Cherrydale Library has always reflected the civic engagement of its neighborhood. It was formed in 1922 by the Cherrydale League of Women Voters and the Patrons League (the old name for the Parent-Teachers' Association), making it the oldest community-initiated Library in Arlington County. Many of the founders or their spouses were members of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, which held several fund-raising events to establish and later enlarge the original 1922 book collection. Until 1938, the library occupied a room in the old Cherrydale Schoolhouse, site of today’s Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center on N. Nelson Street. In 1938 Cherrydale Library moved to a little building at 3828 Lee Highway, site of The Bromptons today.
From January 1941 until October 1942, the library was located in a corner of the room above the Cherrydale Fire House. It then moved to 4010 Lee Highway, where Essy’s Carriage House now stands. The library was here only until 1946.
During 1946-61, Cherrydale Library occupied the former Cherrydale Children’s Clinic at 4006 Lee Highway, which, if it were still standing, would sit in the center of N. Quincy Street, adjacent to today’s Essy’s Carriage House. The building was demolished in 1961 to make room for Quincy Street when the Five Corners intersection was rearranged.
The campaign to build a new library building began in 1957, when eight north Arlington PTA’s and eight local civic associations formed a Northeast Library Committee. These civic associations were Bellevue Forest, Cherrydale (which then included Maywood), Donaldson Run, Gulf Branch, Lyon Village, North Highlands, Northwest, and Parkway. Led by Harvey Lampshire, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, the committee’s representatives -- between 1957 and the groundbreaking for the current Cherrydale Library building on September 4, 1960 -- made over 50 presentations before the County Board to press for a new library building.
The architect chosen for the new building was J. Russell Bailey of Orange, Virginia, a specialist in library design. Bailey identified his chief challenges as building into a steeply sloped wooded site and maintaining the residential scale of the surrounding neighborhood. He and his associate Judson Gardner strove to save all the trees they could and to leave as much natural terrain as possible. Their enduringly attractive design has been remarkably energy efficient, making Cherrydale Library one of the “greenest” buildings in the Arlington government inventory to this day. The Bailey and Gardner firm ultimately designed some 185 libraries throughout the eastern United States, including those of Yale University, the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, the original Arlington Central Library (1961-90) on Quincy Street, the original Westover Library, the original Shirlington Library, and Glencarlyn Library.
The building contractor for the new Cherrydale Library building was the Earl K. Rosti Company. The chief construction challenge was the carefully engineered retaining wall that forms the rear wall of the library. It has endured for 50 years. On January 13, 1962, the Northern Virginia Builders’ Association gave the Rosti company its annual “best institutional project” award.
When the new building for Cherrydale Library opened at its current location on August 14, 1961, it became the first purpose-built branch library in Northern Virginia (Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria). Today it remains the oldest existing library in Arlington County. Throughout its existence, few Arlington government institutions have provided more hours of pleasure to more North Arlington families for less taxpayer money than Cherrydale Library.
Greg Embree and Kathryn Holt Springston
- Adcock, Hazel Ward, “Library Walk Is Beautiful,” Northern Virginia Sun, July 24, 1961.
- “Another First for Arlington,” Washington Post, September 5, 1960, p. B9.
- “Another Winner in Northern Virginia,” Washington Post, February 24, 1962, p. B4.
- “Awards Go To Northern Va. Builders,” Washington Post, January 14, 1962, p. B11.
- Bailey, J. Russell and J. Morgan Gardner, “Cherrydale Branch Library in Arlington,” Virginia Record, May 1964, pp. 14-15.
- Gardner, Judson M., telephone conversation with Greg Embree, July 2010.
- Holt, Kathryn, Cherries, Characters, and Characteristics: A History of Cherrydale (Sterling, Virginia: Sterling Press, 1986).
- O’Neill, Jeff, “Ceremony Signals Start on Cherrydale Library,” Washington Post, September 5, 1960.
- Rose, Jeanne, “A Brief History of the Arlington County Libraries,” Arlington Historical Society pamphlet, AHS-1,4 28-38, October 1960.
