History of the Braddock District
was published and written under the auspices of Sharon Bulova,
the Braddock District Supervisor. It is reprinted here, without
the graphics that accompanied the original article. The original was in a booklet called "Welcome to the Braddock District of Fairfax County, Virginia".
called Annandale) is a relatively new district, situated in the
middle (I like to say "heart") of Fairfax County. Carved out of
the older Lee and Falls Church Districts in 1968, "Annandale"
came into being at a rather tumultuous time. A major land use
scandal, which came to a head in 1966, resulted in several supervisors,
a planning commissioner and top county officials serving time
in federal prison for accepting bribes in exchange for rezonings.
the wake of this turmoil, the Federation of Citizens Association
helped shape a major reorganization of the county government.
By referendum in November 1966, and effective in January of 1968,
a new County Executive form of government was adopted. It provided,
among other things, powers to redistrict the county from time
to time, to create or alter service districts and to elect a chairman-at-large.
Under the new form of government, state enabling legislation was
obtained and adopted to strengthen conflict of interest laws.
the urban county form of government, the number of magisterial
districts could increase to eleven. The creation of "Annandale"
brought the number of districts from six to eight. Charles Majer
was the first "Annandale" District" Supervisor. Fred Babson was
elected the first chairman-at-large
the 1990 census and subsequent redistricting, which added additional
areas to our west and south, Annandale was re-named Braddock,
after the main arterial traversing the middle of the district.
Today, about fourth of our residents have an Annandale postal
address, with the balance of our district comprised of zip codes
in Fairfax, Springfield and Burke. Each of these areas boast their
own rich history...
history of Annandale and the Springfield areas in the Braddock
District can be traced all the way back to pre-Revolutionary year
1695, when Col. William Fitzhugh purchased over 24,000 acres of
land, originally named "Ravensworth."
was the largest single parcel of land granted in Northern Virginia.
The land had been surveyed to include easy access to the Accotink
drainage basin via a road bed that would later become Rolling
Road. Tobacco, the most common commodity in 17th century Virginia,
had to be packed in heavy hogshead casks and "rolled" to the waterways.
the death of Col. Fitzhugh in 1701, his property was divided equally
and left to his two eldest sons, William, Jr., who inherited the
southern portion (North Springfield, Ravensworth, and Kings Park)
and Henry, who inherited the northern portion (all of the land
that is now Annandale).
main road, Little River Turnpike (Rt. 236), was chartered as a
private turnpike by the General Assembly in 1795. The toll house
survived far about 170 years where Route 236 (no longer a toll
road) intersects at Ravensworth Rd. In 1830 the area was named
"Anandale" by a Scottish settler after a village in Scotland at
the mouth of the Anan River. In later years, the name was changed
large colonial homes, including the Ravensworth mansion, were
built in the 1700's. The Ravensworth mansion was home to the Fitzhughs
and later the Lee and Custis families. By all accounts, it was
a beautiful and spacious mansion, located in the present Ravensworth,
North Springfield area. Sadly, it fell into a state of decay after
the mansion was vacated by its last owner, Col. Robert E. Lee,
III and his family. In 1925 it was mysteriously destroyed by fire
and the land on which it stood was sold for development.
Oak Hill and Ossian Hall mansions were built on the northern (Annandale)
portion of the Fitzhugh property. Ossian Hall was a stately colonial
home facing Braddock Road, but accessible by a private tree-lined
entrance on what is now Ravensworth Road. The mansion was destroyed
by fire in 1959 to make way for the current Bristow subdivision.
Oak Hill, near Wakefield Chapel Road, is still standing today,
a picturesque reminder of Annandale's rich cultural heritage.
Burke is not an incorporated town or city, it is a very special
area of the county, with its own unique identity, history and
area that is now called Burke can be traced back to land belonging
to Lord Fairfax in the early 1700's. Lord Fairfax made land grants
to numerous families including Henry Ward and Francis Coffer.
Henry Ward built Burke's first house, portions of which are now
part of the Burke Centre. Hannah Ward married Silas Burke, a wealthy
and prominent figure in the Burke area. During the mid 1800's,
Silas Burke increased the family land holdings to over 600 acres
and was responsible for diverting construction of the Orange &
Alexandria railroad from nearby Fairfax City to Burke. These tracks
are now owned by the Norfolk Southern Railroad and are being used
by our new commuter rail system, The Virginia Railway Express.
At the turn of the century, the little village of Burke thrived.
Horse racing fans from as far away as Alexandria flocked to Burke
to enjoy its race track and to stay at Henry Copperhite's country
resort (located on property east of the old Burke Post Office).
In the 1950's residents successfully fought plans to locate what
is now Dulles Airport in the Burke area. Property consolidated
for that purpose was later developed as the planned community
of Burke Centre.
western part of the Braddock District includes Fairfax postal
addresses. These communities are next door neighbors to the independent
City of Fairfax and share its rich history. This area was first
settled in the early-to-mid 1700's. Initially it was part of Truro
Parish, and became a part of Fairfax County when the County was
established in 1742.
two unsuccessful attempts to establish a Fairfax County courthouse,
first near present-day Tyson's Corner and then Alexandria, a site
was selected at the junction of Ox Road and Little River Turnpike.
Completed in 1800, that courthouse remains today as the north
wing of the present Fairfax County Courthouse.
