Virginia Historical Highway Markers in Fairfax County

Virginia Historical Highway MakrkersVirginia Historical Highway Markers in Fairfax County
The Virginia Historical Highway Marker Program is the oldest such program in the nation, beginning in 1927.  More than 2,200 markers, with texts of black lettering against a silver background and a distinctive shape, are erected in Virginia to commemorate people, places, or events of regional, statewide or national significance Virginia Department of Historic Resources manages the highway markers. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) retains primary responsibility for installing new markers and maintaining existing ones.

Over fifty of these historical markers commemorate people, places, or events of regional, statewide or national significance in Fairfax County.  The list below includes each Marker's name, text, year erected, it's location and a link to a locator map and street view.   

You may also view an interactive story map tour of the markers which includes the maker text, images related to the marker as well as a map of the marker location.  (or click on the image on the right to view)

Marker Name

Marker Text

Year Erected

Marker Location

Map Link

Colonel John Singleton Mosby

This road, along which many of his skirmishes took place, is named for Colonel John Singleton Mosby, commander of the 43rd Battalion of Confederate Partisan Rangers. Their activities in this area helped keep the Confederate cause alive in Northern Virginia toward the end of the Civil War. 1986 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy, Rte. 50, 0.36 miles west of Rte. 657. Locator Map/Street View

Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly)

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's wing of the Army of Northern Virginia reached here 1 Sept. 1862. Jackson's march from the battlefield of Second Manassas turned the position of Maj. Gen. John Pope's army at Centreville and threatened the Union line of retreat near Fairfax Court House. Here at Ox Hill, the Confederates encountered Federal troops of the IX and III Corps and a fierce battle was fought amid storm and darkness. Union generals Isaac Stevens and Philip Kearny were killed. Pope retreated to Alexandria and the defenses of Washington. Thus ended the Second Manassas campaign.
2000 Monument Dr, Rte. 6751, 0.22 miles west of Rte. 608 (West Ox Road).  Locator Map/Street View

Maryland (Antietam/Sharpsburg) Campaign

Following the Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly) on 1 Sept. 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee pondered his options and strategy. Encouraged by Confederate victories and Federal disorganization, Lee acted quickly to continue the offensive. On 3 Sept., Lee's Army of Northern Virginia marched north toward Leesburg, from where it could cross into Maryland, flank the Washington fortifications, and draw the Union army out of Virginia. The troops of Maj. Gens. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and James Longstreet moved north on Ox Road past Frying Pan and Herndon Station to Dranesville. The army concentrated around Leesburg and forded the Potomac into Maryland Sept. 4-7.
2000 Monument Dr, Rte. 6751, 0.22 miles west of Rte. 608 (West Ox Road). Locator Map/Street View

Burke's Station Raid

Burke's Station, four miles south, was raided by Stuart's cavalry, December, 1862. Stuart telegraphed to Washington complaining of the bad quality of the mules he had captured--a famous joke.
1937 Little River Tpke, Rte. 236, 3.1 miles east of Rte. 50/29-211 intersection. Locator Map/Street View

Burke Station

Burke Station was raided in December, 1862, by Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart. It was from this site, originally the Burke Station Depot, that he sent his famous telegram to Union Quartermaster General Meigs complaining of the poor quality of the Union mules he had just captured.
1986 Old Burke Lake Rd, Rte. 8249, 0.01 miles north of Rte. 652 (Burke Road). Locator Map/Street View

Orange and Alexandria Railroad

Accotink Park Road lies on the right-of-way of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, which linked the markets of northern and central Virginia. Construction began in March 1850, and the line was extended to Manassas in 1851 and to Gordonsville in March 1853. The railroad encouraged the growth of Fairfax County and new communities along the way. During the Civil War the line became a strategic prize coveted by both sides, and battles were fought at or near such stops as Manassas Junction, Bristoe Station, and Brandy Station. The Union army seized a large part of the Fairfax section of the railroad and placed it under the control of the U.S. Military Railroad system in 1862.
1995 Accotink Park Rd, Rte. 1390, 0.35 miles north of Rte. 1155 (Highland Drive), at entrance to Lake Accotink Park. Locator Map/Street View

