A reminder of Fairfax County’s once-thriving dairy industry, the Floris Historic District arose as a village to serve the local dairy farming community from the late-19th- through the mid-20th-centuries. During the 1700s the land comprising the district was owned by multiple generations of the influential and wealthy Carter family, renowned throughout colonial Virginia. The district’s period of significance spans from circa 1785, when the Frying Pan Meetinghouse—the earliest building in the district—was constructed on land granted by Robert Carter, through to 1960, when Frying Pan Farm Park was established, clearly marking the downturn of dairy farming in Fairfax County.
New research led to a 2017 update to the nomination for the Floris Historic District. The roles of enslaved and free African Americans have been central to Floris since the founding of the Frying Pan Meetinghouse, where both black and white people worshiped until Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church was established by black congregants in 1867. Two years later, Andrew and Mary Cook Lee became the first black landowners in the Floris area, purchasing 20 acres around the Meetinghouse and establishing a dairy farm in an era when very few African Americans owned land. In 1915, their son, Edward Lee, became a founding member of the first rural branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in America in an effort to protect their rights to this land. Also within the district, the historic Floris School and its vocational shop represent the remnants of Fairfax County’s early-20th-century rural public school education and the role of agricultural extension agencies and social clubs. After classes let out, the schools became community centers, hosting talent shows, concerts, club meetings, continuing education classes, and homemaking and farming competitions. In 1948, the local 4-H group officially established the Fairfax County Junior Fair at a site behind the Floris schools. Additionally, the Frying Pan Farm Park was created in 1960 (and segregated until the mid-1960s) to capture some of the county’s rapidly vanishing rural landscape.
[NRHP Approved: 5/8/2017]
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