Filled with a unique mix of housing, several parks, and a diverse population today, the Arlington County community of Nauck is also home to restaurants, grocery stores, and retailers. In addition, you’ll find several parks filled with playgrounds, sports courts, and green space for residents of the neighborhood to enjoy. Located in the southern part of the county, Nauck is known by some as Green Valley.
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Nack has quite a storied past. As the oldest African American neighborhood in Arlington, the area began attracting recently freed slaves from Freedman’s Village in the mid 1800s. By the late 1800s, it picked up its namesake from a former Confederate soldier named John Nauck. He purchased dozens of acres of farmland in the region, subdivided some of the land and began selling it off to other African American families.
An African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church also relocated from Freedman’s Village, which housed a public school. A few years later, an electric trolley line helped kick off even more growth in the neighborhood.
Racial segregation around the turn of the century halted any additional expansion efforts, but property owners in Nauck continued subdividing their land and bringing in more residents. Eventually, construction of The Pentagon and some of its surrounding roads led to the destruction of some older African American communities nearby.
This, in turn, drew some of the displaced residents to Nauck as well, increasing the neighborhood’s population once again, and stimulating its development. During World War II, some low-income housing was constructed by the federal government, but by the Mid-Century mark, much of Nauck was already built out.
Flashforward to more recent years, and developers have come in, demolished some of the older homes in Nauck, and replaced them with larger homes. Much of the development recently has primarily been happening along Shirlington Road.