Cavalry Engagement Near Hunter's Mill

On 26 Nov. 1861, a 120-man detachment of Col. Robert Ransom Jr.'s 1st North Carolina Cavalry attacked 94 men of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry under Capt. Charles Bell. Ransom's men took Bell's detachment from the rear as the Pennsylvanians headed north on Lawyers Road out of Vienna. The panicked Union troops suffered significant losses in the two-mile long engagement, with one killed, six wounded, and 26 taken prisoner  Regarding his cavalry, recently appointed Confederate Brig. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart reported: "the result of this our first engagement with the enemys cavalry is, I doubt not, highly satisfactory to the General-In-Chief."
2011 Intersection of Kedge Drive and Route 673 Locator Map/Street View

Military Railroad Terminus

Half a mile west is the terminus of the Centreville Military Railroad, the first railroad in the world constructed exclusively for military purposes. Built by the Confederate army late in 1861 because of impassible roads, it supplied the soldiers in their winter camps at Centreville. Trains from Manassas Junction ran here until March 1862 when Confederate forces withdrew southward. Nearby on 9 Dec. 1862, Privates Michael O'Brien and Dennis Corcoran of Maj. Chatham R. Wheat's "Louisiana Tigers" were court-martialed for mutiny, executed by a firing squad from their own company, and buried. In 1979 their remains were reinterred at St. John's Episcopal Church cemetery in Centreville.
1996 Rte. 28, 0.96 miles south of Rte. 29 (Lee Highway). Locator Map/Street View

Sully Plantation

The dwelling house at Sully Plantation was built in 1794 by Richard Bland Lee on land that had been patented in 1725. Lee was the first congressman from Northern Virginia and an early member of Phi Beta Kappa. His vote brought the capital city to the banks of the Potomac. Lee was appointed by President Madison as one of three commissioners to superintend the restoration of federal buildings burned by the British in 1814. Born at Leesylvania in Prince William County in 1761, Lee died in Washington in 1827. 1988 Sully Rd, Rte. 28, 0.81 miles north of Rte. 50. Locator Map/Street View

Bull Run Battlefields

Ten miles west were fought the two battles of Manassas or Bull Run. 1934 Rte. 29 (Lee Highway), 2.97 miles west of Rte. 123. Locator Map/Street View

First Battle of Manassas

McDowell gathered his forces here, July 18, 1861, to attack Beauregard, who lay west of Bull Run. From here a part of the Union army moved north to cross Bull Run and turn the Confederate left wing, July 21, 1861. This movement brought on the battle.
1928 14200 St. Germain Drive, Fairfax County-Centreville Regional Library. Locator Map/Street View

Confederate Defenses

Here, while the Confederate army camped at Centreville, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston built strong fortifications in the winter of 1861-1862. In Feb. 1862, President Jefferson Davis ordered Johnston to evacuate them and move his army closer to Richmond, the Confederate capital. Outnumbered by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, Johnston complied. On 10 March, McClellan found "Quaker cannon," logs painted black, in the abandoned trenches to deceive his scouts. McClellan, believing that he was outnumbered, already had planned to attack Richmond from the east instead of the north, via the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers.
1999 14200 St. Germain Drive, Fairfax County-Centreville Regional Library. Locator Map/Street View

Second Battle of Manassas

Here Pope gathered his forces, August 30-31, 1862. From this point he detached troops to check Jackson at Ox Hill while the Union army retreated to the defenses at Alexandria.
1928 14200 St. Germain Drive, Fairfax County-Centreville Regional Library. Locator Map/Street View

The Stone Bridge

Originally built of native sandstone in 1825, the turnpike bridge over Bull Run became an important landmark in the Civil War battles at Manassas. Union Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler's division feigned an attack on Col. Nathan G. Evans's brigade guarding the bridge as the First Battle of Manassas began on the morning of 21 July 1861. When the confederates withdrew from the region, they blew up the bridge on 9 Mar. 1862. The rear guard of Maj. Gen. John Pope's retreating army, defeated at the Second Battle of Manassas on 30 Aug. 1862, destroyed a replacement military bridge at the site. Fully reconstructed after the war, it remained in use into the 1920s.
2000 Rte. 29 (Lee Highway), 3.61 miles west of Rte. 28. Locator Map/Street View