The County Government contemplated closing Cherrydale Library in 1977, 1992, and 1998, but each time the Board reconsidered after citizens registered their opposition. In 1992, the County Board removed the proposal from consideration at the February public budget hearing. In 1998, the proposal remained under consideration throughout the budget process.
During the election campaign for the County Board in the fall of 1998, the citizen volunteers who organized the defense of the library formed themselves into Citizens for Cherrydale Library (CCL) and asked each candidate for his or her views about library funding, neighborhood LIBRARies, and Cherrydale Library in particular. CCL conducted identical pre-election queries in later years. Click on the year to read each candidate's answers in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, February 2003, October 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 .
In 2009, the county government sought to reduce Cherrydale Library's operation to three days per week. The proposal remained under consideration throughout the budget process. At its final public meeting on the FY2010 Budget, the County Board decided to reduce Cherrydale Library's weekly schedule by eight hours.
Since 2009, CCL has discontinued its written preelection queries of County Board candidates and instead has sought to note their positions on Cherrydale Library as reflected in their public remarks.
In the budget for Fiscal Year 2011 that Arlington County adopted on April 24, 2010, Cherrydale Library was closed on Tuesdays but regained its pre-2010 schedule on Thursdays and Fridays. This new schedule began on July 1, 2010. In the FY2011 budget, every branch library except Cherrydale and Glencarlyn absorbed a cut of eight hours per week in its operation. Because Cherrydale and Glencarlyn LIBRARies had already suffered an eight-hour loss in last year's budget cycle, they were exempt from additional cuts in FY2011. The Citizens for Cherrydale Library regretted the necessity of these cuts but endorsed the fairness of how they were apportioned in a letter to each member of the County Board and in remarks by CCL President Michael Gessel at the Public Budget Hearing on March 23, 2010.
During the budget process for FY2012, CCL President Gessel spoke at the public budget hearing on March 22, 2011. Click here to read his remarks. The budget that was ultimately adopted gave Cherrydale Library three more hours per week. On April 23, 2011, the LIBRARies Department announced that Cherrydale Library would get these three hours added to its Thursday schedule, allowing it to stay open until 9 pm on Thursday evenings.
Pictures of the National Rally for Libraries, June 29, 2010Library advocates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. met on June 29, 2010 on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Representatives of Citizens for Cherrydale Library were there! Click here to see a few photos of the event.
Cherrydale Library Celebrates
Its 50th Year on Military Road!
Read the Letter of Commendation that was presented during the anniversary celebration to Cherrydale Library by Elenor Hodges, Executive Director of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.
Read Rep. James Moran's speech on the importance of libraries to vibrant neighborhoods and a healthy democracy.
See what Charlie Clark of the Falls Church News-Press wrote about the celebration on July 12, 2011.
Here's the write-up by Michael McMorrow in the Arlington Connection, July 13-19, 2011.
The story spreads! The Orange County Review noted our celebration in an article published on September 15, 2011.
50th-Anniversary Tee Shirt InstalledLook for it above the front exit of the library, next to the clock.
Over Library Entrance in 2011
If you'd like to own a piece of community history, here's your chance. These tee shirts are available in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large, for the low price of $15. You can also buy a cap for $10 to complete the ensemble. Contact us at email@example.com to order yours today. Free delivery to anyone in the 22201, 22203, or 22207 zip code areas. All proceeds go to Citizens for Cherrydale Library.
County Board Candidates Support Libraries in January 2012 DebateAt the candidates' debate at the Old Cherrydale Firehouse on Wednesday evening, January 18, 2012, six County Board candidates addressed the issue of funding for Arlington County's public libraries. Green Party candidate Audrey Clement specified in her opening and closing remarks that she believed all public libraries in Arlington should be kept open seven days a week and fully funded. During the Q & A, she and Democratic Party Candidate Libby Garvey identified public Libraries as core functions of local government whose funding and maintenance should take precedence over new public projects. Democratic Party Candidate Peter Fallon and Democratic Candidate Terron Sims each stressed that the County Board should not try to balance a billion-dollar budget by nickel and diming public libraries. Melissa Bondi said Arlington's Libraries--which she strongly supported--need to be maintained and improved; she specifically advocated an overall capital improvement of Cherrydale Library. Democratic Party Candidate Kim Klingler recounted that the first library she used after moving to Arlington was the Cherrydale Branch. To pay for the weeklong operation of Arlington's libraries, Audrey Clement would cut funding from such projects as the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar line and the Artisphere. The remaining candidates shared the view that adequate funding for libraries could be gained by better overall strategic planning and greater efficiencies in County management.
