Form Lorton Prison to Laurel Hill
Transfer of Prison to Fairfax County
On July 15, 2002, Fairfax County received title to the former D.C. Department of Corrections facility at Lorton. The transfer was made possible through the Lorton Technical Corrections Act which was passed by Congress in October 1998, and required the county to develop a Reuse Plan that would maximize use of land for open space, parkland or recreation prior to the county acquiring the property.
In February 1999, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed a citizen task force to develop a reuse plan. The task force, in collaboration with the county's planning staff, began their work by reviewing the Comprehensive Plan language for the site which had been adopted by the Board of Supervisors the previous year.
During the spring of 1999, the citizen task force completed a modified plan for the former prison site. It was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in July 1999 as the official Reuse Plan for the property. The Reuse Plan was included in an official report to Congress in January 2000.
Prior to the approval of the Reuse Plan, the General Services Administration, in cooperation with Fairfax County and the District of Columbia, initiated the environmental cleanup of the property and ensured the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act were addressed. The last prisoners were transferred from Lorton in November 2001 and the last facility was released from the District of Columbia to GSA in April 2002.
On July 15, 2002, after the property was surveyed and covenants established, 2324 acres were transferred to Fairfax County for $4.2 million, the market value determined by GSA's appraiser. Areas of the property designated for a high school and a middle school (approximately 116 acres) were transferred at no cost on May 1, 2002. Information about the types of uses established for this site and locations of facilities can be found on the Laurel Hill property division map.
Although referred to as Lorton, the Lorton Prison or the Lorton Reformatory for most of the 1900s, this site is now referred to as Laurel Hill in commemoration of the 18th century structure, which served both as home of William Lindsay, a revolutionary war patriot, and as the residence of the Superintendent of the Reformatory. Today, the Laurel Hill House has been considerably altered and is in poor condition. Despite its condition, however, the name Laurel Hill serves as a reminder of the remarkable history of the property and challenges us to turn this history into a cherished resource for County residents and visitors alike.