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The Fairfax City gets its name from Thomas Fairfax City, 6th Lord Fairfax City of Cameron, who was awarded five million acres in land located in Northern Virginia by King Charles. The area the City of Fairfax City now encompasses was settled in the early 18th century by farmers from Virginia’s Tidewater region.
The town was officially renamed the Town of Fairfax City 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 City with Washington, D.C.
The former Fairfax City County Courthouse is the oldest and most historic building in Fairfax City.
Its design was used as a prototype for many Virginia courthouses built between 1800 and 1850. The first meeting of the Fairfax City Court was held April 21, 1800. During the American Civil War the Courthouse was used by the union forces as military headquarters which resulted in the damage or loss of several records. The original building of the Fairfax City County Courthouse was used as the Fairfax City 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 City 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 City 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 City Museum and Visitor Center.
The Old Town Hall is the social and architectural cornerstone of Fairfax City; Joseph Edward Willard had it built in 1900 as a gift to Fairfax City. It now houses the Huddleson Library, the Fairfax City Art League, and can be rented out for weddings as well as business meetings.