Fairfax City, Virginia: Wikis


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This article refers to the independent city of Fairfax, Va. For the surrounding unincorporated area of Fairfax County with a Fairfax postal address, please see Fairfax County, Virginia

City of Fairfax, Virginia
—  City  —

Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location of Fairfax relative to Fairfax County, Virginia
Coordinates: 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W / 38.8525°N 77.30417°W / 38.8525; -77.30417
Country United States
State Virginia
Founded 1805
 - Mayor Robert Lederer
 - City 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 - Land 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Population (2007)
 - City 23,349
 Density 3,406.9/sq mi (1,315.4/km2)
 Urban 4,190,000
 Metro 5,139,549
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 22030, 22031, 22032, 22038
Area code(s) 703, 571
FIPS code 51-26496[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498476[2]
Website http://www.fairfaxva.gov/

The City of Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City is nevertheless the county seat[3].

Situated in the Northern Virginia region, Fairfax forms part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines Fairfax and the city of Falls Church with Fairfax County for statistical purposes.

The population was 21,498 at the 2000 census. Many surrounding communities and developments have a Fairfax postal mailing address.

While the city is an enclave within the County of Fairfax, a small unincorporated portion of the County comprising the courthouse complex, the jail, and a small area nearby is itself an enclave within the city.[4][5][6] Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax in an unincorporated area.[7]



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

The city gets its name from Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, 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 1700s by farmers from Virginia's Tidewater region. The Fairfax County courthouse 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.[8] The small town in the vicinity of the courthouse was then known as Earp's Corner, and in 1805 was designated the Town of Providence by an act of the Virginia General Assembly (although people continued to informally refer to it as Fairfax Court House).

On June 1, 1861 John Quincy Marr was killed in Fairfax, Virginia - the first Confederate officer to die.[9] In March 1863, Mosby's Rangers stole into town in disguise and captured Edwin H. Stoughton, a Union general, asleep in his bed, along with two Union captains, 30 other prisoners, and 58 horses without firing a shot.

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


Important buildings

The former Fairfax County Courthouse is the oldest and most historic building in Fairfax. 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 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 an outrageous $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

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-Logan-Allison House (Earp's Ordinary) 1812 200 East Main Street 1973
*The Old Courthouse and the Old Jail lie within the county enclave within the City.


Fairfax is located at 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W / 38.8525°N 77.30417°W / 38.8525; -77.30417 (38.852612, -77.304377)[10]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km²), all of it land.


Historical populations

1970 21,970
1980 20,537
1990 19,622
2000 21,498
2004 22,062
2007 23,349

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 21,498 people, 8,035 households, and 5,407 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,406.9 people per square mile (1,315.4/km²). There were 8,204 housing units at an average density of 1,300.1/sq mi (502.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.91% White, 5.07% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 12.17% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.17% from other races, and 3.26% from two or more races. 13.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

By 2005 Fairfax City had a population that was 65.3% non-Hispanic whites. African-Americans were 6.5% of the total population. Native Americans were 0.4%. 14.3% of the population was Asian. 13.1% of the population were Latino.

In 2000 there were 8,035 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 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).[11] 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.


Beginning in June 2005, Old Town Fairfax has undergone an extensive redevelopment.[12] The redevelopment added a new Fairfax City Regional Library, over 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) of retail and restaurant space, over 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of office condominiums, and 85 upscale residential condominium units.[13]

In May, 2009, the City of Fairfax was rated as #3 in the "Top 25 Places to Live Well" by Forbes Magazine.[14] 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. 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."

Arts & Culture

Annual Events

  • Chocolate Lovers Festival
Around the time of Valentine's day, a Chocolate Lover's Festival is held in the heart of Old Town Fairfax. 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.[15]
  • Blenheim Civil War Encampment/Historic Homes Tour
Every other year in 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 firing demonstrations.[16]. Alternating with the Civil War encampment is an Historic Homes Tour of homes in the city.
  • 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 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.[17]
  • National Trails Day
In June, a National Trails Day is held to celebrate the trails, open spaces and parks in the City of Fairfax.[18]
  • 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 downtown Fairfax, tours of historic buildings and local museums, an Old Fashioned Fireman's Day at the Company 3 fire station, and a live concert and fireworks display at Fairfax High School.[19]
  • Irish Festival
In September, a festival of Irish and Celtic song, dance, and music is held.[20]
  • Fall for the Book Festival
The City of Fairfax has a new regional public library building that was completed in 2008. Each fall, the Fall for the Book Festival features readings, discussions, lectures, and exhibits from nationally-recognized writers and professionals. The program is coordinated with a school-wide reading project, "All Fairfax Reads".[21]
  • 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.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • Festival of Lights & Carols
In December, the Parks Department holds a Festival of Lights and Carols. Activities include photos with Santa, caroling, a yule log, hot mulled cider, illumination of historic downtown Fairfax, and the lighting of the City tree.[24]

Famous residents


Fairfax County facilities

Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax in an unincorporated area.[7] Fairfax County contains an exclave unincorporated area located in the central business district of the City of Fairfax, in which many county facilities (including the courthouse and jail) are located.[5][6]


Primary and secondary schools

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. U.S. News and World report often ranks Fairfax County schools among the best in the country.[citation needed]

The schools include Fairfax High School, Lanier Middle School, Daniels Run Elementary School, Eagle View Elementary School, and Providence Elementary School.

Colleges and universities

George Mason University, the second largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is located just to the south of the Fairfax city limits.[25] 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[26], 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.[27]

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

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.[28]




The intersection of US-50 and US-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. VA-123 and VA-236 both pass through the city. VA-236 is named Main Street in the city (though it diverts onto North Street for about three blocks in Old Town Fairfax) and then becomes Little River Turnpike once the city line is crossed. In addition, I-66 is located on the outskirts of the city.

Public Transportation

The bus system in the City of Fairfax is largely served by the CUE bus system.[29] The buses run between George Mason University, the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU metro station, and other locations within or just outside of the City of Fairfax. GMU students, staff and faculty with a valid ID ride free.

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Map LU-1 Existing Land Use." City of Fairfax. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Fairfax city, Virgnia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Fairfax County General District Court." Fairfax County. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Facilities & Locations." Fairfax County. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  8. ^ HFCI31.pmd
  9. ^ John Quincy Marr and the Skirmish at Fairfax C. H
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ Fairfax city, Virginia - FactSheet - American FactFinder
  12. ^ Old Town Fairfax Redevelopment Project Timeline
  13. ^ Old Town Village Redevelopment
  14. ^ In Depth: America's Top 25 Towns To Live Well 3. Fairfax, Va.
  15. ^ About The Chocolate Lover's Festival
  16. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/CWW/CWW.asp
  17. ^ Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts
  18. ^ http://www.fairfaxtrailsday.com/
  19. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/specialEvents/IDC/IDC.asp
  20. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/SpecialEvents.asp
  21. ^ http://www.fallforthebook.org
  22. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/FallFestival/FallFestival.asp
  23. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/HCS/HolidayCraftShow.asp
  24. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/FLC/FLC.asp
  25. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/maps/CITY_MAP.pdf
  26. ^ Center for the Arts - George Mason University
  27. ^ About the Fairfax Campus - Fairfax Campus - George Mason University
  28. ^ Library Branches Fairfax County Public Library. Retrieved on October 21, 2009.
  29. ^ http://www.fairfaxva.gov/CUEBus/CUEBus.asp The Cue Bus


  • 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

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


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