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Urbanspace at Tysons Galleria (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Tysons Mass Vaccine Site Tweaks Hours — “Beginning Tuesday, March 1, the Tysons Community Vaccination Center (CVC) located at 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, will be open five days a week, Tuesday-Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Alleged Serial Killer Still Not Charged in Fairfax County — Local police and prosecutors have yet to find enough evidence to charge a man that police dubbed the “Shopping Cart Killer” in the death of California resident Stephanie Harrison, one of two women whose remains were found in Huntington in December. [WTOP]

Office Tax Base Continues Decline — While residential property tax assessments soar, Fairfax County is projecting only a 2.8% increase in revenue from commercial properties in fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1. County Executive Bryan Hill attributed the decline in the county’s commercial and industrial tax base, expected to make up just 17% of property tax revenues, partly to the pandemic-era shift to teleworking. [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Still Testing Theories for Derailment — “Metro is testing out its theories and looking for solutions to resolve a defect found in wheels and axles of several of the rail cars, Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld told board members. He did not elaborate on the suspected factors causing the malfunction or provide an estimate for when the rail cars might return to service.” [The Washington Post]

Newington House Fire Displaces Residents — A house fire in the 7800 block of Water Valley Court on Feb. 18 displaced five residents and caused approximately $162,500 in damages. Investigators determined the blaze was started accidentally by “improperly discarded smoking materials.” [FCFRD]

Reston Company Mum on Microsoft Sale Rumors — Reston cybersecurity company Mandiant Inc. declined to comment on a Bloomberg report that Microsoft has expressed interest in acquiring it. With most employees working remotely, the company is in the process of consolidating staff at its two-story office in Reston Town Center. [Washington Business Journal]

Inova to Hold Blood Drive in Springfield — “Please join @GSVFD and @InovaBlood for Blood Drive event on February 28 between 1:00pm and 6:00pm. Slots still available. Blood donations are critically low and only you can help give the #GiftOfLife. Please signup today” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Utility Work Planned on W&OD Trail — “Over the next month, Dominion Energy contractors will be pulling new underground cables between Sandburg St and Adahi Rd near Vienna; please be alert while travelling this section of trail.” [W&OD Trail/Twitter]

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Graveyard for enslaved people at Bull Run Marina in Clifton (courtesy NOVA Parks, W&OD Railroad Collection)

NOVA Parks has installed two new signs to shed light on the effect of slavery and segregation in Fairfax County.

A new sign in Herndon Caboose Park explains how Jim Crow laws affected passengers on the Washington & Old Dominion train line in the 1900s. Another sign in Clifton describes the significance of a graveyard for enslaved people near Bull Run Marina.

W&OD Trail users can read about the segregationist laws that regulated the regional passenger train service during the 20th century, according to new research by NOVA Parks.

The new sign will be dedicated by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay on Saturday (Feb. 26).

“During Black History Month, it’s important to remember the tremendous challenges Black Americans faced in Fairfax, and to celebrate how far we’ve come while acknowledging we still have work to do in overcoming racial inequity,” McKay said. “We’re grateful to NOVA Parks for documenting this part of our shared history.”

A new sign along the W&OD Trail (courtesy NOVA Parks)

The W&OD Trail covers 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville on the former roadbed of the train line, which operated from 1857 to 1968.

At the time, trains provided the main form of public transportation, and Virginia law required separation of races in public places.

Passenger service on the train was discontinued in 1941, and the waiting room for Black passengers was converted into an office. When passenger service was reinstated in 1943 during World War II, Black and white passengers shared the same waiting room. This shared arrangement “bothered no one, since it was a small community, and everyone knew everyone else,” according to the book “Herndon: a Town and its History.”

“These signs recognize/acknowledge a painful part of our past, a time when laws were created to treat Blacks unequally,” NAACP Fairfax County President Karen Campblin said. “Although Jim Crow laws have been overturned, it’s important to remember what Black Americans have endured and to make sure that we are all treated with dignity and respect in the future.”

Identical signs have already been placed along the trail in Arlington and Loudoun counties.

“In order to foster a community that lives up to the vision of Dr. King’s ‘Beloved Community’ we in Fairfax must come to terms fully and honestly with our troubled past,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.

The new sign in Clifton stands near the likely site of a graveyard. NOVA Parks found five graves in 2020 using ground-penetrating radar. Each grave has a stone at the head and foot on an east-west axis, with the smaller footstone facing east.

“Historians believe the intention of this burial practice, seen in other graveyards of enslaved people, is to orient the bodies towards Africa in anticipation of resurrection and return home,” a NOVA Parks release states.

By the beginning of the Civil War, Virginia had 490,000 enslaved people — more than any other state, according to NOVA Parks. In 1860, there were 3,117 people enslaved in Fairfax County, about 28% of the entire county.

The signs are part of an effort by NOVA Parks to tell stories from Black history and are tied with a new theme in the NOVA Parks 2022-2027 Strategic Plan: Belonging.

The dedication of W&OD Trail sign will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Herndon Caboose Park (777 Lynn Street). The dedication of the sign at Bull Run Marina (12619 Old Yates Ford Road, Clifton) is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.

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