The Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites
The Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites was established in 1969. That same year, the Historical Landmarks Preservation Commission, which had been in operation since 1965, was renamed the History Commission. The History Commission undertook six tasks, the first of which was: "Prepare for publication as soon as compatible with thorough historical, architectural and archaeological research, a classified survey list of sites, areas and structures in Fairfax County."1 This survey list became the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites. Fairfax County hired Nan Netherton as historic research supervisor; Elizabeth David became her assistant. Mrs. Netherton left County employ around 1980 to focus on other history-related projects. Mrs. David remained on the Office of Comprehensive Planning staff as an Historic Preservation Officer until her retirement in 1999. Among her many other accomplishments, Mrs. David co-authored the Fairfax County Heritage Resource Management Plan, which won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Washington, DC Chapter of the American Planning Association.
The Inventory itself is, quite simply, a catalog of historically significant sites within Fairfax County. Currently, there are approximately three hundred and forty sites on the Inventory. These resources range from the internationally-known Mount Vernon to more anonymous churches, bridges, houses, burial grounds, and objects. Equally significant are twentieth-century sites such as Holmes Run Acres and Hollin Hills. At least sixty of these sites have been demolished since the creation of the Inventory. Inclusion on the Inventory is an honorary designation, and does not impose restrictions or limits as to what an owner can do with his property. The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan recognizes these sites, and lists them by area in the Heritage Resources sections. The Plan encourages their preservation when possible.
The lists of Inventory sites in the Comprehensive Plan were last updated in April 2013. Properties may have been added to the Inventory since that time and are therefore not yet included in the Comprehensive Plan. The Master List on this Web site contains every resource in the Inventory.
Anyone may nominate a property for listing in the Inventory. The History Commission requires that the owner be notified of the nomination. The applicant must submit either an Individual Property Nomination Form or a District Nomination Form, with accompanying documentation, to the address listed on the nomination form.
Staff reviews the application and submits it to the History Commission for a vote at an upcoming meeting. A file for each resource on the Inventory is kept at the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.
1Netherton, Ross and Netherton, Nan. The Preservation of History in Fairfax County, Virginia. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002, pg. 33.