Laura Ratcliffe

Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe was born in Fairfax County in 1836.  During the Civil War, she became an acquaintance of Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart who introduced her to then-Lt. John Mosby in 1862.  Mosby credited her with preventing his capture early in 1863, noting,my life as a partisan would have closed that day  Ratcliffe and other informants provided Mosby and his Partisan Rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) important information that helped them raid Union outposts, communications, and supply lines  She married Milton Hanna in 1890.  Ratcliffe died in 1923 and is buried here/nearby in a family cemetery.
2007 Centreville Rd, Dulles Marriott Hotel Locator Map/Street View

Mosby's Rock

This large boulder, located just south of here, served as an important landmark during the Civil War, when Col. John S. Mosby's Partisan Rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) assembled there to raid Union outposts, communications, and supply lines. Laura Ratcliffe, a young woman who lived nearby and spied for Mosby, concealed money and messages for him under the rock. Mosby credited her with saving him from certain capture by Federal cavalry on one occasion. She also was a friend of Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart.
2000 McNair Farms Road, 0.13 miles north of Rte. 657 (Centreville Road), south of Herndon. Locator Map/Street View

Campaign of Second Manassas

Seven miles south is Manassas, where Jackson, on his turning movement around Pope, destroyed vast quantities of supplies, August 26-27, 1862. Hill and Ewell of Jackson's force, coming from Manassas, reached Centreville on their way to Jackson's position north of Groveton, August 28, 1862.
1931 14200 St. Germain Drive, Fairfax County-Centreville Regional Library. Locator Map/Street View

First Battle of Manassas--Panic at Cub Creek Bridge

In the afternoon of 21 July 1861, after Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's and Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard's Confederates defeated Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell's Union army, the bridge over Cub Run was jammed with retreating Federal soldiers as well as civilians who had come to watch the battle. Capt. Delaware Kemper's Confederate artillery fired a few parting rounds toward the bridge, and one shell burst directly overhead. The crowd panicked and upset a wagon, thereby blocking the bridge. The mob of civilians and soldiers abandoned carriages, cannons, and caissons, splashed across the stream, and fled on foot to Alexandria.
1999 Rte. 29 (Lee Highway), 0.91 miles west of I-66. Locator Map/Street View

Devereux Station

In 1863, during the Civil War, Pennsylvanian Herman Haupt, a noted bridge designer and the superintendent of Union military railroads, commissioned John Devereux, the railroad superintendent in Alexandria, to build a siding on the Orange & Alexandria R.R. on this site, later known as Devereux Station. When a passenger station was built in 1868, the name was changed to Clifton Station. The station spurred the development of Clifton as a commercial and resort community, with its greatest growth occurring between 1890 and 1920. Although the station was removed in 1958, the town continued to thrive and remains noted for its late-19th-century architecture.
1996 Rte. 645, 3.7 miles south of Rte. 620, in Clifton. Locator Map/Street View

Fort Lyon

In this vicinity stood Fort Lyon, the major fortification on the left flank of the Federal defenses guarding the city of Washington during the Civil War. Named in honor of Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, the fort covered an area of nine acres with its forty gun-emplacements. New York, Massachusetts and Ohio troops garrisoned here controlled the Hunting Creek valley, the Little River Turnpike, and the railroad depot as well as the town of Alexandria. On 10 June 1863, President Lincoln personally inspected the damage caused by the spectacular explosion of the fort's powder magazine.
1998 Rte. 241 (North Kings Highway), 0.72 miles north of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View


Colchester, founded in 1753 at the location of a ferry crossing, was the second town established in Fairfax County. Located on the main post road from Boston to Charleston, and at the end of the Ox Road leading west to the Blue Ridge, the town prospered as a trading center and tobacco port. In 1781, Gen. Washington and Comte de Rochambeau passed through Colchester en route to Yorktown. The creation of an alternate postal route over a new bridge upstream in 1805; the diversion of grain shipping from the Shenandoah Valley to Georgetown, Alexandria, and Baltimore; and, according to tradition, a great fire in 1815 contributed to the town's decline.
1999 Rte. 1, 0.38 miles north of Fairfax/Prince William County line. Locator Map/Street View

