The history of Annandale can be traced to the pre-Revolutionary period and the 1685 purchase of over 24,000 acres of land by an Englishman named of Colonel William H. Fitzhugh. Col. Fitzhugh converted the land into one of Northern Virginia's largest tobacco plantations. His descendants later named the tract Ravensworth.
Three great homes were built at Ravensworth during the 18th century, only one of which still stands today as a picturesque reminder of Annandale's rich cultural heritage. In 1779, Major Henry Fitzhugh built "Oak Hill" with only four huge rooms, two on each floor. In 1936 the home was refurbished and greatly expanded to resemble another of the Ravensworth mansions, "Ossian Hall". Oak Hill, the oldest of the three great homes, stands grandly atop a privately owned plot of land of roughly four acres in size, located off Wakefield Chapel Road and hidden by trees on all sides.
Annandale's first businessman was William Garges, who ran a blacksmith shop, a livery stable and the first steam-driven sawmill in Fairfax County. Garges became Annandale's first postmaster in 1837, holding this post until his death in 1855.
Since then, business has developed in leaps and bounds, recently with thanks to the Annandale Central Business District (CBD) Planning Committee. Along with their many other activities, the Annandale CBD Planning Committee helps organize regular clean-ups in downtown Annandale to keep the area neat and clean.
The central business area of Annandale is situated around the intersection of Little River Turnpike and Columbia Pike. Retail represents 40% of the commercial space in Annandale with 1 million square feet of space in stand-alone buildings and eleven retail centers. Some of the major employers in Annandale include OneSoft Corporation and Information Spectrum, Inc.
Annandale's major festival--the Earth/Arbor Day Celebration hosted by the Clean Fairfax Council--occurs in April. However, there are a number of festivals and annual events in Fairfax, including Falls Church Memorial Day Festival, ViVa! Vienna! Town Festival, Herndon Festival, Springfield Days Community Festival, Family Caregiving Fair, Celebrate Fairfax!, Waterfront Festival, Fairfax County 4-H Fair, Fall For Fairfax, Falls Church Fall Festival, and Centreville Day.
Residents of Annandale have access to over 22 libraries through the Fairfax County Public Library, Virginia's largest library system. More locally, the George Mason Regional Library was built in 1965 and then expanded to three times its original size in 1974. It was the third library to be located in Annandale since 1955.
Annandale students have access to five high schools: Annandale, Falls Church, Jefferson (Science and Technology), Stuart and Woodson; five intermediate schools: Frost, Glasgow, Holmes, Jackson and Poe; and approximately twelve elementary schools. Local schools are highly rated and the vast majority of graduating seniors continue their education at a number of local colleges and universities.
The Fairfax County Park Authority manages over 15,000 acres of neighborhood, community, district and county parks, including historic parks, golf courses, nature centers, a cross-country ski trail and indoor ice rink, fitness trails, miniature train rides, a natural preserve and a model farm. The Fairfax County Park Authority and the Department of Recreation and Community Services also offer a wide variety of special events, such as high adventure trips, interpretive programs, arts, crafts and music festivals, classes and workshops.
One popular local recreational area is Hidden Oaks Nature Center, which maintains a comprehensive nature retreat within the 52-acre Annandale Community Park. The Wakefield Park and Recreation Center offers a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting activities, and Mason District Park contains the Newton W. Edwards Amphitheatre and Green Spring Farm Park, the foundation of which is a renovated 1760 farmhouse.
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