Road was originally an Indian trail that was widened in order
to gain easier access to copper deposits found in the northern
regions of the county. Little River Turnpike was a private venture
of the Little River Turnpike Company, which was authorized by
the turnpike charter to build and operate, for profit, a road
from Alexandria to the ford of the Little River in Aldie, Virginia.
small village soon grew up around the courthouse and, by an act
of the Virginia legislature in 1805, the village was incorporated
as the Town of Providence, even though it was generally referred
to as Fairfax Court House.
was the scene of several notable events during the Civil War.
Captain John Quincy Marr, the first officer casualty of the Confederacy,
was killed at Fairfax Courthouse on June 1,1861. By late 1862,
the town was occupied by Union forces commanded by Brigadier General
Edwin H. Stoughton. In a daring raid led by Confederate Col. John
S. Mosby in March 1863, General Stoughton was captured while he
slept in a house in the present-day rectory of Truro Episcopal
Church. During the last days of August 1862, when Confederate
troops won a victory on the banks of Bull Run, hundreds of wounded
Union and Confederate soldiers were taken to Fairfax Station,
where they lay on a hillside under the trees awaiting transportation
to hospitals in Fairfax, Alexandria or Washington. Among those
who nursed them was a government clerk, Clara Barton. Although
she had no official connection with the army, she ministered as
best she could to the thousands of wounded men at the historic
Saint Mary of Sorrows church on Ox Road.
1866, Fairfax and the rest of Northern Virginia set about repairing
the ravages of war. The Town of Fairfax continued to serve as
the governmental seat of Fairfax County, which had become an area
of prosperous farms and estates. The Fairfax area grew during
the 1940's and 50`s. In 1961, under a charter granted by the Virginia
General Assembly, the Town of Fairfax incorporated as an independent
city. By agreement in 1965 a 50 acre "county enclave" within the
city was established, which included the County Courthouse/ Massey
the late 1950's, the Town of Fairfax sought and won location of
a Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia on 150
acres of property on Route 123 just south of the town limits.
The college was renamed "George Mason". It developed rapidly after
the first four buildings were opened in 1964. It was elevated
to a four year, degree-granting institution by the Virginia General
Assembly in 1966 and given a long-range mandate to expand into
a major university. George Mason University is within the boundaries
of the Braddock District.
BRADDOCK AND HIS ROAD
trace the history of Braddock Road, project yourself back before
Captain John Smith sailed up the Potomac River in 1608 with a
small party of English explorers. Indian villages lay along the
waterways within what were later to become the boundaries of Fairfax
County. Reminders of these native inhabitants linger today in
names like Pohick, Accotink and Occoquan. Watercourses served
as highways in those times. While "roads" were very few in those
early days, precursors to Braddock Road can be identified on most
of the earliest maps. A map drawn between 1745 and 1748 shows
an old Indian trail following the general path of the present-day
Braddock Road. On old maps throughout the 1700's, the road is
identified as "Alexandria Road" and "Mountain Road". This road,
later to be called Braddock's Road, was incorporated in the year
1752, according to the minutes of the 1752 Fairfax courthouse
(Truro Vestry Book).
road received its name during the French and Indian War when English
General Edward Braddock led British and colonial troops in a disastrous
expedition against the French Fort Duquesne, Con the site of the
present city of Pittsburgh). In the year 1755, General Braddock
accompanied military units departing from the city of Alexandria
to Winchester, Virginia and then on to Fort Duquesne. Historical
accounts differ as to whether General Braddock's forces indeed
used the route of the present day Braddock Road, or if they used
instead the "Middle Turnpike" (now Route 7).
his British troops, nearly 500 Virginians were with Braddock when
he started on the march, but he did not care much for these, nor
for the help of the Indians. He knew nothing about fighting in
the woods and thought his trained troops were worth more than
any others. On July 9,1755 General Braddock's army was met near
Fort Duquesne by a party of Canadians and Indians under Captain
Beaujeau. The British fought bravely, but could not see anybody
to shoot at, for the Canadians and Indians fought from behind
trees, while the British stood in the narrow road, their bright
coats excellent targets. The Virginians fought from behind trees
and logs, preventing a total massacre, but Braddock would not
allow his soldiers to protect themselves. They stood as if on
parade. At last General Braddock himself was wounded and died
within a few hours. His aide, George Washington, led away what
was left of the little army.
legend tells of General Braddock's remains being buried (and later
discovered by road crews) in the middle of "his" road. Another
legend tells of a cannon full of gold being buried along Braddock
Road when General Braddock's troops became mired in mud as they
traveled through Fairfax County on their way to Ft. Duquesne.
An Inquiry into the
Validity of the Legend of Braddock's Gold in Northern Virginia,
1982 (A student paper presented for an Historical Society Essay
Contest), Douglas Phillips and Barbaby Nygren.
The World Book Encyclopedia,
p. 453, B Volume 2,1984, World Book, Inc.
The Book of Knowledge,
Volume III, p. 896 & 898, The Grolier Society 1919.
of Commerce, Community Directory, "Annandale", Audrey B. Capone,
1983, pp. 11 -17.
Memories of Beautiful
Burke Virginia, Nan Netherton, Ruth Preston Rose, Burke Historical
Virginia. A History, Nan Netherton, Donald Sweig, Janice Artemel,
Patricia Hickin, Patrick Reed, 250th Anniversary Commemorative
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