Old Road to the West

Colvin Run Road is a remnant of an 18th-century wagon road from the Shenandoah Valley to Alexandria that probably originated as an Indian path. George Washington passed by here in 1753 and 1754 en route to persuade the French on the Ohio River to withdraw from English territory. In 1755, during the French and Indian War, a brigade of Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock's army traveled the road on its ill-fated march to Fort Duquesne. The road was incorporated into the Middle Turnpike before 1840. A century later, the moving and straightening of the Leesburg Pike reduced Colvin Run Road to a byway.
1999 Rte. 743 (Colvin Run Road), 0.68 miles south of Rte. 7. Locator Map/Street View

Birthplace of Fitzhugh Lee

To the north stood Clermont, the birthplace of Fitzhugh "Fitz" Lee. Born on 19 Nov. 1835, Lee was the nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1856. During the Civil War, Fitzhugh Lee was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Confederate army and became a major general in 1863. He served with Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and commanded cavalry at Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Lee was the governor of Virginia from 1886 to 1890. He served as Consul General in Havana (1896-1898) and commanded the U.S. Army VII Corps in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Lee died in Washington, D.C., on 28 Apr. 1905.
2004 Rte. 644 (Franconia Road), 1.62 miles west of Rte. 611. Locator Map/Street View


Belvoir, meaning "beautiful to see," was built about 1741 for William Fairfax, land agent for his cousin Thomas, sixth baron Fairfax of Cameron and Northern Neck proprietor. George Washington was introduced to Belvoir and its gentry culture while in his mid-teens, during stays at Mount Vernon with his half-brother Lawrence, who married William Fairfax's daughter Anne. After the house burned in 1783, Washington wrote to George Fairfax that "the happiest moments of my life had been spent there" at Belvoir. Sept. 1814, British vessels shelled the walls of the house. The U.S. War Department acquired the tract in 1912 for a military camp.
1999 Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway), 3.5 miles south of Rte. 235 (Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway). Locator Map/Street View

Occoquan Workhouse

In the nearby Occoquan Workhouse, from June to December, 1917, scores of women suffragists were imprisoned by the District of Columbia for picketing the White House demanding their right to vote. Their courage and dedication during harsh treatment aroused the nation to hasten the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The struggle for woman's suffrage had taken 72 years.
1982 Ox Rd, Rte. 123, 1 mile north of the Occoquan River. Locator Map/Street View

Old Telegraph Line

One of the first telegraph lines in the world, a part of the Washington-New Orleans Telegraph Company, was built from Washington to Petersburg in 1847. From this the road took its name. 1929 Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway), 1.6 miles south of Rte. 7100 (Fairfax County Parkway). Locator Map/Street View

Fort Belvoir

Fort Belvoir is named for the 18th-century plantation that was owned by William Fairfax. The house burned in 1783. The U.S. War Department acquired much of the Belvoir tract in 1912 as a training center and in 1917 named it Camp A.A. Humphreys for Maj. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys, a former Chief of Engineers. During World War I the camp was enlarged and the Engineer School moved there. The camp was renamed Fort Humphreys in 1922. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the name to Fort Belvoir. The Engineer School moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in 1988.

1999 Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway), 3.50 miles south of Rte. 235 (Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway). Locator Map/Street View

Gunston Hall

Gunston Hall, four miles to the east, is one of the most noted colonial places in Virginia. The land was patented in 1651 by Richard Turney, who was hanged for taking part in Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. In 1696 the second George Mason acquired it. The house was built in 1755-1758 by the fourth George Mason, Revolutionary leader and author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the first Constitution of Virginia.
1968 Gunston Rd, Rte. 242, 0.67 miles east of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View


