During the 18th century the Potomac River creeks were dotted with small port towns settled by Scottish merchants. Most became dormant as their harbors silted up. A typical case is Colchester on the Occoquan River, a town in southern Fairfax County which did not survive the 18th century. A relic of this former port is the Fairfax Arms Tavern, one of the settlement’s only two surviving 18th-century buildings. The tavern was standing as early as 1763 when William Linton was cited for operating an ordinary on the parcel. William Thompson kept a tavern here from 1779 until his death in 1800, after which Fairfax Arms became a private residence. The unassuming frame structure, with brick-and-stone chimneys, is representative of the simple vernacular style that characterized the architecture of these early ports.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark