Fairfax County Courthouse Tour and Year End Wrap Up

June 19, 2019
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Ornery Beer Company
3950 University Drive STE 209
Fairfax , VA 22030
Venue website

Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center

& Historic Courthouse Tour Event 

 Final Chapter Business Meeting of the Programming Year

(Burger Night at Ornery Beer Company – Public House

at Fairfax Old Town Plaza)

Join us for a visit to the historic Fairfax Circuit Courthouse and Historic Records Center (HRC).   With a knowledgeable guide, walk through the history and lore of the Fairfax Circuit Court.  You might even hear a ghost story! 

You've seen the historic courthouse, situated at the highest point in Fairfax City -- at the famous crossroads of Chain Bridge Road (Rt 123) and Little River Turnpike (Rt 236).  But did you know this was the site of the first skirmish of the Civil War?

On May 23, 1861, Virginia voted for succession from the Union.  Little more than a week later, on June 1, 1861, the first land engagement between new and 'undisciplined' military units of the Civil War occurred – It was the Battle of Fairfax Courthouse

When the skirmish was done, Capt. John Quincy Marr, Confederate commander of the Warrenton Rifles (encamped in a clover field behind the courthouse) was discovered face down in the clover field, sword in-hand.   One source says, "He was likely killed by a spent ball fired at random as the Union cavalry charged past the courthouse.  If so, the ball traveled 800 feet and struck him in the chest directly over his heart.  Captain Marr is the first Confederate officer to die in combat."  [From the Skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse-Civil War, https://www.fxva.com/civil-war/people-stories/battles/court-house/]

Civil War on the front lawn is not the only historical nugget to take away from your visit!  The Circuit Court maintains fascinating historic records and deeds from 1742.  Chancery (litigation) records date back to 1805. Some court orders and minutes date back to 1749.  The Circuit Court maintains all land filings from 1742 to the present.  Geography buffs will be interested in the variety of maps, plats and surveys found at the HRC.

Will books and inventories provide amazing insights to the past --George and Martha Washington's wills were filed in Fairfax-- and these are among the most treasured documents in the collection.  The HRC is also the custodian to documents related to all sorts of litigation (including divorce, boundary disputes, estate divisions –land and slaves, sales of property to settle debts, etc.)  Archivists here have assembled a Slavery Index – a card catalog (!) detailing the slaves who appear in the court's will and deed books.

The official keeping of vital records (marriage licenses, births and deaths) began in 1853 – although there are gaps (due to Civil War, 1861-1865 and between 1897 and 1912 due to state funding issues).  Other gaps in the collection exist due to looting and theft of loose paper filings for cases heard from 1818 and prior to the Civil War.  While the courthouse was occupied by both the Union and the Confederacy – occasionally historic papers from Fairfax will 'come to light' in other parts of the country, having been sent home or carried home as war souvenirs.

Come and join us – learn all about the Historic Records Center at Fairfax and visit the inside of the historic courthouse.  After our tour, we will proceed to Ornery Beer Company – Public House (about a block and a half away) for our business meeting, networking and induction of new officers for the next programming year.


Heather Bollinger, Historic Records Manager

Victoria C. D. Thompson, Assistant Archivist

Katrina R. Krempasky, Circuit Court Records Manager            


5:00 – 6:15 pm    Check-in/Registration, Tour at Old Courthouse & HRC

                                (Enter at back door West side, mid-building, secure entrance)

6:15 – 6:30 pm    Assemble at the Ornery Beer Company, Public House, Old Town Plaza

                                Networking, Appetizers, Half-Price Burger Night!

6:30 – 8:00 pm   Business Meeting – Inducting New Officers, Year-end Wrap Up


Free Public Parking is available within walking distance to the Historic Courthouse. 

Best  free parking is located in the Old Town Garage which has entrances from Rt 123 Chain Bridge Road or University Drive at the Old Town Plaza.  Dinner will follow the tour, and the Ornery Beer Company, Public House restaurant is located in the Old Town Plaza.


Accessible from the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Orange Line Metrorail via CUE Bus (Take Green #1 or Gold #1 to University Dr/Main Street.  Walk 1 block west to Courthouse.)  For map and schedules for map , see details  - https://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/public-works/transportation-division/cue-bus-system


$15.00 Member Registration

$15.00 Non-Member Registration

$10.00 Student (Full-Time)