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Oakton park, rec center no longer ‘Marr-ed’ by Confederacy-linked name

Oak Marr RECenter has been renamed Oakmont Rec Center (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County has shed another vestige of its Confederate past.

Oak Marr Park, which is home to the Oak Marr RECenter and Golf Center Complex, was renamed “Oakmont” earlier this month by the Fairfax County Park Authority board, which approved the change at its Nov. 8 meeting.

Located at 3200 Jermantown Road, the facilities were originally named after John Quincy Marr, a Warrenton militia captain who became the first Confederate soldier killed by the Union Army in the Civil War.

“The elimination of ‘Marr’ from the name of these park facilities follows the county’s pattern of moving away from names and titles that glorify the Confederacy,” the park authority said.

Until recently, Marr had also been recognized with a stone monument outside the old Fairfax County Courthouse at 4010 Chain Bridge Road. The monument was erected in 1904 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, marking the spot where he died on June 1, 1861, according to the FCPA.

The monument, which was accompanied by two howitzers and a state memorial marker, was the subject of a protest by the local advocacy group Reston Strong in June 2020, ultimately leading to their removal on Nov. 6, 2020.

Continuing a trend that began in 2017 with J.E.B. Stuart High School’s renaming as Justice High School, the Fairfax County History Commission conducted a review that identified more than 26,000 streets and landmarks in the county with names related to the Confederacy.

The most significant change to come out of that review and a subsequent Confederate Names Task Force has been the elimination of Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway as the county’s names for routes 29 and 50. Those renamings took effect on July 5, though the street signs are still being changed.

FCPA staff initially proposed replacing Oak Marr with “Oak District,” noting that the site’s scope and amenities classify it as a district park, per the county’s comprehensive plan. But some board members wondered at an Oct. 25 meeting if the name might create confusion by implying the existence of an Oak magisterial district.

One board member admitted finding it “just a little plain.”

“You cannot incorporate Oakton into the park, because there’s already an Oakton Community Park, although some of the feedback I got indicated folks want Oakton in there somehow,” said Ken Quincy, who represents Oakton as the board’s Providence District member.

Before the board vote on Nov. 8, FCPA Executive Director Jai Cole credited Quincy with proposing Oakmont, noting that it “keeps the O and the M as Oak Marr and Flint Hill next to Oakmont.”

“Sounds like a great idea,” Mount Vernon District Representative Linwood Gorham said, while another board member suggested that it “sounds like a winery.”

An FCPA spokesperson says the park authority is in the process of transitioning its website and registration systems for camps, classes and other services to the new name, a process expected to finish by mid-November.

The signage at the affected facilities will likely take longer to get replaced.

“We do not currently have a set date for the installation of the physical signs at the Oakmont Rec Center and Golf Center as they need to be manufactured and transported to the site,” the spokesperson said. “We will hope to have a better idea of that timeframe within the coming weeks.”

Image via Google Maps

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