Exemplary Photo Exhibit"The Wired Photography of Ron Cogswell" was on exhibit at Cherrydale Library from January 3 to April 3, 2012. Click here to see photos taken during the spectacular opening reception for the public on the library's balcony on January 5. On February 24, Ron spoke about his exhibit to photography students from neighboring H-B Woodlawn School. Here's a photo.
"Cathedral of Flight - Terminal C, National Airport"
Cherrydale Library Gets Its Tuesday Hours Back!Note: This text box ran on the home page of this site from April 29 to May 17, 2012.
According to the proposed FY 2013 budget recently adopted by the County Board, Cherrydale Library--starting on July 1--will again be open on Tuesdays. The published schedule indicates the library will be in operation Monday through Saturday, with evening hours Monday through Thursday.
You owe this victory all to yourselves. This restoration stems from your letters, e-mails, and phone calls to the County Board; from your having signed the on-line petition; from your attendance at successive public budget hearings; and, for several of you, from your speeches at the public budget hearing in March 2009. Congratulations! You won!
A quick message from you to the County Board thanking them for adopting the Libraries Department's proposed budget would help bolster Cherrydale Library's cause even further. Here's their contact info:
Arlington County Board
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201
"Taste of Cherrydale" a Huge SuccessIt started at Cherrydale Library on Saturday, May 26, 2012, and drew over 200 participants. For photos of the fun, click on Taste of Cherrydale.
Participants received a nice book bag with the "Friends of the Library" logo and were entered into the drawing for a grand prize from Lebanese Taverna, a fifty-dollar gift certificate.
"Eternal Washington" Photo Exhibit, April 3-July 3, 2012"Eternal Washington: Black and White Photographs by Greg Embree" was on exhibit at Cherrydale Library from April 3 through July 3.
More photos by Greg appear in his book, Eternal Washington, available at Blurb.com.
Grant Memorial, June 18, 2008The opening reception on April 12 on the Library's balcony was a lot of fun.
The Edible Book Contest on Saturday, December 1, 2012, Was an Incredible Success and Lots of Fun!See the photos of the contest winners and the creative entries from all age groups.
Cherrydale Library Commemorated on Lee Highway Art Panels, February 18, 2013These historic art panels, located on the median strip of Lee Highway at Monroe Street, were created by local artist Jarrett Ferrier, whose design was selected by neighborhood voters after a lengthy competition organized by Maureen Ross, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association. The panels depict the past and celebrate the present of the Cherrydale and Maywood neighborhoods.
To view more photos of the art panels, click here. To see additional information about Cherrydale Branch Library that supplements what's on the art panel sign, click here. To learn more about Harvey Lampshire, the gentleman depicted on the Cherrydale Branch Library panel, click here.
2013 Reading and Running Program at Cherrydale LibraryCherrydale Library and DC Road Runners partnered in the spring of 2013 to offer the second annual “Reading and Running” program. It was geared for virtually any healthy adult looking to slowly build from walking to running a 5K race in just nine weeks! The goal was participation in the DC Road Runners 2013 Bluemont 5K, which took place July 17.
Taking part in "Reading and Running" cost nothing and included:
- Starting on May 14, group run/walks on Tuesday & Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. from Cherrydale Library.
- Complete training plan and training tips from RRCA-certified coaches.
- Seminars and discussions on nutrition and physical activity.
- Inspirational reading list & book discussion.
- Families were welcome!
