ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Contractors removed a cornerstone at Navy Annex Jan. 18, also known as The Federal Office Building No. 2 (FOB 2), setting in motion the scheduled demise to an historical Navy building located near Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
Contractors grinded away at the cornerstone in coordination with the Department of the Navy overseeing the stone's removal.
According to Michael A. Dangerfield, special assistant to the director at Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) Facilities Services Directorate, the land where the historical building has been located will be used for a proposed heritage center and black history museum along with additional space for Arlington National Cemetery.
The Navy Annex was originally built as a warehouse in 1941. The main structure was never intended as a permanent building. The building overlooks the Pentagon and has housed Marine Corps headquarters and many Navy offices.
FOB 2 is adjacent to the land that was the site of Freedman's Village, established at the time of the Civil War.
"The approximately 3.5 acres of land between the Navy Annex and Arlington National Cemetery was viewed by as potential acreage for provision of a future Black Heritage Museum commemorating the former Freedman's Village," said Dangerfield.
The former Freedman's Village was established during the Civil War under the direction of General Howard, director of the Freedman's Bureau to provide housing, education, and employment for freed blacks.
Dangerfield noted the FY-2000 Defense Authorizations Act included provisions that would eventually transfer the 37-acre Navy Annex and another eight acres from Fort Myer to Arlington National Cemetery.
The secretary of defense, as authorized by Congress, will transfer approximately 42 acres currently occupied by the Navy Annex/FOB2, the Navy Exchange Service Station, and associated parking lots to the secretary of the Army for Arlington National Cemetery use.
The Navy Annex/FOB2, the Navy Exchange Service Station, and associated parking lots are to be demolished and all improvements removed from the property. The land will then be restored to open green space for cemetery use.
Arlington County and the Department of Defense may exchange equivalent acreage within the land transfer area, which will allow for the removal of Southgate Road from Columbia Pike to Gate 3 of Joint Base Myers-Henderson Hall, provide a site for a museum that honors the history of the freedmen's village and county heritage, and also provide for the building of a new access road from Gate 3 to Columbia Pike, along the western edge of the Navy Annex/FOB2 complex.
"After nearly a decade of talks between Arlington County representatives and the federal government there will finally be a land swap with Arlington National Cemetery," said Dangerfield. "Today marks the beginning of all the change and loss of the Navy Annex. It's time and I believe the building has been quite vacant for some time."
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