Fort Myer Improvements – Arlington VA


Fort Myer is a US Army post adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery. Along with many other military installations throughout the country, it received significant funding and improvements from New Deal agencies.

One result was a new NCO housing area: “The NCO housing on Sheridan Avenue represents the effort to improve installations nation-wide. The Georgian and Colonial Revival elements of these buildings are typical of the construction on Army installations during this era.”   (Fort Myer, Virginia: Historic Landscape Inventory)

The “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects” at the National Archives describes WPA work on the site in 1940-41: “Construct water and sewer lines, septic tanks, and gutters; excavate, grade, and landscape grounds; and perform appurtenant and incidental work at Fort Myer; Improve buildings, facilities, and grounds at Fort Myers Army Post. Including painting buildings, systems, and utilities; installing electrical facilities and drain tile; grading, placing base, and surfacing roads; grading, filling, and draining areas; appurtenant and incidental work; Improve building, grounds, and facilities at the Fort Myer Army Post, including grading and draining areas, widening roadways by grading shoulders, extending storm sewers, painting stables, removing fences, performing appurtenant and incidental work; Improve and enlarge buildings and facilities and improve grounds at Fort Myer…includes rebuilding porches; fencing; planting and seeding; painting barracks; installing electrical outlets; providing curbs, gutter, and walks; grading; appurtenant and incidental work; Improve drainage facilities at the Fort Myer Army Post, including excavating, shoring trenches, laying pipe, backfilling, providing catch basin, and performing appurtenant and incidental work.”

Note: It is not entirely clear whether the index refers to already completed projects or only to planned projects, but it does establish that presidential approval had been given by the time of recording. As presidential approval was the last administrative step before a project proceeded, and WPA work occurred on many similar projects at this time, the project was most likely completed as described in the index. The Washington Post reported work underway at the site in 1940: “Fort Myer and Arlington Cantonment: One hundred and sixteen men rehabilitating buildings and all roadwork. Cost $100,000” (Washington Post, July 11, 1940). In 1941, the paper again reported WPA crews at work.

Source notes

Fort Myer, Virginia: Historic Landscape Inventory

National Archives, Record Group 69, “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects.”

“Navy Yard here to be extended,” Washington Post, August 3, 1941, p. 6

“Army of 3,690 from WPA starts strengthening Capital defenses,” Washington Post, July 11, 1940, p. 5

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - on May 31, 2013.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Fort Myer
Arlington, VA 22211

Coordinates: 38.881621, -77.080292

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