Fairfax, Virginia

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This article is about the independent city surrounded by Fairfax County. For the county, see Fairfax County, Virginia. For the town in Culpeper County, formerly named Fairfax, see Culpeper, Virginia.
Fairfax, Virginia
Independent city
City of Fairfax
Official seal of Fairfax, Virginia
Seal
Location of Fairfax relative to Fairfax County, Virginia
Location of Fairfax relative to Fairfax County, Virginia
Coordinates: 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W / 38.85250°N 77.30417°W / 38.85250; -77.30417
Country United States
State Virginia
Founded 1805
Government
 • Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne
Area
 • Independent city 6.3 sq mi (16 km2)
 • Land 6.2 sq mi (16 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Population (2010)
 • Independent city 22,565
 • Density 3,616/sq mi (1,396/km2)
 • Urban 4,190,000
 • Metro 5,139,549
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 22030–22032
Area code(s) 703, 571
FIPS code 51-26496[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498476[2]
Website www.fairfaxva.gov

Fairfax (/ˈfɛr.fæks/ FERR-faks) (formerly Providence) is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,565.[3][4] It is the county seat of Fairfax County. Although it is an enclave of Fairfax County, the two are separate political entities.

Situated in the Northern Virginia region, Fairfax forms part of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

In 2009, Fairfax was ranked No. 3 in the "Top 25 Places to Live Well" by Forbes magazine.[5] Forbes commended Fairfax for its strong public school system, high median salary, and a rate of sole proprietors per capita that ranks it in the top 1% nationwide.

History[edit]

Fairfax Court House, Virginia, with Union soldiers in front and on the roof, June 1863

The city derives its name from Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron,[6] who was awarded five million acres (20,000 km²) in land located in Northern Virginia by King Charles. The area the City of Fairfax now encompasses was settled in the early 18th century by farmers from Virginia's Tidewater region.

The town was established as the Town of Providence by an act of the state legislature in 1805. It was officially renamed the Town of Fairfax in 1874, and became an independent city in 1961 (upon which it acquired its current name, the City of Fairfax).[7]

In 1904, a trolley line was built connecting Fairfax with Washington, D.C.

Important buildings[edit]

The former Fairfax County Courthouse is the oldest and most historic building in Fairfax. The first Fairfax courthouse was established in 1742 near present-day Tyson's Corner, and is the namesake for Old Courthouse Road.[8] It intersects with Gallows Road, which today is a major commuter route, but at the time was the road where condemned prisoners were led to the gallows at the old courthouse.[9] In 1752, the courthouse was moved to Alexandria, which offered to build the new courthouse at their own expense. (The reason the courthouse was moved from the Tyson's Corner location was because of "Indian hostilities" as noted on the stone marker at the northwest corner of Gallows Road and Route 123.) The courthouse operated there until 1790, when Virginia ceded the land where the courthouse was located for the creation of Washington, DC. The General Assembly specified that the new courthouse should be located in the center of the county, and was established at the corner of Old Little River Turnpike (now Main Street) and Ox Road (now Chain Bridge Road) on land donated by town founder Richard Ratcliffe.[10] The courthouse changed hands repeatedly during the civil war, and the first officer casualty, John Quincy Marr, occurred on the grounds.[11]

Its design was used as a prototype for many Virginia courthouses built between 1800 and 1850. The first meeting of the Fairfax Court was held April 21, 1800. During the American Civil War the Courthouse was used by the union forces as a military headquarters which resulted in the damage or loss of several records. The original building of the Fairfax County Courthouse was used as the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court until 2009, when that court moved to the expanded main courthouse. The old building is now used for office space.

One of the oldest buildings in the city is what used to be an elementary school. In 1873, the Fairfax Elementary School remains the oldest two-story building the city has ever seen and was built for the outrageous sum of $2,750. This building reflects a new era of free public education in Virginia and the growth of the Fairfax area. Throughout the years the school building was used for housing special education and adult education classes as well as a police academy training center. On July 4, 1992 however the building was renovated and opened as the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center.

The Old Town Hall is the social and architectural cornerstone of Fairfax; Joseph Edward Willard had it built in 1900 as a gift to Fairfax. It now houses the Huddleson Library, the Fairfax Art League, and can be rented out for weddings as well as business meetings.

Sites on the National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Site Year Built Address Listed
29 Diner (Tastee 29 Diner) 1947 10536 Fairfax Boulevard 1992
Blenheim circa 1855 3610 Old Lee Highway 2001
City of Fairfax Historic District Junction of VA 236 and VA 123 1987
Old Fairfax County Courthouse* (now the Juvenile Court) 1800 4000 Chain Bridge Road 1974
Old Fairfax County Jail* 1891 10475 Main Street 1981
Fairfax Public School (Old Fairfax Elementary School Annex) 1873 10209 Main Street 1992
Ratcliffe-Allison House 1812 10386 Main Street 1973
*The Old Courthouse and the Old Jail lie within the county exclave within the city.