- Motivation and camaraderie only found in a training group!
Candidates for County Board Affirm Support for Branch Libraries, February 19, 2014Before and after the candidates' debate at the original Cherrydale firehouse on Wednesday, February 19, 2014, several officers of Citizens for Cherrydale Library spoke with candidates Alan Howze (D) and John Vihstadt (I), each of whom expressed his support for Arlington's system of branch libraries. Each lives near Westover Library, which they say they and their families use regularly.
The Second Edible Book Contest on Saturday, March 1, 2014, Was Another Day of Family Fun!See the photos of the contest winners and other pictures of the event.
It was a great day of food, music, art, and prizes!
Sat., May 31, Noon - 5 pmTo see photos of the festival, click here.
Stuffed Animal Sleepover, Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 4:30-5:30 pm.
It was a night to remember for several furry friends–whose owners heard all the stories!Cherrydale Branch Library offered a pajama storytime and craft for kids, who each brought a favorite stuffed animal along. The kids were willing to let him or her spend the night away from home.
At the end of the storytime on Wednesday, the kids said “good night” to their stuffed animals and headed home to get their rest.
The kids returned on Aug. 21 to pick up their stuffed friends and learn all about the fun that went on in the library during the sleepover.
The sleepover was for stuffed animals only. Human friends spent the night at their homes.
Yosemite and Beyond:
Color Landscape Photography
by Robin Kent
Robin's exhibit was on display at Cherrydale Library from July 9 through October 6, 2014. To read more about Robin Kent, click here.
County Board CandidatesIn October 2014 the officers of Citizens for Cherrydale Library met separately with each of the two candidates for county board to introduce ourselves and explain our organization's history and aims. On October 17 candidate Alan Howze (D) expressed his support for maintaining Cherrydale Library and for preserving a robust system of branch LIBRARies in general. He indicated that he and his family were frequent and appreciative users of Westover Library. On October 27, county board member and candidate for reelection John Vihstadt (I) pledged to defend Cherrydale Library and its building, whose historic character and architecture he values. Like Mr. Howze, Mr. Vihstadt pointed out that he and his wife regularly use and deeply appreciate Westover Library.
on Cherrydale Library,
Should Cherrydale LibraryIn May 2014, the Arlington County manager presented a report to the County Board on 24 possible sites for affordable housing in the County. The report identified Cherrydale Library as meeting the criteria. Though the report has been available for several months, only now is it getting wide attention.
Be a Site for Affordable Housing?
More than 100 people showed up at "Open-door Monday" on October 20, 2014, with County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes on the balcony of Cherrydale Library. Ms. Hynes said that Cherrydale Library's presence on the list of sites that county staff is considering for affordable housing development does not mean that Cherrydale Library will be razed. Instead, the library building could be augmented with space for affordable housing, making the building multi-use.
Ms. Hynes said the three messages from those attending the meeting that she would convey to her fellow board members and the county manager are:
1. Cherrydale Library is a valued institution within the community.
2. Cherrydale Library is not an appropriate site for affordable housing.
3. It was a mistake to have included Cherrydale Library on the list of sites under consideration for affordable housing.
The Citizens for Cherrydale Library organization urges all library supporters -- even those who attended last night's meeting and who voiced their opinions -- to go to the county's web site and register their views about Cherrydale Library's presence on the list of sites considered for affordable housing. The deadline for public comments is October 31.
Thank you to everyone who showed up at the October 20 meeting and who spoke in defense of our beloved library. It is because of citizen involvement such as we saw last night that our library has survived all these years. If you weren't able to make it to the meeting, you can still weigh in on the web site listed above, and we encourage you to do so.
Letter from Mary HynesCounty Board Vice-Chair Mary Hynes on October 28 sent the following letter to Michael Gessel, president of Citizens for Cherrydale Library, and asked him to convey it to all Cherrydale Library supporters. We present the letter below in its entirety.