Originally part of the Mount Vernon estate, Woodlawn was built in 1800-1805. George Washington gave the plantation, as a wedding gift to Eleanor Parke "Nelly" Curtis and her husband, Lawrence Lewis, respectively Martha Washington's granddaughter and George Washington's nephew. The two were married at Mount Vernon on 22 Feb. 1799, George Washington's last birthday. Designed by Dr. William Thornton, the first architect of the U.S. Capitol, the crisply detailed, beautifully crafted five-part mansion displays the elegance and refinement so admired in the Federal style. In 1951, Woodlawn became the first historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
1999 Rte. 235 (Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway), 0.3 miles south of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View

Doeg Indians

A group of Virginia Indians referred to as the Doeg (but also Dogue, Taux, and other names) occupied villages and settlements along the Potomac and Occoquan Rivers by 1607. They included Tauxenent, near the mouth of the Occoquan River, Namasingakent near Mount Vernon and Assaomeck near Alexandria. The Doeg lived a semi-sedentary lifestyle that involved farming and extended hunting and fishing trips. The English forced many of the Doeg out of this region by the late 17th century. Nearby Dogue Creek is named for them.
2003 Rte. 235 (Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway), 0.3 miles south of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View

Little Hunting Creek 

The Washington family land south of here, named Mount Vernon in the 1740s, was part of a grant made in 1677 by the Northern Neck proprietors to Col. Nicholas Spencer and Lt. Col. John Washington, George Washington's great-grandfather. John Washington's son Lawrence Washington, took possession of the eastern half of the grant on Little Hunting Creek. George Washington inherited it in 1761. Across Little Hunting Creek, the Brent family also was granted land in the 17th century. Margaret Brent, secretary to Lord Baltimore, is regarded as the first woman in the British colonies to demand the right to vote.
1999 Riverside Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway. Locator Map/Street View

Colonial Fort

Nearby at John Mathews's land on Hunting Creek, Governor William Berkeley constructed a fort authorized by the Virginia House of Burgesses on 21 Sept. 1674. Militiamen from Lancaster, Middlesex, and Northumberland Counties garrisoned the fort under command of Capt. Peter Knight. The fort defended the northern frontier of the colony against the Susquehannocks and other Indian groups. Berkeley planned for it and other forts to serve as buffers and thereby enable the English and Indians to coexist peacefully. Some colonists, especially those led by Nathaniel Bacon, favored a more aggressive approach. As a result, Bacon's Rebellion erupted in 1675-1676. 1999 George Washington Memorial Parkway, 0.1 miles north of Rte. 1322 (Belle Haven Road). Locator Map/Street View

Lewis Chapel/Cranford Memorial Methodist Church

This church is a combination of several structures built on the site of the first Pohick Church (1730-1774), making this one of the earliest sites of a religious institution in Fairfax County. Lewis Chapel, named after a Methodist Circuit rider, was built in 1857 and moved from a site nearby in 1952. Cranford Memorial, the main portion of the complex, was constructed in 1900. 1980 Gunston Rd, Rte. 242, 0.67 miles east of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View

Pohick Church

This building was begun in 1769 and completed by 1774, succeeding an earlier church two miles to the south. It was the lower church of Truro Parish, established in 1732, the parish of Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall. George William Fairfax, George Washington and George Mason, vestrymen, were members of the building committee under which the church was constructed. 1934 Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway), 1.6 miles south of Rte. 7100 (Fairfax County Parkway). Locator Map/Street View

Indian Attack

To the east, on Dogue Neck, "Certain Unknown Indians" attacked the house of Thomas Barton about 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, 16 June 1700, killing eight persons with "Arrowes & Wooden Tommahawkes." The neighboring Piscataway Indians denied making the attack and blamed the Wittowees. The Indians involved probably were angered by colonial encroachment on their land and may have been encouraged by the French. Lt. Col. George Mason wrote Gov. Francis Nicholson that "this murder was the Horrablest that ever was" in present-day Fairfax Co., then part of Stafford Co. Mason increased the number of militia patrols, but the Indians escaped.
, 1999 Rte. 242 (Gunston Highway), 0.67 miles east of Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway). Locator Map/Street View

