Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad
Chartered in 1900 by a group of local landowners and acquired in 1902 by John Roll McLean (owner of The Washington Post) and Senator Stephen Benton Elkins, the 15-mile electrified railroad began operating in 1906. The first scheduled car reached Great Falls Park in Fairfax County on July 3 of that year.
From Georgetown, the railroad crossed the Potomac River on a superstructure built on the upstream side of the old Aqueduct Bridge to Rosslyn in Arlington, where it made connections with an older electric trolley line, the Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railroad. From Rosslyn, the railroad traveled northwest along the north side of Lee Highway (now part of U.S. Route 29) to Cherrydale and then on its own right-of-way (now Old Dominion Drive, State Route 309) in Arlington and Fairfax Counties through forests, farmland and fruit orchards, bypassing the existing villages of Lewinsville and Langley. At Great Falls, GF&OD constructed an amusement park, which became a popular destination.
The owners gave their own names to two stations located at the railroad's crossings of major roads: McLean Station at Chain Bridge Road and Elkins Station at Old Georgetown Pike (State Route 193). The station at Chain Bridge Road became a focus for development that evolved into the community of McLean, Virginia.
In 1911, McLean and Elkins incorporated the Washington & Old Dominion Railway (W&OD). In 1912, the Georgetown-Great Falls line became the Great Falls Division of the W&OD, sharing trackage with the W&OD's Bluemont Division between Rosslyn and Thrifton Junction. In 1935, Fairfax and Arlington counties obtained the right-of-way west of Thrifton Junction in settlement of delinquent taxes. Most of the right-of-way was converted into Old Dominion Drive.
The stations on the GF&OD and on the Great Falls Division of the W&OD (with locations of sites in 2008) were:
|Station||Location||Coordinates||Jurisdiction||Side of Tracks||Photo||Notes|
|Georgetown||M Street, N.W., between 35th and 37th Streets, N.W.||District of Columbia||West||Terminal station of GF&OD and W&OD until 1923. Adjacent to Georgetown Car Barn, which served Washington's electric street cars.|
|Rosslyn||Passenger Terminal: Fort Myer Drive (west side) between George Washington Memorial Parkway and Lee Highway||Arlington County||West||undated colorized postcard & 1923 interior photo of passenger terminal||The GF&OD and W&OD stopped at a passenger shelter from 1904 to 1923. The W&OD terminated behind a passenger station on Fort Myer Drive from 1923 to 1938 and in the present route of I-66 from 1938 to 1968. All of the stations and termini were near the present site of the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel.
Historical Marker: Rosslyn Station
|Colonial||I-66 at N. Nash Street||Arlington County||South|
|Rosslyn Freight House||I-66 near N. Oak Street||Arlington County||North|
|Mackeys||I-66 at N. Quinn Street||Arlington County||Northwest|
|Park Lane||I-66 east of N. Uhle Street; north of Lee Highway||Arlington County||Southwest|
|Pearce||I-66 near N. Adams Street||Arlington County||South|
|Clark||I-66 near N. Calvert Street||Arlington County||South||Near east side of Spout Run.|
|Thrifton||I-66 between Lee Highway and Spout Run Parkway||Arlington County||South||North of Lyon Village shopping center. Named for Hugh A. Thrift. East of junction with Thrifton – Bluemont Junction connecting line.|
|Dominion Heights||Lee Highway (between traffic lanes) at N. Monroe Street (east side)||Arlington County||South|
|Cherrydale||Intersection of Lee Highway and Old Dominion Drive at Military Road (east side)||Arlington County||Southwest||circa 1908|
|Harrison||Old Dominion Drive at N. Thomas Street||Arlington County||South|
|Greenwood||Old Dominion Drive at Lorcom Lane (northwest side); east of N. Vermont Street||Arlington County||South|
|Maplewood||Old Dominion Drive between traffic lanes north of Lee Highway; west of N. Abingdon Street||Arlington County||South|
|Livingston||Old Dominion Drive at 24th Street N. (north side)||Arlington County||Southwest||24th Street N. was Livingstone Street prior to 1932 (named for Colin H. Livingstone)|
|Lyonhurst||Old Dominion Drive at 25th Street N.||Arlington County||Southwest||Named for the nearby estate of Frank Lyon (now Missionhurst)|
|Summit||Old Dominion Drive at 26th Street N. (southeast side)||Arlington County||Southwest|
|Rixey||Old Dominion Drive at N. Glebe Road (east side)||Arlington County||Northeast||undated||Named for the nearby estate of Dr. Presley Marion Rixey.
Marymount University now occupies the Rixey estate.
