Days Gone and Days to Come
One thing Arlington has consistently retained is its sense of community, while also adapting to changes and growth. After interviewing Lynn and Sharon Dickson, they provided a fascinating glimpse into how Arlington’s history is interwoven with personal stories and how the community has transformed over time.
Lynn Dickson, now 82 years old, has been a part of Arlington since 1960. He and his wife, Sharon, have witnessed the town’s evolution firsthand. Lynn’s journey to Arlington began when his father’s construction business expanded northward, bringing the family to Arlington in the early 1960s. At that time, Arlington was a town of around 6,000 people, considerably smaller than it is now.
Arlington was once predominantly a logging town, with logging roads and mills dotting the landscape. The downtown area, though changed, still retains a historical charm. The Dickson’s reflect on the areas growth to its current population of around 20,000 people, with new businesses and infrastructure developments transforming Arlington into a thriving community.
Amidst the changes, what remains constant is Arlington’s close-knit community spirit. Lynn fondly remembers how the town used to be even smaller, where you could walk or bike around town, knowing almost everyone you met. There was a sense of security and familiarity that created a strong bond among residents.
Lynn and Sharon’s stories echo the sentiments of many long-time Arlington residents. They remember attending their church that had to meet in various locations. Other churches opened their doors to let them use the space, including American Legion Hall and even the Seventh Day Adventist building on Sundays.
Sharon recalls cherished memories of family traditions involving fishing and camping which is widely enjoyed by many families. She said one of their favorite things was “being close to nature, being able to get out and go fishing whenever we wanted. To be able to go hunting, within five minutes of the house.” These activities allowed their family to connect with nature and each other, creating bonds that have lasted through generations. The Arlington community is close to many natural beauties with rivers and hikes that many families still visit frequently to this day.
Despite the changes, some things have remained consistent. Sharon makes special mention saying, “Diane’s keeping it like it used to be.” Diane Krieg and others are working diligently to keep the small-town atmosphere alive, even as Arlington grows. The community’s effort to preserve its roots and maintain a sense of connection is seen daily and is still present in downtown businesses like The Stilly Diner, The Bluebird Cafe, and many others.
Arlington’s growth hasn’t come without challenges. The influx of people has brought about changes in schools, traffic patterns, and local traditions. A family favorite city tradition that still remains to this day is The Fourth of July parade which Sharon says “is always one of our kids’ favorite things to go to.” The town has continued to adapt to new demands while striving to maintain its sense of identity.
As Lynn and Sharon reflect on the unique charm of Arlington, they reminisce about their favorite local spots, often visiting the local diners and the once-popular Turkey House restaurant. Each of these places carries with it a piece of Arlington’s history and holds a special place in the hearts of its residents.
Lynn and Sharon Dickon’s stories, intertwined with the history of Arlington, provide a glimpse into the town’s transformation and its ongoing efforts to balance growth with maintaining a sense of community and tradition. Arlington’s ability to adapt while staying connected to its roots is a testament to the strength of its residents and the enduring spirit of the town. They recognize the best part of the community is unity and hope that no matter what changes come, that unity will remain.