Fairfax, Virginia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Fairfax, Virginia
Independent city
City of Fairfax
Downtown Fairfax
Downtown Fairfax
Official seal of Fairfax, Virginia
Seal
Nickname(s): Central Fairfax, Downtown Fairfax, Fairfax City, Historic Fairfax
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
Founded 1805
Area
 • Total 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 • Land 6.3 sq mi (16.2 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 22,565
 • Estimate (2015) 24,013
 • Density 3,849/sq mi (1,486.0/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 22030–22032
Area code(s) 703, 571
FIPS code 51-26496
GNIS feature ID 1498476
Website www.fairfaxva.gov

Fairfax (/ˈfɛər.fæks/ FAIR-faks), colloquially Central Fairfax, Downtown Fairfax, Fairfax City, Historic Fairfax, or the City of Fairfax, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census the population was 22,565, which had risen to an estimated 24,013 as of 2015.

The city of Fairfax is an enclave within the separate political entity Fairfax County. The city of Fairfax and the area immediately surrounding the historical border of the city of Fairfax, collectively designated by Fairfax County as "Fairfax", comprise the county seat of Fairfax County.The city is part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as a part of Northern Virginia. The city is 17 miles (27 km) west of Washington, D.C. The Washington Metro's Orange Line serves Fairfax through its Vienna station, which is a mile northwest of the city limits. CUE Bus and Metrobus operate in Fairfax. Virginia Railway Express's Burke Centre station is situated three miles southeast of the city's boundaries. Virginia's largest public educational institution with 33,917 students in 2013 is George Mason University, which is located in unincorporated Fairfax County, along the city's southern border.

History

Fairfax court house during the Civil War
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, who was awarded five million acres (20,000 km²) of land in northern Virginia by King Charles. The area that the city now encompasses was settled in the early 18th century by farmers from Virginia's Tidewater region. The town of "Providence" was established on the site by an act of the state legislature in 1805.

The town (then described as a village) was the scene of the first land battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Fairfax Court House. On June 1, 1861, a Union scouting party clashed with the local militia, though neither side gained an advantage. A second battle was waged two years later on June 27, 1863. At the Battle of Fairfax Court House (June 1863), Union troops were defeated. However, the battle delayed the movements of Confederate cavalry chief Jeb Stuart, with disastrous consequences for Lee at Gettysburg a few days later.

Fairfax was officially renamed the "Town of Fairfax" in 1874. It was incorporated as a city in 1961, and under Virginia law was separated from Fairfax County (though it remains the county seat).

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. The first Fairfax courthouse was established in 1742 near present-day Tyson's Corner, and is the namesake for Old Courthouse Road. 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. 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. The courthouse changed hands repeatedly during the Civil War, and the first officer casualty, John Quincy Marr, occurred on the grounds. 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 Civil War the courthouse was used by Union forces as a military headquarters, which resulted in the damage or loss of several records. The original 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 oldest two-story building in the city, built in 1873, the Fairfax Public School or Old Fairfax Elementary School Annex for $2,750. In addition to elementary school use the building has also housed special education, adult education, and police academy training. On July 4, 1992 the building became the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center. Joseph Edward Willard built the town hall building in 1900 then gifted it to the then town in 1902. The Old Town Hall now houses the Huddleston Library and the Fairfax Art League.

Sites on the National Register of Historic Places

Site Year built Address Listed
29 Diner (Tastee 29 Diner) 1947 10536 Fairfax Boulevard 1992
Blenheim 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

The city of Fairfax is located close to the geographic center of Fairfax County, at 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W / 38.8525°N 77.30417°W / 38.8525; -77.30417 (38.852612, −77.304377). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2), of which all but 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) is land.

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. Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 376
1890 376 0.0%
1900 373 −0.8%
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. 2015 24,013 6.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

As of the census 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). 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.

Annual events

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • National Trails Day
In June, a National Trails Day is held to celebrate the trails, open spaces and parks in the City of Fairfax.
  • 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.
  • Irish Festival
In September, a festival of Irish and Celtic song, dance and music is held in and around Old Town Fairfax.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Images for kids


Fairfax, Virginia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.