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The Hill

Historical Marker

The Hill

A roughly five-block area of Arlington known as "The Hill" was the only addition specifically set aside for the city's African American residents. In the 1890s, the community began developing on land that once belonged to Martin V. and Rebecca A. Thomas. Also during this time, several churches organized in the emerging community. The Church of God in Christ, Mt. Olive Baptist Church and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, now known as Armstrong Chapel AME, became leading institutions in the neighborhood. Mt. Olive, in particular, became a center for spiritual life while also hosting many community and social events. In 1907, Arlington resident Edward F. Wilkerson subdivided land known as the Wilkerson Addition that became the core of The Hill. Growth occurred in the following years as a vibrant community emerged including grocery stores, clubs and restaurants opening by the 1920s. Other important institutions included a school, which the county first established for Arlington's African American children in the 1890s. The last segregated school in The Hill, named for Booker T. Washington, was built in 1953 and closed as integration took place in the 1960s. Another vital part of the neighborhood was this park, which the city opened in the mid-1950s and named for George Stevens, principal of Booker T. Washington School. Although The Hill was originally a rural community, it became more densely populated and urban as the city grew out to meet it by the 1930s. From the mid-1940s through the 1960s, The Hill began to decline as job opportunities and social changes led residents to other areas. Today, The Hill has become an ethnically diverse community. (2006)


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THC State Marker

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