhood.
Ballston hosts the annual Taste of Arlington food festival, a street fair which has been produced each spring since 1987. The 2009 Taste of Arlington event featured over 40 area restaurants offering portions of their cuisine to ticket-holders, and drew approximately 15,000 people. The regional business development organization, the Ballston Business Improvement District (Ballston BID), (formerly the Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership which is inclusive of the Virginia Square district of Ballston), other area community development organizations, and the National Science Foundation organize the festival. Ticket sales at the event raise funds for area charities.
The neighborhood has a concentrations of scientific research institutes, research and development agencies, think tanks, lobbying-advocacy groups, trade associations, government agencies, and aerospace manufacturing and defense industry companies, as well as engineering, management, and public sector consulting firms.
Major employers in Ballston include:
- Accenture (HQ)
- Applied Research Associates (ARA)
- AvalonBay Communities
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- CACI International
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate)
- Evolent Health
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Office of Naval Research
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
- National Highway Institute
- Software Engineering Institute
- Privia Health
- Willis Towers Watson
The neighborhood is home to Washington-Liberty High School. Ballston is also home to several university facilities, including:
- In January 2014, the Arlington County Board approved MU's site plan application to redevelop the campus with two new buildings, a nine-story office and educational building for Marymount University and a 15-story multifamily building with 272 residential units, by Arlington developer, the Shooshan Company. The new campus opened in August 2017.
- A Virginia Tech research center.
- A George Washington University graduate education center.
- A George Mason University satellite campus and graduate center in the Virginia Square section of Ballston primarily used by the university's Antonin Scalia Law School, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason School of Business, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
- Chung, Payton (August 20, 2021). "Which neighborhood in Greater Washington has the highest density? Hint: It's not in DC". Greater Greater Washington. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
- ""Ballston" marker". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- ""The Ball-Carlin Cemetery" marker". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
- "Early Settlement". Arlington, Virginia: Arlington Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- ""Ball's Crossroads" marker". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
- "Buckingham Community Civic Association Neighborhood Conservation Plan" (PDF). Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. October 2006. p. 28. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- "Old Ball Family Burial Ground Historical Marker". Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- ""Lacey Car Barn" marker". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- (1) "Background: I-66 History". Idea-66. Virginia Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2012-01-23. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
(2) Kozel, Scott M. (2007-04-26). "Interstate 66 and Metrorail Vienna Route". Roads to the Future. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- (1) "About Ballston". Arlington, Virginia: Ballston BID. 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
(2) "Ballston-Virginia Square Village Website". Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership. 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- "Ballston Common is now Ballston Quarter. It doesn't look anything like the original mall". WTOP. 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
- "Welcome to Kettler Capitals Iceplex". Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Arlington, Virginia. November 24, 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
- "Kann's Virginia Set for Friday Opening," The Washington Post, Nov 14, 1951, p. 15.
- (1) "About Ballston". Arlington, Virginia: Ballston BID. 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2018-11-13. (2) "Ballston-Virginia Square Village Website". Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership. 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- Taste of Arlington. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- Potts, Maurisa. "15,000 Foodies Come Out for Taste of Arlington". Local Kick. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
- Lavanya Ramanathan, "Fun You Can Sink Your Teeth Into" The Washington Post (2009-05-15).
- "Introducing Ballston Center". Arlington County, Virginia: Marymount University. Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- (1) The Shooshan Company
(2) "1000 N. Glebe Road – Marymount University at Ballston Center: Site Plan #64". Projects & Planning. Arlington County, Virginia, government. 2014-02-28. Archived from the original on 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
(3) "Arlington County Board Approves Plan to Redevelop Marymount University's "Blue Goose" Site". News Release. Arlington County Government Newsroom. 2014-01-25. Archived from the original on 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
- "Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington". Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region. Virginia Tech. 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- "Graduate Education Center, Arlington". College of Professional Studies. The George Washington University. Archived from the original on 2014-03-20. Retrieved 2013-10-30.