Fairfax Villa Neighborhood
The neighborhood of 460 houses, known to residents as the Villa, sits on 182 acres just northwest of the main George Mason University campus. It is sandwiched between the almost 60-acre Fairfax Villa Park to the west and Fairfax Villa Elementary School to the east, just outside the City of Fairfax. The original development, totaling 423 homes, was built in five stages from 1960 through 1965. An additional 37 home subdivision, Cavalier Woods, was constructed at the southern end of Andes Road in the mid-1980s. The brick and siding houses are of three main styles: two-story rambler, three-story split foyer, and three or four-story split level.
While developers in other eras may have embraced urban-style street grids, Fairfax Villa was designed in a more harmonious fashion. The neighborhood streets curve and roll similar to a path through the woods. There are no direct through streets, and the neighborhood is well shielded from the noise of major nearby roadways (i.e. Route 50, 29, & Main St.). All these factors contribute to the neighborhood’s overall calm and quiet atmosphere.
Please see below for more on the neighborhood’s history.
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Neighborhood History (edits/updates in process)
L.G. Meltzer & Associates of Washington, DC. purchased the Fairfax Villa Subdivision land in 1959. The subdivision has 166 acres (423 lots) and was built in five sections. Many of the street names in the villa are also found in Vista, California.
Fairfax Villa I was the first section built (1960-61). Model homes were at 4300 and 4301 San Juan Drive and 10916 Decatur Drive. Section I included part of San Juan Drive and Alta Vista Drive, Decatur Drive, Alta Vista Court and Roma Street.
Fairfax Villa II followed, with models at 4332, 4335,4400 and 4402 Alta Vista Drive. This sec¬tion included the remainder of Alia Vista Drive, Cortez Drive, Cortez Court, Santa Clara Drive, Andes Court and part pf Andes Drive ending at Decatur Drive.
The third section constructed was named Tall Trees. Model homes were at 4201 and 4204 San Juan Drive and 11003 and 11005 Byrd Drive. It included the remainder of San Juan Drive and Andes Drive, Del Mar Court. Salina Court, part of Byrd Drive and part of San Carlos Drive.
Apple Tree Village 1 was next with model homes at 11102, 11103, 11105 and 11109 Byrd Drive. Part of Byrd Drive and San Carlos Drive, Del Rio Drive, San Marcos Drive, Byrd Court and Redford Court were in this section.
Apple Tree Village II completed Fairfax Villa (in 1963). Model homes were at 11157, 11138, 11139 and 11141 Byrd Drive. This section includes the lower part of Byrd Drive, San Carlos Drive and La Messa Drive, plus San Marcos Court, Naoma Court, and Altura Court.
Bea-Mar Associates purchased Cavalier Woods Subdivision lands in 1971. It has 16 acres (37 lots). The subdivision’s homes were constructed throughout the mid-1980s. Cavalier Woods is considered part of the overall Fairfax Villa Neighborhood and is represented by the same Neighborhood Civic Association.
An old cemetery, located on a small lot next to 4422 San Carlos Drive, dates from the mid-1700’s. It is surrounded by a native stone wall and was once planted with periwinkle and boxwoods. Today, of the 12 original boxwoods that were planted along the inside of the walls, seven remain and are now over 200 years old. It is believed that the cemetery contains 12+ grave depressions. The cemetery was a family plot that belonged to the Halley/Haley family who were granted over 900 acres from Lord Fairfax the 6th in 1742. Several generations lived on the property, which was called Pleasant Green Farm. It was sold to Newman Burke in 1845. The only remaining marker bears the inscription, “Blessed are the pure…” and appears to be that of a sixteen-year-old girl. A second marker, since removed, identified “James Haley, Sgt”, as once belonging to the “1st VA Regt” during the Revolutionary War.
Fairfax Villa Elementary School was established in 1964. It has a 600-student capacity and 11 acres of ground. The school was renovated in ____. Villa children also attended Westmore Elementary School, until the school closed in 2001.
The ideas for both a swimming pool and a Civic Association began at a backyard meeting on the hot summer evening of July 26,1962. The Civic Association took shape quickly and one of its first actions was to look into the possibility of a community swimming pool. Mr. M.G. Meltzer was approached and agreed to donate land for this venture. The Commonwealth of Virginia chartered the Villa Aquatic Club, Inc. on September 21,1962.
After much hard work by Villa residents, the $246,000 Olympic-size pool, complete with a shallow end (2 to 4 feet deep) and a separate fenced-in baby pool, was opened mid-June 1963. It was dedicated July 4,1963.
Fairfax Villa Park
Fairfax Villa Park is a wonderful open space right in our own neighborhood! This park is largely in a resource protection zone and is being left in its natural state. It has wonderful trails and is truly an oasis in the middle of Fairfax County.
Fairfax Villa Park is a wooded 59.67-acre park in the Braddock Supervisory District and owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority. The main park entrance is located at 4420 Belden Street.
The park can only be accessed by pedestrians or bicyclists. The original entrance to the park is at Belden Street in the Fairfax Villa Subdivision. Since the acquisition of the additional land, other public access points are located on Park Drive in the Shirley Gate Subdivision and at the northern end of the park adjacent to Rust Road in the Chandlers Grove subdivision. In addition, there is an informal trail running from The Cloisters of Fairfax subdivision. Parking is available on Belden Street as well as along the side of Rust Road near the north entrance.
Park Cultural Resources
Local Native American groups came to the area that would become Fairfax Villa Park for the stream as a water source as well as the quartz and quartzite cobbles that are found in the streambed. They used these stones to manufacture tools, such as stone knives and projectile points. In addition, high-quality quartz outcrops in the park, were used to create axes and other tools for quarrying the high-quality soapstone (steatite) found within the park. Soapstone was then carved into large cooking bowls, as well as artistic and ceremonial pieces with the quartz tools manufactured while camping in the area. Later with the advent of ceramics, around 3,500 years ago, this same soapstone was used in the tempering process. These sites form a very unique Native American cultural landscape. Few other sites in Northern Virginia have been discovered that combine cobbles and outcrop quartz quarries with soapstone quarries accompanied by workstations.
Native American soapstone quarries were often quarried again in historic times disturb¬ing or destroying the cultural landscape. The soapstone quarry in Fairfax Villa Park remained undisturbed and thus is largely intact. The fact that these sites are located on land which has not been plowed or severely disturbed in other ways is very significant. These Native American sites are potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, due to their extent, pristine condition of the sites and the rarity of the resources in Northern Virginia.