Arlington’s Bizarre Gas Station-Church May Be Headed to Kingdom Come

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The county recently received an application to demolish “Our Lady of Exxon.”

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Photograph by Arya Hodjat.

Arlington residents may soon need to find somewhere else to praise the Lord and fill up on their gas in one stop.

Last month, developers for the Arlington Temple United Methodist Church—perhaps better known to local residents as “Our Lady of Exxon,” owing to the fact that the church was built on top of a gas station, now a Sunoco—submitted a demolition permit to the county board, according to the Arlington Permitting website.

The church, located at 1830 Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn, will be redeveloped into two mixed-use residential towers by the Northern Virginia-based Snell Properties. The redevelopment will include 740 new housing units—and a rebuilt gas station and church, according to a 2021 press release from Snell.

The Arlington Temple United Methodist Church.
Photograph by Arya Hodjat.

Snell Properties did not immediately respond to Washingtonian’s request for comment.

The holy alliance between church and station began in the 1960s, according to the Washington Post. Arlington-based lumber magnate William P. Ames wanted to build a hotel and church on the property of his lumber yard, located in the heart of a then rapidly redeveloping Rosslyn.

Yet there was already a gas station on the site where Ames wanted to build his hotel. So he cut a deal, according to the Post: the church would be built on top of the gas station and adjacent to the hotel, now the Arlington Hyatt.

The church’s congregation has temporarily relocated to 1701 N. Bryan Street in Arlington, but it plans to move back into the Rosslyn site when construction is completed, a spokesperson for the church told Washingtonian.

Arya Hodjat

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