Learn About The History Of Falls Church VA

Introduction

Named after a 1734 religious institution, the City of Falls Church was founded at the intersection of vital Indian trails. These trails were later named Broad Street, Lee Highway and Little Falls Street when the city was formally established.

Falls Church is located within Virginia and also included in the Washington greater metropolitan area. It has the lowest level of poverty when compared to other cities in the US. The city consists of 6 separate postal zip codes which include Seven corners (22044 and 22042), Baileys Crossroads (22041) and Pimmit (22043).


Founding of Falls Church

As said earlier, the name - Falls Church - originated from a wooden church called The Falls Church built in 1733. It was established at an intersection where one road headed to Little Falls and the other road to Leesburg from Alexandria. Back then, the main road was referred to as Middle Turnpike but today, it's referred to as Broad Street, King Street or Route 7.

According to historians, present day Falls Church was part of Algonquian. This area bordered the Powhatan paramount chiefdom. As part of Anacostan chiefdom, the present-day city bordered Anacostia River close to Washington D.C.

The earliest known settlement in the area is believed to have been on the south side of present-day N. Washington Street. After Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, English settlers originating from the Tidewater region started to migrate to Falls Church area. It is recorded in historical books that one of the chimneys belonging to the Big Chimney's house was inscribed with 1699. This inscription is believed to be a mark left by one of the early settlers.

Remember the first wooden church that gave Falls Church its identity? In 1769, it was replaced by a brick church. Its design was conceptualized by James Wren, the Fairfax County Courthouse designer. This new church became the seat of the Fairfax parish.

After the revolution, the Commonwealth of Virginia decided to disestablish the church losing its tax support. The church was abandoned and was only re-occupied again by an Episcopalian congregation in 1836.

After the disestablishment of the Anglican Church, new churches were introduced including Methodists.

As history records, Falls Church developed to be a neighborhood of large plantations surrounding the Anglican church. Much of the development happened during the 19th century. Crops like tobacco, wheat, corn, potatoes and fruits were grown in the area and sold in local markets. Taverns opened in the area and served locals and travelers passing through Falls Church.


Twentieth Century

At the turn of the twentieth century, it had become a big town and was home to more than one thousands residents. The town had 125 homes and 38 properties. By now, the town had become a center of commerce and culture. It had 55 stores, offices and seven churches serving the members of Falls Church.

In 1948, the town was finally incorporated as the City of Falls Church finally attaining the status of a city with a county level government. Today, the city is home to 12,332 people according to the 2010 census. Thanks to rapid development and sound governance, the city has the lowest level of poverty and was named by Forbes in 2011 as the richest in the US.


Attractions

Thanks to its history, the city is home to several historical sites which have been turned into attractions. One example is Cherry Hill Farmhouse. This is Greek farm established in 1845. Within the same property there exists an 1856 barn that is now overseen by the City government. The attraction is open on select Saturdays during summer.

Another notable attraction in the area is Tinner Hill-Arch. Here you can learn the history of early African American settlers. You can also see two of District of Columbia original 1791 boundaries located in public parks. Other attractions include Birch House and Mount Hope.


Visit

You can visit the city parks and enjoy the surroundings as you walk, run, cycle and play. There is equipment for playing where children have the opportunity of swinging and sliding. You can also visit the Historic Trail and get to know more about Falls Church and other historic sites.

Download the Victorian Walking tour map to get started.