Defenses of Washington

During the Civil War, the U.S. Army constructed a series of forts and artillery batteries around Washington to protect it from Confederate attack. Forts O'Rourke, Weed, Farnsworth, and Lyon stood just to the north, and Fort Willard, which still exists, to the east. These fortifications constituted the extreme southern defense line of the city. By war's end, a line of 163 forts and batteries extended about 37 miles around Washington, but today only a handful survive. A century later, during the Cold War, a ring of Nike missile sites similarly encircled the capital to protect it.
1999 Rte. 1 (Richmond Highway), 1.32 miles south of Fairfax County/Alexandria city line. Locator Map/Street View

Gum Springs

Gum Springs, an African-American community, originated here on a 214-acre farm bought in 1833 by West Ford (ca. 1785-1863), a freed man, skilled carpenter, and manager of the Mount Vernon estate. The freedman's school begun here in 1867 at Bethlehem Baptist Church encouraged black settlement. In 1890 the Rev. Samuel K. Taylor, William Belfield, Lovelace Brown, Hamilton Gray, Robert D. King, Henry Randall, and Nathan Webb formed the Joint Stock Company of Gum Springs and sold lots. Gum Springs has remained a vigorous black community.
1991 Route 1, Richmond Highway 3.93 miles,  south of I-95 Locator Map/Street View

Silas Burke House

Here lived Lt. Col. Silas Burke (b. 1796-d. 1854) and his wife, Hannah Coffer. Burke, for whom Burke's Station on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad was named, served as a director of the railroad and the Fairfax Turnpike Company. An innkeeper and farmer, Burke was elected president of the Fairfax Agricultural Society in 1850. He held many county offices with distinction, including road surveyor, commissioner of public buildings and schools, county court justice, presiding justice, and sheriff.
1991 Burke Lake Rd, Rte. 645, 1.36 miles south of Rte. 7100. Locator Map/Street View


On the hill above stands Huntley, a Federal-style villa built about 1825 for Thomson F. Mason, a grandson of George Mason of Gunston Hall. Thomson Mason, a prominent Alexandria lawyer, served on the city council, as mayor, and also as president of both the Little River Turnpike and Alexandria Canal companies. The thousand-acre Huntley property stretched across the valley below. Remaining dependencies include a subterranean icehouse with a vaulted ceiling, and a combination privy and storage building. The author of Huntley's unusual design remains unknown, but the house has been attributed to Benjamin H. Latrobe or George Hadfield, two notable early architects.
1994 Rte. 723 (Harrison Lane), 1.6 miles north of Rte. 1. Locator Map/Street View

Lorton Nike Missile Site

Located north of here was one of three Nike anti-aircraft missile complexes in Fairfax County operated by the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard between 1954 and 1974. The sites were established during the Cold War to defend Washington from Soviet air attack. This complex, along with those at Great Falls and Fairfax, was among thirteen Nike sites that surrounded Washington and Baltimore. The ring of Nike sites was reminiscent of the perimeter of forts that had protected the capital during the Civil War. This was the only Nike complex in Fairfax County containing missiles armed with nuclear warheads. It served as a model site for visits by foreign dignitaries.
1994 Hollymeade Rd, Rte. 611, 0.47 miles east of Rte. 123 (Ox Road). Locator Map/Street View

Fairfax Nike Missle Site

During the Cold War a ring of Nike anti-aircraft missile sites defended the nation's capital, reminiscent of the perimeter of forts that protected it during the Civil War. Just east of here was located the launch control equipment for one of the three Nike complexes in Fairfax County. To the west stood the missiles, poised on above-ground launchers. The U.S. Army (1954-1959) and the Army National Guard (1959-1963) operated this battery. Built to oppose Soviet air attack, this complex and those in Great Falls and Lorton were three of thirteen Nike sites that surrounded Washington and Baltimore.
1994 Fairfax County Pkwy, Rte. 7100, 2.93 miles north of Rte. 123 (Ox Road). Locator Map/Street View

