Southern side of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail near the southwestern corner of Lee Highway and Fairfax Drive
Historic Designation: Local Historic District, Sept. 20, 2014
Current Use of Property:
Benjamin Elliott’s Coal Trestle was built in 1926 in the East Falls Church neighborhood
of Arlington County. Small-scale commercial coal trestles like this one were
instrumental in the processing of coal for local delivery to residences and businesses. This
coal trestle is a visual reminder of a critical early 20th-century energy infrastructure
that fueled the electrification and development of Arlington County and the region. There
are no other coal trestles extant within the County.
The significance of Benjamin Elliott’s Coal Trestle is augmented by its association with
the W&OD Railroad. The rail line provided a variety of services over its extensive period
of operation, including the transportation of goods, freight service and passenger service
to Washington, D.C. The tracks laid for the coal trestle in ca. 1926 are the last remaining
visible rails or tracks associated with the W&OD Railroad in Arlington County.
The coal trestle, along with its remaining railroad ties and tracks, is one of only a
few remaining early-twentieth-century industrial structures along the W&OD
Trail. In addition, the trestle’s rails and ties are the last remnants of the former
W&OD Railroad’s tracks that remain visible in their original location. While
foliage partially obscures the trestle for much of the year, the structure remains a
visual feature along the trail. It is a reminder of the early industrial/commercial nature of the East Falls Church section of Arlington County, the importance of small-scale businesses to the
delivery of coal to residences and businesses, the impact of the W&OD Railroad (and its
predecessors) to the transportation history and physical development of Arlington, and
local and regional railroad history.
Joseph Cornelius Elliott (1849-1924): Started the first known coal business at 6873 Lee Highway.
Benjamin Franklin Elliott (1882-1940): Subsequent owner of the coal yard who had the existing coal trestle built.
Arthur Shreve (1894-1953): Original co-owner of Robert Shreve Fuel Company.
John Shreve (1896-1947): Original co-owner of Robert Shreve Fuel Company.
Zebee Jacob Groves: General contractor in East Falls Church.