Later station on southeast side of tracks.
|Jewell||Old Dominion Drive at Rock Spring Road (north side)||Arlington County||Southwest||undated||Named for Charles Jewell|
|Vanderwerken||Old Dominion Drive at Little Falls Road (northwest side)||Arlington County||North||Named for Gilbert Vanderwerken|
|Franklyn Park||Old Dominion Drive at Franklin Park Road||Fairfax County||Northeast||undated|
|Rockwell||Old Dominion Drive near Dominion Crest Lane||Fairfax County||Southwest|
|Chesterbrook||Old Dominion Drive at Kirby Road (northwest side)||Fairfax County||Northeast|
|El Nido||Old Dominion Drive at Birch Road||Fairfax County||North|
|Selva||Old Dominion Drive at 6th Place||Fairfax County||Southwest|
|Viresco||Old Dominion Drive between Pimmit Run and Linway Terrace||Fairfax County||Northeast||Southeast side of B&O Railroad right-of-way|
|Lawnvale||Old Dominion Drive near Holmes Place||Fairfax County||Southwest|
|McLean||Old Dominion Drive at Chain Bridge Road (northwest side)||Fairfax County||Northeast||Named for John Roll McLean|
|Ingleside||Old Dominion Drive at Ingleside Avenue||Fairfax County||Northeast|
|Balls Hill||Old Dominion Drive at Balls Hill Road (east side)||Fairfax County||West|
|Hitaffer||Old Dominion Drive at Swinks Mill Road (south side)||Fairfax County||Northeast|
|Jackson||Old Dominion Drive northwest of Swinks Mill Road||Fairfax County||Southwest||undated|
|Spring Hill||Old Dominion Drive at Spring Hill Road (east side)||Fairfax County||Northeast|
|Prospect Hill||Old Dominion Drive at Bellview Place||Fairfax County||Northeast||undated|
|Belleview||Old Dominion Drive at Bellview Road||Fairfax County||Southwest||undated|
|Glendale||Old Dominion Drive at Towlston Road||Fairfax County||Southwest|
|Peacock||Old Dominion Drive at Peacock Station Road (east side)||Fairfax County||Southwest||undated|
|Fairview||Old Dominion Drive at Falls Run Road||Fairfax County||West|
|Elkins||Old Dominion Drive at Georgetown Pike (north side)||Fairfax County||West||undated||Named for Stephen Benton Elkins.|
|Dickeys Road||Old Dominion Drive in Great Falls Park||Fairfax County (National Park Service)||Named for Dickey's Inn. Near former site of Matildaville.|
|Great Falls||Old Dominion Drive in Great Falls Park||Fairfax County (National Park Service)||Inside turnaround||1. undated postcard
2. undated photo
|Terminal station of GF&OD and Great Falls Division of W&OD.|
- Harwood (2000), p. 37
- Harwood (2000), pp. 39-40
- Locations of stations from distances along railroad route from GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Maps and Harwood, p. 141
- Side of tracks from GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Maps and Harwood, p. 141
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 2
- Rosslyn Station historical marker located at site of Bluemont Junction station of Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. See: Washington and Old Dominion Railroad#Stations
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 3
- Note: Rixey station in undated photo is on southeast side of tracks, east of N. Glebe Road.
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 4
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 5
- Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail. "The Georgetown Branch Railroad". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database (photographed by Tom Fuchs, Greenbelt, MD, 2006-01-21). Retrieved 2012-01-27. Description of planned Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad branch in Virginia.
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 6
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 7
- GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Map No. 8
- Harwood, Herbert Hawley (2000). Rails to the Blue Ridge: The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, 1847–1968. ISBN 0-615-11453-9.
- Interstate Commerce Commission (1916-07-01). "GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Maps". W&OD Railroad Maps. Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority: Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- * "Historic Great Falls of Potomac: Scenic Beauty Around Great Falls Grand and Picturesque—Waterfalls Reached by the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad: Spots of Historic Interest Passed en Route Over One of the Finest Double-Track Roads in the United States". Advertisement in Industrial and Historical Sketch of Fairfax County, Virginia (Fairfax County Board of Supervisors). 1907. p. 92. Retrieved 2014-02-02. At Google Books.
- Historical Marker: The Great Falls Line, by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, in website of HMdb.org The Historical Marker Database.
- Yahoo group discussing W&OD and GF&OD
- "Circa 1920 system map of Washington and Old Dominion Railway". Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority historical marker: "Bluemont Junction". HMdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Photograph by Craig Swain, Leesburg, VA, dated 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2010-08-18. Map shows stations and route of Great Falls Division of W&OD (former route of GF&OD).