Historic Fairfax County Courthouse
You will visit the Historic Fairfax County Courthouse dedicated in 1800. 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 here in the County Court Clerk’s office in 1800 and 1802, respectively. In 1861, it was on the courthouse grounds where the first Confederate officer casualty of the American Civil War took place. From 1861-1865, the building was occupied by both sides during Civil War. On March 9, 1863, a famous military raid, led by Colonel John S. Mosby (nicknamed the Grey Ghost) and his Partisan Rangers of the Confederate 43rd Battalion Virginia Calvary, took place nearby at the William Gunnell House. Union General Edwin Stoughton was captured asleep in his bed.
We will 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.
In 1902, Joseph Willard, Jr. financed the construction of the Old Town Hall and presented it to the Town of Fairfax. We will 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-Pozer House. Constructed in 1812, it depicts the lives of everyday people in historic Fairfax, Virginia.
Please meet in front of the old Fairfax Courthouse located at 4000 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia, weather permitting. Free parking is across the street in the Bank of America parking lot. For reservations and more information, call the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center at 703-385-8414 or 800-545-7950. Tours are free.
Please call 703 385 8414 for reservations.