Visit history in Old Town Fairfax’s Historic District. You will visit the HISTORIC FAIRFAX COUNTY COURTHOUSE constructed in 1799. The old courthouse served as a place for recording and storing deeds and wills, besides holding criminal and civil court. The original wills of George and Martha Washington were probated in the County Court Clerk’s office in 1800 and 1802. In 1861, it was here on the courthouse grounds that the first Confederate officer casualty of the American Civil War took place. The building was occupied by both sides during Civil War from 1861-1865. The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. We will walk by theOLD JAIL, rebuilt after a fire in 1891, and stop to visit the TRURO EPISCOPAL CHURCH CHAPEL, a parish that dates back before George Washington and George Mason. Designed to replicate the old Payne’s Church on Ox Road, the chapel was consecrated in 1934 after the earlier one had burned down. Our next stop is theWILLIAM GUNNELL HOUSE, built in 1835, where Partisan Ranger John Mosby took as his prisoner, Brigadier General Erwin Stoughton on March 9, 1863. We will pass the old MOORE HOUSE, built in 1840, and stop at the FORD HOUSE, built in 1835. The Ford House was the childhood home of Antonia Ford, a Confederate spy during the American Civil War. She provided Confederate military leaders with information gathered at her Fairfax home where Union officers billeted. When she was imprisoned as a spy, she fell in love with a Union officer she had meet previously in her home, named Joseph Willard, whom she later married. He owned the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Their son, Joseph Willard, Jr., served as lieutenant governor of Virginia and minister to Spain. Joseph Willard, Jr. also financed the construction of the OLD TOWN HALL and presented it to the Town of Fairfax in 1902. During this same time period, he paid for the WASHINGTON – VIRGINIA ELECTRIC TROLLEY LINE to linka terminus in front of the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax City to Oakton. From there, the trolley ran from Vienna, Dunn Loring, Falls Church and Ballston todowntown Washington, D.C., and Rosslyn by way of Clarendon. We will continue to move down MAIN STREET, an important thoroughfare for over 200 years leading from the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Washington D.C. to the east. It was a town teeming with the horse and buggy in the 1800’s to a modern city of automobiles in the 1900’s until today. The tour will end at the oldest standing house in the City – the RATCLIFFE-ALLISON HOUSE. Constructed in 1812, it depicts the lives of everyday people spanning over 200 years in historic Fairfax, Virginia.
The walking tours will be offered the second Saturday of the month, going from May to Sept. Dates: May 9, June 13, July 11, (possibly July 27), Aug 8, Sept 12. They will begin at 11 am in the old Fairfax Courthouse.
Please call 703 385 8414 for reservations.
Send in your application or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.