The search ended 10 years later in 1799, when the county accepted Richard Ratcliffe’s offer of four acres of his land for a new courthouse, jail and related offices. Located ideally in the center of the county, the land was bought for one dollar.
The historic courthouse building, which opened in March 1800, and about one third of the 4-acre tract are on Ravensworth land (Parcel 188.8.131.52), which Ratcliffe had bought in 1798.
Today’s View (in Google Maps)
See map of Town of Providence. The courthouse lot is in the lower left corner of the town survey plat.
Fairfax County was established in 1742. This is the third courthouse. The first was near today’s Tysons Corner. The court moved to the second in Alexandria in 1752.
In colonial times and much of the 19th century, the county court was the principal institution of local government and the courthouse the center for conducting the public’s business.
- The Fairfax County Library’s The Fairfax County Courthouse is a brief history of the court and courthouse.
- The Fairfax County Courthouse by Ross De Witt Netherton and Ruby Waldeck, a free ebook, is a thorough and authoritative history.
- Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, compiled 1921 – 1940, documenting the period 1860 – 1865 (National Archives Identifier: 524418). From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fairfax_Court_House,_Va_-_NARA_-_528872.tif ↩