Regarding Cherrydale Library
and Affordable Housing
Dear Cherrydale Library supporter,
Thank you for sharing your concern about the Cherrydale Branch Library's inclusion in the County Manager’s report on Public Land for Public Good: A Preliminary Review of County-Owned Parcels to Identify Sites Where the Potential for Development of Affordable Housing Should be Studied Further. This report was done as a staff-only assessment of County-held land, to ascertain whether any of these public lands might be considered for affordable housing in the future. I have taken the liberty of sharing your comments with my colleagues. I support the library and have no interest in closing it.
I have gone back, as promised October 20 at the Open Door Meeting at the Cherrydale Branch Library, to look holistically at the Tier III sites (where the library is included) on page 9 of the County Manager’s report. I applied the following criteria in my analysis:
- If a public building already exists on a site, is the building site and configuration on its face sufficient to accommodate an added use and the necessary associated parking?
- Would using this site for housing allow protection of any existing park or natural area?
- Is this site included in the approved 2015-2024 CIP?
For most of the Tier III sites, the answer is "no" to two of my three criteria. For that reason, I support removing all of the Tier III sites on page 9 from any further consideration.
As you know, the DRAFT guidelines are available for public comment online through this Friday October 31. The Long Range Planning Committee of the Planning Commission is meeting Tuesday, October 28th, to review comments received to date (which are available online) and begin its consideration of possible next steps. We expect a report from the Planning Commission at our December meeting. As discussion, particularly around Tier II proceeds, we will provide members of the public with multiple opportunities to weigh in.
My colleagues and I recognize that we must use our limited land wisely and efficiently to meet a number of pressing community needs: schools, parks, libraries, other community facilities, and affordable housing. Thank you for your comments; we have shared them with the staff consolidating feedback for the Long Range Planning Committee's review.
We encourage you to stay engaged in the process.
Vice-Chair, Arlington County Board
"The Roof of the World: Photos of Nepal by Kenneth Chadwick"Ken's photo exhibit was on display at Cherrydale Library from January 7 through April 6, 2015.
Taylor School Art ExhibitElizabeth Ashley's 5th graders at Taylor Elementary School looked at aerial photographs of different land masses around the world and used them as inspiration for these oil pastel abstract paintings. Their work hung from the library balcony during January-April 2015.
Paradise Through a Pinhole: Forest Photography by Scott SpeckScott Speck exhibited his remarkable landscape and nature photographs, all taken with various pinhole cameras, at Cherrydale Library from April 8 to June 29, 2015. Scott gave a well-received lecture on pinhole photography on Saturday, April 11. Click here to view photos of Scott's presentation.
"Wild Things! Drawings by Antonios Perros"An exhibit of Tony's pastel, conté crayon, pen and ink, and multimedia images of Nature's most ferocious beasts was on display at Cherrydale Library during July 1 - August 4, 2015.
To read about the artist, click here.
Robin Kent is a fine arts photographer known for his dramatic images of Washington, D.C. and, more recently, unique locations such as the high altitude monarch preserves in central Mexico, night photography of the Milky Way in remote areas of Yosemite National Park, and the frozen landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula. His photographs are in the collections of major corporations, local business organizations, and individual collectors. His training has included landscape photography from the late Galen Rowell, founder of Mountain Light Photography, advanced printing techniques from Mac Holbert, a co-founder of Nash Editions, and fine arts photography at NOVA and the Smithsonian Institution. He is President of Great Falls Studios, a consortium of 100-plus artists in Great Falls, Virginia. He is represented by Art Matters in Glen Echo, Maryland, and by Artists Circle Fine Art in North Potomac, Maryland. More of his work can be seen at his website, www.photographybykent.com .
Ice and Sky: Images of Antarctica
Photographs by Robin KentClick on the photo at right.
Seventeen spectacular photographs of the world's least known continent by an acclaimed Washington-area fine art photographer were on display at Cherrydale Library during August 6-November 2, 2015.
Click here to see photos of Robin's opening reception and slide presentation on the library balcony, August 11, 2015.
The Grand ReviewClick on the photo at right.
