New names for Lee Highway in Arlington narrowed to list of 20

Lee Highway — the stretch of U.S. Route 29 running east-west through Arlington County, Virginia — will get a new name.

The list of 20 possible replacement names has been announced, looking to change the moniker of the portion of U.S. 29 named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by Virginia’s General Assembly in 1922, which runs through Arlington.

With different names in different jurisdictions, U.S. 29 in Virginia runs from Rosslyn, to Bristol at the Tennessee border.

The Lee Highway Alliance on Monday said the list of 186 names suggested by the public had been narrowed down to 20.

“The 20 names under consideration are based on local historical figures, represent broad ideals, or highly local flora/fauna,” according to the task force overseeing the process.

  • Arcova  — an acronym for Arlington County, Va.
  • Ella Baker — a 20th century civil rights leader
  • James E. Browne — an organizer of the Arlington lunch counter sit-ins of 1960
  • Community
  • Dogwood — the state tree of Virginia
  • Equity
  • Green Way
  • John Glenn — former astronaut and Ohio senator who lived in Arlington
  • Harmony
  • Inclusive
  • Innovation
  • Justice
  • John M. Langston — abolitionist, and first Black member of Congress from Virginia
  • Mildred and Richard Loving — plaintiffs in Supreme Court case legalizing interracial marriage
  • Main Street
  • Leonard “Doc” Muse — opened the only Arlington pharmacy to welcome Black customers in 1952
  • Edward T. Morton — Northern Virginia’s first Black physician
  • Necostin — a Native American community that settled in the area long before European colonization in the 17th century
  • Unity
  • Maggie Walker — a teacher, and the first Black woman to charter a bank in U.S.

The task force’s website provides background on each possible name along with a public survey, which will be online through Nov. 30, to further narrow the potential replacements.

The chosen name will be followed by a still-to-be-determined road topology, such as Avenue, Boulevard, Drive or Street.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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