By Justin T. Carreno – February 20, 2020

President Wilson and Edith Galt pictured smiling while riding in car decorated with flowers.
President Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith Bolling Galt in December 1919. Source: Library of Congress

The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) was organized in 1898 and officially established in 1904. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century the need for a permanent fire house became apparent. In 1915, after years of site searches, the volunteers purchased a lot for $362 (approximately $9,500 in 2021) on Lee Highway for a new “Central Station House,” the name given to the same station that serves Cherrydale today. An active, community-wide fundraising campaign was launched. The original building, still located at 3900 Lee Highway, was literally constructed one brick at a time: a portion of the fundraising campaign involved the purchase of individual bricks for the structure that were identified by the purchaser’s name. CVFD and the campaign became so prominent that when the news spread across the river to Washington, DC, then President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson each proudly purchased a brick to support the first fire department in Arlington County. The new station house was officially dedicated with an elaborate banquet in 1920. It was officially operational in 1921, and in 1923, the stone nameplate was added to the front of the building.

Justin T. Carreno is a volunteer firefighter/EMT and serves as the Historian for the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department in Arlington, Virginia.


  • “Fire Fighting in Arlington County,” 1961, by Leslie L. Shelton
  • “Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan,” 2005
  • “The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department: A History,” 2014, Kathy Holt-Springston
  • Virginia Department of Historic Resources