Photographs by Greg Embree of the reenactment of the Union armies' Grand Review were on display at Cherrydale Library during November 3, 2015-February 1, 2016. The Grand Review was a parade of Union soldiers in May 1865 down Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate the victorious conclusion of the Civil War. The reenactment of that parade was held on May 17, 2015, involving more than 1,500 participants and crowning the four-year Civil War Sesquicentennial. The color photos in this exhibit celebrated that parade and the people who made it possible.
Photo Exhibit and Opening Reception: "Avian Visions: Bird Photography by Larry Meade, February 4-May 3, 2016"Click on the photo at right.
Larry Meade is president of the Northern Virginia Bird Club, which meets quarterly at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Lorcom Lane, near Cherrydale Library.
Click here to see photos of the casual reception Larry hosted on the balcony of Cherrydale Library, Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
"U.S. 17: Photographs by Catherine Powers"Click on the photo at left.
During May 5-August 1, 2016, Cherrydale Library displayed works by Catherine Powers, a professional portrait and fine art photographer whose pictures have been exhibited at galleries around the Washington area, including ArtSpace Herndon, Workhouse Art Center, Art in City Hall, Gallery West, Edison Gallery Place, and the Joseph Miller Center for Photographic Arts.
Her most recent project celebrated U.S. Highway 17, which begins in Winchester, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and ends in Punta Gorda, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, passing through five states and skirting marsh-lined rivers, pristine white beaches, quaint fishing villages, small farms, large cities, and historic communities.
Library's "Reading and Running" Participants Complete Bluemont 5K on July 20, 2016The Cherrydale Branch Library and DC Road Runners offered a training and reading program that 18 participants used to complete the DC Road Runners Club Bluemont 5K on July 20, 2016.
The 9-week Reading and Running program included:
- Group walks/runs - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Cherrydale, beginning May 17.
- Complete training plan and tips - Provided by Road Runners Club of America certified coaches.
- Seminars and discussions - On nutrition and physical activity.
- Reading – List of books to keep you in the running mood.
- Motivation – Inspiration and camaraderie found only in a training group.
Elizabeth Ashley's Art Students' WorkWorks by students from Art House 7 formed a stunning balcony display during much of 2016. It was organized by Cherrydale's Elizabeth Ashley, a onetime art teacher at Taylor Elementary School who now teaches at Art House 7.
Graced the Library Balcony Railing in 2016.
Click on the photo at left to see larger picture.
Iceland, a Changing Landscape--Photographs by Robin KentClick on the photo at right.
Cherrydale Library displayed photographs of Iceland by professional fine art photographer Robin Kent. Robin hosted an opening reception and artist's talk on Saturday, August 6, 2016. Click here to see photos of that event.
The exhibit ran from August 3 through October 31, 2016.
"Solitudes"Click on the photo at left.
Photographs by Sarah Hood Salomon
Cherrydale Library displayed images by professional fine art photographer Sarah Hood Salomon.
The exhibit's opening reception took place on the library balcony on Saturday, November 5, including an artist's talk.
The exhibit ran from November 3, 2016, through January 31, 2017.
Follow-on Exhibit by Elizabeth Ashley's Art StudentsNew works by students from Art House 7 graced the library balcony during late 2016/early 2017. The students' paintings were inspired by the Swiss artist Paul Klee. The exhibit was organized by Cherrydale's Elizabeth Ashley, a onetime art teacher at Taylor Elementary School who now teaches at Art House 7.
Click on the photo to see a larger image.
"Washington at Night"Click on the photo at right to view larger image.
Photographs by Greg Embree
Cherrydale Library's photo exhibit during February 2 - May 1, 2017 comprised images taken by Cherrydale photographer Greg Embree.
"Yellowstone"Click on the photo at left to view larger image.
Photographs by Deborah Jean Choupin
Cherrydale Library's current photo exhibit includes some spectacular wintertime photographs of sections of Yellowstone National Park accessible only by snowmobile.
The exhibit will run through July 31.
This site is maintained by Citizens for Cherrydale Library, a group of citizen volunteers seeking since 1998 to promote and preserve our most important neighborhood institution. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.