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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Neighborhood History Project seeks photos and stories from the past

The organizers of Fairfax County’s commemoration of its 275th anniversary this year have launched the Neighborhood History Project to collect information about the founding of local communities, civic associations, and neighborhoods.

When Fairfax County was created in 1742, the mostly rural population was about 4,125. Today, more than 1.1 million people live in this urban area. The population exploded after World War II as the federal government expanded and new suburban communities, schools, and shopping centers were built.

Because Fairfax is on the doorstep of the nation’s capital, residents come and go, says Sue Kovach Shuman, president of the Mantua Citizens’ Association and chair of the Neighborhood History Project.

“Some people grow lifelong roots. But many don’t know the history of their own neighborhood or community,” Shuman says.

The Neighborhood History Project encourages communities to document their history for future generations.

Shuman urges neighborhood groups and homeowner associations to ask residents to share photos, vignettes about life in earlier days, and short articles about famous (or infamous) people who lived there. “Then and now” photos would be particularly interesting.

Old newsletters and community directories would be a great place to learn about how a neighborhood was developed, significant events, and traditions. Asking the oldest residents about their memories would be good, too. Shuman suggests asking the old-timers about what they like and dislike about the neighborhood, and asking newcomers the same questions.

Community associations are encouraged to use Nextdoor, Facebook, neighborhood websites, and newsletters to collect photos and stories.

Information about the Neighborhood History Project will be presented during Fairfax County’s 275th anniversary celebration on June 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the historic Fairfax Courthouse.

There will be family-friendly activities, entertainment, history exhibits, living history, performances, and a chance to meet the current Lord Fairfax, whose forebear, Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, owned the land in 1719.

Shuman developed the Neighborhood History Program for Northern Virginia Community College’s public history and historic preservation program on the Loudoun campus. It’s only two of such programs in the country.

Neighborhood histories and scanned photos can be sent to Shuman at Hard copies can be sent to her at 9202 St. Marks Place, Fairfax, VA 22031. 

1 comment:

  1. There's some great photos on the fairfax underground thread here:

    Uh...just for the everyday folk...steer well clear of virtually every other place on that forum.