Geography[edit]

Fairfax is located at 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W / 38.85250°N 77.30417°W / 38.85250; -77.30417 (38.852612, −77.304377). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2), virtually all of which is land.[12]

While the city is the county seat, a small portion of the county comprising the courthouse complex, the jail and a small area nearby is itself an exclave of the county within the city.[13][14][15] Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax.[16]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 373
1910 413 10.7%
1920 516 24.9%
1930 640 24.0%
1940 979 53.0%
1950 1,946 98.8%
1960 13,585 598.1%
1970 21,970 61.7%
1980 20,537 −6.5%
1990 19,622 −4.5%
2000 21,498 9.6%
2010 22,565 5.0%
Est. 2012 23,461 4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
1790-1960[18] 1900-1990[19]
1990-2000[20] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[21] of 2010, there were 22,565 people, 8,347 households, and 5,545 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,581.7 people per square mile (1382.9/km²). There were 8,680 housing units at an average density of 1,377.8 per square mile (532.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.6% White, 4.7% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 15.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.9% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. 15.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000 there were 8,347 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 36.2% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.1 years. For every 100 females there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $67,642, and the median income for a family was $78,921 (these figures had risen to $93,441 and $105,046 respectively as of a 2007 estimate).[22] Males had a median income of $50,348 versus $38,351 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,247. About 2.4% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Old Town Fairfax has undergone an extensive redevelopment, which began in 2005.[23] The redevelopment added a new City of Fairfax Regional Library, more than 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) of retail and restaurant space, more than 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of office condominiums, and 85 upscale residential condominium units.[24]

In May, 2009, the City of Fairfax was rated as No. 3 in the "Top 25 Places to Live Well" by Forbes Magazine.[5] Forbes commended Fairfax for its strong public school system, high median salary, and a rate of sole proprietors per capita that ranks it in the top 1 percent nationwide. According to the magazine, "These factors are increasingly important in a recession. When businesses and jobs retract, as they have nationwide, municipalities with strong environments for start-ups, and those that offer attractive amenities, are better suited to recover from economic downtimes, as there are more business activity filling the void."

In addition ExxonMobil operates an office in Annandale, near Fairfax.[25][26] The office, originally owned by Mobil, became a part of ExxonMobil in 1999.[27]

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[28] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 SunTrust 450
2 City of Fairfax 350
3 Federal Technology Services 300
4 Verizon Wireless 260
5 Fairfax Nursing Center 250
6 Ted Britt Ford 250
7 Inova Care Center 210
8 Fairfax Honda 200
9 Brown's Automotive Group 200
10 Mid-Atlantic Cars 200

Arts & Culture[edit]

Annual events[edit]

  • Chocolate Lovers Festival
The annual Chocolate Lover's Festival is held in the heart of Old Town Fairfax in early March. Events have included craft shows, historic building open houses, children's activities, collections of vendors selling various edible chocolate products, and even chocolate sculpture contests.[29]
  • Fairfax Civil War Day
Every year, during the Spring, a Civil War re-enactment camp is held at the Blenheim estate, a city-owned historical property. The encampment features military muster, drill, and a firing demonstration, .[30]
  • Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts
Each April, the City of Fairfax, in cooperation with George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College and City of Fairfax schools, sponsors the Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival. The festival runs for three weeks and features music, dance, theater, art and choral concerts. Events take place at venues throughout the city and the colleges.[31]
  • National Trails Day
In June, a National Trails Day is held to celebrate the trails, open spaces and parks in the City of Fairfax.[32]
  • Independence Day Celebration Parade and Evening Show
The largest hometown parade and fireworks celebration in the Washington metropolitan region is held in the City of Fairfax. The day's events include a parade through Old Town Fairfax, tours of historic buildings and local museums, an Old Fashioned Fireman's Day at the Fire Station #3, and a live concert and fireworks display at Fairfax High School.[33]
  • Irish Festival
In September, a festival of Irish and Celtic song, dance and music is held in and around Old Town Fairfax.[34]
  • Fall for the Book Festival
Each fall, the Fall for the Book Festival features readings, discussions, lectures and exhibits from nationally-recognized writers and professionals. Festival events are held in the City of Fairfax, at George Mason University, and throughout the metropolitan Washington region. Two community reading programs coordinate with Fall for the Book: "All Fairfax Reads," coordinated by the Fairfax County Public Library, and "Mason Reads" at George Mason University.[35]
  • Fall Festival
A Fall Festival is held in historic downtown Fairfax on the second Saturday in October. This event includes more than 500 arts, crafts, and food vendors, and is usually held outdoors on the streets of the city. Attendance is about 35,000 to 45,000.[36]
  • The Holiday Craft Show
An annual Holiday Craft Show is held at Fairfax High School on the third Saturday and Sunday of November. The event features hundreds of craft vendors. Attendance is about 8,000 to 10,000.[37]
  • Festival of Lights & Carols
On the first Saturday in December, the city holds a Festival of Lights and Carols. Activities include photos with Santa, caroling, a yule log, hot mulled cider, illumination of Old Town Fairfax, and the lighting of the city Christmas tree.[38]

Notable residents and natives[edit]

Government[edit]

Fairfax County facilities[edit]

Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax.[16] Fairfax County contains an exclave located in central area of the City of Fairfax, in which many county facilities (including the courthouse and jail) are located.[14][15]

