Bounded by South Dinwiddie Street, South Chesterfield Road, South Buchanan Street, South Culpeper Street, South 25th Street, South 24th Street, South 23rd Street and South 22nd Street.
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places, Aug. 31, 2006
Current Use of Property: Residential, commercial and institutional uses
The Claremont Historic District is a residential neighborhood that was originally developed between 1946 and 1954 to provide affordable housing for the large number of veterans returning from World War II.
Claremont was one of only a few all-frame subdivisions developed in the Washington, D.C., area during the World War II era, contrasting with the predominately brick houses of Arlington. It is the only planned neighborhood in Arlington that incorporated asbestos siding in its original construction. Claremont reflects a changing preference at the time for affordable, durable and available building materials that were a direct result of World War II shortages and new technologies. The neighborhood exhibits the combination of garden city planning, assembly-line building techniques and modern materials.
The architecture and planning of Claremont displays the principles encouraged by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and other planning authorities whose goal was to improve housing and planning standards across the country during the 1930s and 1940s. However, Claremont differed in that it did not demonstrate self-sufficiency as was common at the time. As a result, shopping centers and schools were not planned in conjunction with the neighborhood and the exclusion of these amenities demonstrates the rapid pace of development that tried to keep up with housing demands.
Mature trees surround the properties and paved sidewalks line the streets. In the 1980s, 23rdStreet South and 25thStreet South were closed to automobile access from King Street in Fairfax County due to concerns regarding traffic.
The houses built in Claremont between 1946 and 1949 were dominated by the Colonial Revival-style, including Cape Cod-style models. In 1954, ranch homes became prevalent.
There are 114 Colonial Revival houses. They have concrete block or poured concrete foundations and are constructed of wood framing originally clad with asbestos shingles. Exhibiting side-gabled roofs covered in asphalt shingles, the houses have an exterior-end brick, half-shouldered chimney with a corbelled cap. Flat wood frieze boards with cornice returns line the front facades. The off-centered entrances are ornamented with Colonial Revival-style wood door surrounds.
There are 125 Cape Cod houses in Claremont. The front facades are typically lined with a flat wood frieze board and cornice returns. The centered doors are ornamented with Colonial Revival-style door surrounds. Illustrating a historical precedence, the surrounds are varied from more modest and simplified representations to examples that reflect more high-style elements of the Colonial Revival style.
There are 36 Ranch houses, all one story high and three bays wide. Set on poured concrete foundations, the houses are constructed of wood framing with stretcher-bond brick veneers. The side-gabled roofs have overhanging eaves and are covered in asphalt shingles. The gables were originally clad in asbestos shingles, the majority of which have been re-clad with vinyl or aluminum siding. The houses have an interior-end brick chimney with a corbelled cap.
Gerald A. Freed
Claremont was planned by local developer Gerald A. Freed and the Claremont Development Corporation. Freed followed the success of his father, Allie Freed, whose vision of affordable housing created the nationally publicized and highly praised garden-apartment complex of Buckingham in Arlington from 1936 to 1953. With the help of Buckingham’s architects, Allan F. Kamstra and Albert D. Lueders, who worked closely with renowned garden city planners Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, Claremont displays the influence of these principles with its winding streets and its small, yet efficiently planned houses.
In 1954, Freed finally developed the last section of Claremont. These ranch houses demonstrate the changing trends in house designs due to a shift in consumer preferences and increasing incomes during the 1950s.