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Fairfax, Virginia


This article is about the independent city of Fairfax, Virginia. For the surrounding unincorporated area of Fairfax County, see Fairfax County, Virginia.

The City of Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, Virginia in the United States. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City is nevertheless the county seat  . Situated in the Northern Virginia region, Fairfax forms part of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

The population was 22,565 as of the 2010 Census.   In May 2009, the City of Fairfax was ranked No. 3 in the "Top 25 Places to Live Well" by Forbes Magazine.   Forbes commended Fairfax for its strong public school system, high median salary, and a rate of sole proprietors per capita that ranks it in the top 1% nationwide.

While the city is the county seat, a small unincorporated portion of the County comprising the courthouse complex, the jail, and a small area nearby is itself an enclave within the city.       Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax in an unincorporated area.  

Find Your Dream Home in Fairfax, Virginia

History

The city gets its name from Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, who was awarded five million acres (20,000 km²) in land located in Northern Virginia by King Charles. The area the City of Fairfax now encompasses was settled in the early 18th century by farmers from Virginia's Tidewater region.

The town was established as the Town of Providence by an act of the state legislature in 1805. It was officially renamed the Town of Fairfax in 1874, and became an independent city in 1961 (upon which it acquired its current name, the City of Fairfax).  

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 Rd.  It intersects with Gallows Rd, 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 Rd and Rt. 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 American Civil War the Courthouse was used by the union forces as a military headquarters which resulted in the damage or loss of several records. The original building of the 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 old building is now used for office space.

One of the oldest buildings in the city is what used to be an elementary school. In 1873, the Fairfax Elementary School remains the oldest two story building the city has ever seen and was built for an outrageous $2,750. This building reflects a new era of free public education in Virginia and the growth of the Fairfax area. Throughout the years the school building was used for housing special education and adult education classes as well as a police academy training center. On July 4, 1992 however the building was renovated and opened as the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center.

The Old Town Hall is the social and architectural cornerstone of Fairfax; Joseph Edward Willard had it built in 1900 as a gift to Fairfax. It now houses the Huddleson Library, the Fairfax Art League, and can be rented out for weddings as well as business meetings.


Geography

Fairfax is located at 38°51′9″N 77°18′15″W (38.852612, −77.304377)  . According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2), all of it land.

Demographics

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.

Economy

Beginning in June 2005, Old Town Fairfax has undergone an extensive redevelopment.   The redevelopment added a new Fairfax City Regional Library, over 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) of retail and restaurant space, over 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of office condominiums, and 85 upscale residential condominium units.  

In May, 2009, the City of Fairfax was rated as No. 3 in the "Top 25 Places to Live Well" by Forbes Magazine.   Forbes commended Fairfax for its strong public school system, high median salary, and a rate of sole proprietors per capita that ranks it in the top 1% nationwide. According to the magazine, "These factors are increasingly important in a recession. When businesses and jobs retract, as they have nationwide, municipalities with strong environments for start-ups, and those that offer attractive amenities, are better suited to recover from economic downtimes, as there are more business activity filling the void."

In addition ExxonMobil operates an office in Annandale, near Fairfax.     The office, originally owned by Mobil, became a part of ExxonMobil in 1999.  

Government

Fairfax County facilities

Fairfax County's Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax in an unincorporated area.   Fairfax County contains an exclave unincorporated area located in the central business district of the City of Fairfax, in which many county facilities (including the courthouse and jail) are located.    

Education

Primary and secondary schools

The public schools in the City of Fairfax are owned by the city, but administered by the Fairfax County Public Schools system under contractual agreement with Fairfax County.   U.S. News & World Report often ranks Fairfax County schools among the best in the country.

City of Fairfax schools are Fairfax High School, Lanier Middle School, Daniels Run Elementary School, and Providence Elementary School.  

Colleges and universities

George Mason University, the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is located just to the south of the Fairfax city limits.   The Town of Fairfax purchased 150 acres (0.61 km2) for the university in 1958, though the property remained within the County when the town became a city. In 1966, GMU became a four-year university just outside the city. Along with various administrative offices, the Fairfax campus also contains such facilities as the Center for the Arts complex,   the Patriot Center, a 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) Aquatic and Fitness Center, and a 113,900-square-foot (10,580 m2) Recreation Sports Complex.  

Northern Virginia Community College, the second largest multi-campus community college in the United States, and the largest educational institution in Virginia, has its Annandale Campus immediately to the east of the city limits.

Public libraries

Fairfax County Public Library operates the City of Fairfax Regional Library in Fairfax. The library includes the Virginia Room, a collection of books, photographs, and manuscripts related to Fairfax County history, government, and genealogy.

 

Find Your Dream Home in Fairfax, Virginia

 

Information and images courtesy of wikipedia.org