World War I monument in Cherrydale

lf you have lived for any length of time in Lyon Park, you know that Frank Lyon was one of the developers of Lyon Park.  His son, John Lyon, was killed serving in World War I.  The September 1, 1919, Monitor, had the following story.

John Lyon was killed in action on October 16, 1918.  He was a second lieutenant in the 29th Division in the Machine Gun Company of the 116th Infantry.

He was a graduate of Western High School, attended the University of Virginia for two years, was editor of the Alexandria County Monitor for two years, at the same time attending Georgetown Law School at night, but did not graduate because he went to France in May, just before he had completed his examinations.  He served one year with the American Ambulance Corps in France, and was assistant editor of Forest and Stream in New York.  He served six months on the Mexican border.  He entered the Army through the Alexandria Light Infantry, in which he volunteered as a common soldier, was promoted from corporal to sergeant and to second lieutenant, and reached France July 1918.[1]

In 1925, seven years after World War I ended, the Francis Wallis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution unveiled a memorial in memory of the Arlington boys killed in World War I.  The memorial was placed on the grounds of Cherrydale School, at Lee Highway and N. Nelson Street.  The event was well publicized and drew a large crowd.[2]  Lieut. John Lyon, U.S.A., was the first of the five names on the memorial plaque, possibly because his last name was first alphabetically.  Each Memorial Day since 1934, a formal ceremony honoring those named on the memorial was held.

The John Lyon VFW post annual memorial ceremony on November 11, 2015

The Cherrydale School was closed down in 1969 and torn down in approximately 1973 to make way for the Camelot Hall Nursing Home.[3]  The Veterans of Foreign Wars, John Lyon VFW Post 3150, moved the memorial to Lyon Park for “safe keeping during the construction of the Health Center.”[4]  Long-time Lyon Park neighbors remember that the memorial was located near the north entrance of the Community House approximately where a crape myrtle grows now near the sidewalk.  Memorial Day services were still conducted at the new location.

Meanwhile, the Camelot Nursing Home, now the Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center, was constructed.  The Cherrydale Citizens Association and John Lyon VFW Post 3150 eventually moved the memorial back to Cherrydale.  It was placed in a memorial garden on the grounds of the Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center, almost where it was before.  The Memorial Garden was rededicated in 1992.

Next time you’re on Lee Highway, stop by to see the World War I memorial at 3710 Lee Highway, near the corner of N. Nelson Street.

[1] Rose, Ruth P., “The Role of Frank Lyon and His Associates in the Early Development of Arlington County,” Arlington Historical Society Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 4, October 1976.

[2] Taylor, Judith A.  “History of Cherrydale School,” May 1971.

[3] “About Cherrydale,” www.cherrydale.net/

[4] Kathryn Holt Springston, correspondence with the author.

(The author of this article is Tracy Hopkins. The article was printed in the Lyon Park Citizen newsletter in 2011 and is used her with permission.  Tracy has been a member  of the AHS Board of Directors and is a docent at the Ball-Sellers House.)