Langley Fork

Two 18th-century roads intersect just west of here: Sugarlands Rolling Road (now Georgetown Pike) and Little Falls Road (now Chain Bridge Road). Several historic structures stand near the fork: Langley Toll House (ca. 1820); Langley Ordinary (ca. 1850); Mackall House (ca. 1858); Gunnell's Chapel (ca. 1879); Langley Friends Meeting House (ca. 1893), and Hickory Hill (ca. 1870), at times the home of Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, then-Senator John F. Kennedy, and his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Thomas Lee, of Stratford Hall, acquired Langley in a 1719 land grant and named it for a family estate in England.
1996 Georgetown Pike, Rte. 193, 0.27 miles west of Rte. 123. Locator Map/Street View

Action at Dranesville

Near here two foraging expeditions came in conflict, December 20, 1861. The Union force was commanded by General Ord, the Confederate by J. E. B. Stuart. Stuart attacked in order to protect his foraging parties, but was forced to retire after a sharp fight. The next day he returned, reinforced, and carried off his wounded.
1931 Leesburg Pike, Rte. 7, 2.24 miles east of Fairfax/Loudoun County line. Locator Map/Street View

Sharpsburg (Antietam) Campaign

Following the Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly) on 1 Sept. 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee pondered his options and strategy. Encouraged by Confederate victories and Federal disorganization, Lee acted quickly to continue the offensive. On 3 Sept., Lee's Army of Northern Virginia marched north toward Leesburg, from where it could cross into Maryland, flank the Washington fortifications, and draw the Union army out of Virginia. The troops of Maj. Gens. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and James Longstreet moved north on Ox Road past Frying Pan and Herndon Station to Dranesville. The army concentrated around Leesburg and forded the Potomac into Maryland Sept. 4-7.
1935 Rte. 7, 2.24 miles east of Fairfax/Loudoun County line. Locator Map/Street View

J. E. B. Stuart at Munson's Hill

Following the First Battle of Manassas on 21 July 1861, Col. James Ewell Brown Stuart, commander of the 1st Virginia Cavalry, moved his troopers to Fairfax Court House and then here to Munson's Hill, the Confederate position closest to the city of Washington. From his camp Stuart watched Union observers ascend in balloons to study him. Stuart built "Quaker cannons" of logs and marched his men before large campfires to confound the Federals. On 24 September, while still encamped here, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
1992 Leesburg Pike, Rte. 7, 3.03 miles west of I-395. Locator Map/Street View

Lincoln Reviews Troops at Bailey's Crossroads

After the Union defeat on 21 July 1861 at the First Battle of Manassas, Lincoln appointed Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan as commander of the demoralized army. A superb organizer, McClellan rebuilt the army and on 20 November 1861 staged a formal military review here, between Munson's Hill and Bailey's Crossroads. Lincoln and his entire cabinet attended. Occupying nearly 200 acres, some 50,000 troops, "including seven divisions--seven regiments of cavalry, ninety regiments of infantry, [and] twenty batteries of artillery," took part in the review, at that time the largest ever held in America.
1992 Leesburg Pike, Rte. 7, 2.46 miles west of I-395. Locator Map/Street View

Little River Turnpike

The earliest private turnpike charter in Virginia was granted by the General Assembly to the Company of the Fairfax and Loudoun Turnpike Road in 1796. By 1806 the 34-mile-long road connected Alexandria with Aldie on the Little River in Loudoun County. The company placed wooden tollhouses along the road at five-mile intervals, and one stood near here until 1954. The Little River Turnpike became a free road in 1896. In Fairfax County, only this portion of the road in Annandale retains its original name.
1992 Annandale Rd, Rte. 236, 1.17 miles west of I-495. Locator Map/Street View


Near here stood Ravensworth, a Fitzhugh and Lee family home. Built about 1796 by William Fitzhugh, the mansion stood on the largest single land grant in Fairfax County, the 21,966 acres acquired by Fitzhugh's great-grandfather in 1685. During the Civil War the house was not molested by either side. After the war Ravensworth came into the possession of Robert E. Lee's second son, Maj. Gen. W. H. F. ("Rooney") Lee. Ravensworth, a frame Palladian-style mansion, was one of the most imposing residences in Fairfax County until it burned in 1926.
1992 Forbes Pl, Rte. 3090, 0.11 miles south of Rte. 620. Locator Map/Street View

