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Falls Church, Virginia – City and Otherwise

The Falls ChurchMerrifield Town CenterTaking its name from The Falls Church (see historic building, right), an 18th-century Anglican parish, Falls Church gained township status within Fairfax County in 1875. In 1948, it was incorporated as the City of Falls Church, an independent, incorporated city with county-level governance status. It is also referred to as Falls Church City.

Falls Church City is an area of 2.201 sq miles (5.7 km²) and it’s population in 2010 was 12,332. The much broader area called Falls Church lies outside that city and includes a large segment of Fairfax County.  It is an historic area and is in close proximity to Washington, DC.

It is important to know which area you are referring to, because services and schools are provided by the jurisdiction and can vary.  The City of Falls Church has its own school district.  You could have a mailing address of Falls Church and be in a school district that is part of Fairfax County.  Trash collection and other services also vary between Fairfax City and Falls Church that is in Fairfax County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Falls Church has the lowest level of poverty of any independent city or county in the United States.

Sites in Falls Church:

  • Cherry Hill Farmhouse and Barn, an 1845 Greek-Revival farmhouse and 1856 barn, owned and managed by the City of Falls Church, are open to the public select Saturdays in summer.
  • Tinner Hill Arch and Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation represent a locus of early African American history in the area, including the site of the first rural chapter of the NAACP .
  • Two of the District of Columbia’s original 1791 boundary stones (see: Boundary Stones (District of Columbia)) are located in public parks on the boundary between the City of Falls Church and Arlington County. The West Cornerstone stands in Andrew Ellicott Park at the West Cornerstone, 2824 Meridian St., Falls Church/N. Arizona Street, Arlington, just south of West Street. Stone number SW9 stands in Benjamin Banneker Park on Van Buren Street, south of 18th Street, near the East Falls Church Metro station. (Most of Banneker Park is in Arlington County, across Van Buren Street from Isaac Crossman Park at Four Mile Run).
  • Also in Falls Church is newly re-developed Merrifield (see photo, far right), with its sleek white Target, its narrow 1920s-style streetscape of specialty food shops along Glass Alley and the rest of the $542 million mixed-use Mosaic District.