In many ways, local residents believe the recorded history of Fairfax County is a reflection of the history of the United States. Although the county was not formally created until 1742, the history of English settlement on the land that is now Fairfax County spans the early 1600s to the present. Such familiar and popular Fairfax County names and places as George Washington, George Mason, Mount Vernon, and Bull Run have played, or are still playing important roles in the lives of Americans everywhere.
In 1649, King Charles II of England granted all of the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers to a group of seven Englishmen. In 1719 this land came into the possession of Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, after whom the county was named. By 1732 there were attempts to form the land into a county, but it was not until 1741 that the Virginia Assembly created Fairfax County. From around 1750 to the end of the 18th century, changes abounded in Fairfax County’s lifestyle and character. Roads were built and mills and other forms of industry increased. Forests were cleared for farmland and land plots were allotted for housing development.
During the last half of the 18th century, two of the county’s most prominent residents, George Washington and George Mason, became chief forces behind the formation of the American nation. Their respective homes, Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall, are still open to the public. While Washington served as the first president of the United States, Mason was a leading intellectual force, along with fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson. Mason authored the Virginia Constitution in 1776 and the Virginia Declaration of Rights. His work served as a model for the American Bill of Rights.
During the Civil War, Fairfax County was literally caught in the middle of war. Rebel troops occupied the western area, while Union troops were positioned in the northern and eastern areas. Troops from both sides continuously crisscrossed the county, wreaking havoc and destruction on private property.
Arts & Attractions
Once a rural area covered with farms, Fairfax County today is a growing metropolis with a thriving technology industry. With its more than 300 parks, proximity to the nation’s capitol and a healthy selection of historic homes, the county offers visitors and its residents a unique experience. Mixed with the county’s impressive collection of 18th and 19th century landmarks are several popular modern attractions. Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts is the only national park for the performing arts. With its open-air Filene Center and the more comfortable Barns, Wolf Trap Farm Park offers a variety of musical entertainment throughout the year. George Mason University’s Center for the Arts also hosts a wide array of arts, music, and entertainment options.
For those who enjoy shopping, the county is known for having one of the largest concentrations of retail shopping on the east coast. Some would say that this area provides the best shopping south of Fifth Avenue in New York. With four regional malls and numerous boutique and high-end shopping areas, you will find whatever you need or want. The two most popular malls are Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, featuring 400 specialty shops and major retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. There are also many upscale stores such as Tiffany and Co., Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.
When it comes to outdoor recreation, the Fairfax County Park Authority provides residents with all the information they need to have a fun, memorable experience. From hiking and biking the many trails to canoeing the Potomac or golfing at one of many challenging public courses, the county’s 30,000 acres of parkland has something for everyone.
Restaurants & Nightlife
After a long day of work, play, or both residents can take pleasure in one of thousands of local restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. From Mexican to Moroccan, to Indian to Italian, there is plenty to choose from when trying to satisfy one’s appetite. Fairfax County offers so much to its residents, they often find it difficult to leave in search of something new. However, for the adventurous, or the curious soul, neighboring Washington D.C. is just a short drive or Metro ride away. There, the Kennedy Center, National Theatre, Ford’s Theatre and a host of other nightlife opportunities lie in wait.
The county draws visitors from around the world, whether they have an interest in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, national monuments, or even more modern day pursuits as shopping and outdoor recreation. The county has it all, and its cities, such as Kingstowne and Franconia benefit directly from its popularity.
Quality of Life
Residents of Kingstowne and Franconia enjoy endless recreational activities, an outstanding school system, a superior public transportation network, and a prospering local economy. Residents are introduced and reminded of our nation’s history on a daily basis. This constant reminder is inspiring and makes living here an attractive option for those considering a move to the area. If colonial housing with pastoral views set in the backdrop of our nation’s capitol sounds exciting, then Kingstowne and Franconia may be the right place for you.
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