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

The public schools in the City of Fairfax are owned by the city, but administered by the Fairfax County Public Schools system under contractual agreement with Fairfax County.[40] U.S. News & World Report often ranks Fairfax County schools among the best in the country.[citation needed]

City of Fairfax schools are Fairfax High School, W.T. Woodson High School, Lanier Middle School, Daniels Run Elementary School and Providence Elementary School.[40]

Colleges and universities[edit]

George Mason University, the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is located just to the south of the Fairfax city limits.[41] The Town of Fairfax purchased 150 acres (0.61 km2) for the university in 1958, though the property remained within the county when the town became a city. In 1966, GMU became a four-year university just outside the city. Along with various administrative offices, the Fairfax campus also contains such facilities as the Center for the Arts complex,[42] the Patriot Center, a 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) Aquatic and Fitness Center, and a 113,900-square-foot (10,580 m2) Recreation Sports Complex.[43]

Northern Virginia Community College, the second largest multi-campus community college in the United States, and the largest educational institution in Virginia, has its Annandale Campus immediately to the east of the city limits.

Public libraries[edit]

Fairfax County Public Library operates the City of Fairfax Regional Library in Fairfax. The library includes the Virginia Room, a collection of books, photographs, and manuscripts related to Fairfax County history, government, and genealogy.[44]

Sports[edit]

Rugby League[edit]

The Fairfax Eagles rugby league team plays in the American National Rugby League.

Infrastructure[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Roads[edit]

The intersection of U.S. Route 50 and U.S. Route 29 is located within the city. The two major highways join together to form Fairfax Boulevard for approximately 2.8 miles (4.5 km) before separating. State Route 123 and State Route 236 both pass through the city. SR 236 is named Main Street in the city and then becomes Little River Turnpike once the city line is crossed. In addition, Interstate 66 is located along the northern border of the city.

Public Transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

Although these stations are located outside city limits, trips to and from Fairfax are served by:

Bus[edit]
  • The City of Fairfax operates the CUE Bus, its own independent bus network.
  • Multiple routes of the Washington Metrobus serve Fairfax.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b "In Depth: America's Top 25 Towns To Live Well 3. Fairfax, Va". Forbes (May 22, 2002).
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 123. 
  7. ^ History of the City of Fairfax, Virginia. Fairfaxva.gov.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ A Look Back at Braddock District History[dead link]
  10. ^ HFCI31.pmd. (PDF) .
  11. ^ History of the Courthouse – Fairfax County, Virginia. Fairfaxcounty.gov (November 26, 2008).
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  13. ^ "Map LU-1 Existing Land Use." City of Fairfax. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  14. ^ a b "Fairfax city, Virginia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  15. ^ a b "Fairfax County General District Court." Fairfax County. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  16. ^ a b "Facilities & Locations." Fairfax County. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  17. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  22. ^ Fairfax city, Virginia – FactSheet – American FactFinder. Factfinder.census.gov.
  23. ^ Old Town Fairfax Redevelopment Project Timeline. Fairfaxva.gov.
  24. ^ Old Town Village Redevelopment. Fairfaxva.gov.
  25. ^ "Annandale CDP, Virginia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 13, 2009.
  26. ^ "Contact us – business headquarters." ExxonMobil. Retrieved on January 26, 2009.
  27. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan. "Exxon studying whether to consolidate offices, could close Fairfax operation." The Washington Post. Monday September 13, 2010. Retrieved on October 1, 2010.
  28. ^ Fairfax, Maryland Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, for the Year ended June 30, 2009. (PDF) .
  29. ^ About The Chocolate Lover's Festival. Chocolatefestival.net.
  30. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events, Civil War Weekend. Fairfaxva.gov (May 5, 2012).
  31. ^ Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts. Fairfaxspotlight.org.
  32. ^ fairfaxtrails.com
  33. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events, Independence Day Celebration. Fairfaxva.gov.
  34. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events. Fairfaxva.gov.
  35. ^ http://www.fallforthebook.org
  36. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events, Fall Festival. Fairfaxva.gov.
  37. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events, Holiday Craft Show. Fairfaxva.gov.
  38. ^ City of Fairfax – Special Events. Fairfaxva.gov.
  39. ^ a b Kang, Cecilia (2006-11-26). "Riding the Seoul Train". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  40. ^ a b "City of Fairfax – City/County Connection". Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  41. ^ [2][dead link]
  42. ^ Center for the Arts – George Mason University. Gmu.edu.
  43. ^ About the Fairfax Campus – Fairfax Campus – George Mason University[dead link]
  44. ^ Library Branches Fairfax County Public Library. Retrieved on October 21, 2009.

References[edit]

  • City of Fairfax Courting History: A walking Tour of Old Town Fairfax, VA Brochure
  • Netherton, Rose, Meyer, Wagner, DiVincenzo. Fairfax, Virginia: A City Traveling Through Time(1999)
  • Jeanne Johnson Rust. The History of the Town of Fairfax(1960)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°51′09″N 77°18′16″W / 38.852612°N 77.304377°W / 38.852612; -77.304377