[From the Penrose Neighborhood Association website]
Penrose is a residential neighborhood in central Arlington County. It is bounded by Arlington Boulevard to the north, Columbia Pike to the south, Washington Boulevard to the east, and South Fillmore Street/South Walter Reed Drive to the west. Penrose was first platted and subdivided in 1882 by William H. Butler and Henry Louis Holmes, prominent leaders in the African American community. Because of its close proximity to Freedman's Village and the lack of restrictive covenants, Penrose was initially home to a vast number of African Americans including renowned medical researcher Dr. Charles Drew. Penrose, also once known as Central Arlington, experienced significant growth after the turn of the 20th century with the arrival of the commuter railways, the advent of the automobile and the need for housing to support the burgeoning population flocking to the nation's capital. This population surge overwhelmed the largely rural neighborhood of Penrose, altering the demographic make-up and transforming it into a commuting suburb of Washington, D.C.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) components currently occupying the Arlington Service Center on S Courthouse Road will relocate to Fort Meade. Navy components will backfill the space vacated by DISA after minor construction and renovation work commencing in March 2011. Thereafter the facility will be known as the Naval Support Facility-Arlington (NSF). While the changes to NSF-Arlington will not pose a significant impact on the Penrose neighborhood, the Navy is actively dialoging with the community to ensure a smooth transition.