Frying Pan Meeting House

The Frying Pan Meeting House, constructed by 1791 on land donated by the Carter family in 1783, was used for Baptist services until 1968. Named for nearby Frying Pan Branch, the church is a rare example of 18th-century architecture in western Fairfax County. By 1840 the congregation consisted of 33 whites and 29 blacks; both black and white members are buried in the church cemetery. During the Civil War, Union and Confederate forces each used the meetinghouse several times as a picket post. The last surviving church trustee conveyed the property to the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1984.
1994 Centreville Rd, Rte. 657, 1.36 miles south of Rte. 267 (Dulles Toll Road). Locator Map/Street View

Great Falls Nike Missile Site

Just to the southeast were radar and other control equipment that formed a portion of one of three Nike anti-aircraft missile complexes in Fairfax County. The site was operated by the U.S. Army between 1954 and 1962. Established during the Cold War to defend Washington from Soviet air attack, this complex, along with those at Fairfax and Lorton, was among the thirteen sites that encircled Washington and Baltimore. The ring of Nike missile sites was reminiscent of the perimeter of forts that guarded the capital during the Civil War. The missiles, positioned on above-ground launchers, were located near here to the west.
1994 Rte. 674 (Springvale Road), 0.1 miles south of Rte. 193. Locator Map/Street View

Fort Buffalo

Nearby once stood Fort Buffalo. This earthwork fortification was built by the 21st New York Infantry of the Union army in 1861 and named for the troops' hometown. During the Civil War, a concentration of forts existed in the Seven Corners section of Falls Church. These structures were used in the Federal defense of Washington. First occupied by Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell's troops during the First Manassas Campaign, the fort was briefly occupied by the Confederates following that Federal defeat in July 1861. In the 1950s, Seven Corners shopping center and the surrounding community was developed on land once part of and surrounding Fort Buffalo.
2000 Rte. 613 (Sleepy Hollow Road), 0.13 miles south of Rte. 7 (Leesburg Pike). Locator Map/Street View

Mason's Hill 

During the Civil War, Confederate Col. J. E. B. Stuart used Mason's Hill and nearby Munson's Hill as outposts for the First Virginia Cavalry from late July to the end of Sept. 1861. Capt. Edward Porter Alexander of the Signal Corps established a signal station on Mason's Hill. On the Mason residence's observation tower, he installed a six-foot "astronomical glass" to observe Washington, D.C. The telescope could "count the panes of glass in the windows in Washington." Confederate spy E. Pliny Bryan, of Maryland, was to signal messages from his District rooming-house window to the station. Before this scheme could be implemented, however, the Confederates abandoned Mason's Hill.
2000 Rte. 244 (Columbia Pike), just east of Rte. 236. Locator Map/Street View

Fields of Fire

On 17 June 1863, early in the Gettysburg Campaign, the Union XII Corps camped just north of here. The men left Fairfax Court House at daybreak, ate breakfast at Hunter's Mill, and halted by 11 AM because of extreme heat, 99 degrees in the shade. Devastated by sunstroke casualties two days earlier during the grueling 25-mile-long march north, the corps continued to suffer. Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, the First Division commander, noted on the 17th that €the dry old grass of the fields and woods got on fire, and filled the air with smoke and additional heat.
2014 Northbound lane of Route 674 (Hunter Mill Road), 400 feet northwest of Route 10220 Locator Map/Street View

Reston - a "New Town"

In 1961, Robert E. Simon Jr. began developing 6,750 acres of Sunset Hills Farm as a community open to all races, ages, and incomes. Working with Simon, the architectural firm of Whittlesey & Conklin designed a "New Town."  Construction of Lake Anne Village, its lake, central plaza, stores, and townhouses, began in 1963.  With innovative zoning, Reston became one of the first master-planned communities in the United States, with residential clusters, mixed-use development, landscape conservation, ample recreational space, walking and biking trails, and public art. Reston received the American Institute of Certified Planners' National Landmark Award in 2002.
2014 Off Washington Plaza At Lake Anne Plaza Locator Map/Street View


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