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Fairfax is a historic city located within Fairfax County, which is situated in the northeast corner of the state, only twenty minutes from Washington D.C. Although it is independent of the surrounding county, the City of Fairfax nonetheless serves as the county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 21,498 residents. Fairfax is an enclave (meaning “politically independent”) from the county, but there is a portion of the county (comprised of the courthouse complex and a small area nearby) that is itself an enclave within the City of Fairfax.

Fairfax is one of the most historically significant areas of the country. The county of Fairfax was created in 1742, but the history of English settlement in the area reaches back to the 1600s. In 1649, King Charles II of England granted all of the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers to a group of Englishmen. In 1719, this land came into the possession of Thomas, sixth Lord of Fairfax, after whom the county was named. The period between 1750 – 1800 saw many changes in Fairfax County's lifestyle and character. Forests were cleared and roads were built, farmland increased and mills and other forms of industry increased in the area. The county had many prominent residents, including George Washington and George Mason. Their respective homes, Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall, are still open to the public. The small town that was located in the vicinity of the Fairfax courthouse was first known as Earp's Corner, and in 1805 it was changed to the Town of Providence by the Virginia General Assembly. The town was officially renamed Fairfax in 1874 and became an independent city in 1961 when the name was changed to the City of Fairfax. A trolley line was built in 1904 connecting Fairfax to Washington D.C.

What was once a rural area dotted with farms is now a thriving metropolis near the nation's capital. Historic homes and 18th and 19th century landmarks are some of the featured places of interest in Fairfax County, along with 300 parks and modern attractions like the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. You can take a walking tour of the historic City of Fairfax and visit Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, which was the home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. For outdoor recreation, Fairfax has over 30,000 acres of parkland. Hiking and biking or golf, kayaking the Potomac River, camping, fishing and boating – there's something for everyone in Fairfax County. The City of Fairfax also enjoys close proximity to Washington D.C.'s national monuments, museums and nightlife, as well as being home to the largest concentration of shops on the East Coast with immediate access to regional malls and premium shopping outlets at Potomac Mills and Leesburg. The Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center is located at 10209 Main Street in the City of Fairfax and provides information on restaurants, hotels, museums, special events and historic attractions in the area. It is open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., with the exception of New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


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