“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Virginia, Falls Church, Tinner Hill Heritage Trail Historical Markers

1733 - 1769 Marker image, Touch for more information
By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), November 28, 2021
1733 - 1769 Marker
1Virginia, Falls Church — 1733 - 1769
The (Historic) Falls Church, for whom the Village is named, was very likely built using the labor of enslaved workers.Map (db m186967) HM
2Virginia, Falls Church — 1781
Harry Hoosier, the first known black Methodist preacher, gave a now famous sermon on the Fairfax Chapel grounds (today's Oakwood Cemetery).Map (db m186968) HM
3Virginia, Falls Church — 1820 - 1910
Early black families in the area included Brice, Wade, Barnett, Jackson, Clay, Gilliam, Honesty, Hall, Scipio, Gaskins, Richardson, Rector, Deskins, Denny, Sims, and others.Map (db m186984) HM
4Virginia, Falls Church — 1858
Harriet Foote Turner, a free black woman, led 12 enslaved people to freedom. In 1867, she owned 7 acres, including the land on which you stand.Map (db m186971) HM
5Virginia, Falls Church — 1862
Philadelphia Quaker abolitionist Emily Howland supported efforts in Falls Church to operate a school for black people before, during, and after the Civil War.Map (db m186972) HM
6Virginia, Falls Church — 1862
John Read and daughter Betsy secretly taught classes for black poeple even though it was against the law. Attendance put students and teachers in danger.Map (db m186973) HM
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7Virginia, Falls Church — 1863
Local black men, including Charles Tinner, Isaac Payton, and others joined the Home Guard, an interracial militia protecting the Village.Map (db m186976) HM
8Virginia, Falls Church — 1864
Mosby's Confederate raiders killed Frank Brooks, a black man, kidnapped John Read, and his black companion, Jacob Jackson. Read, believed to be a Union spy, was executed. Jackson though wounded survived.Map (db m186977) HM
9Virginia, Falls Church — 1864
Some white landowners would not sell to black people or price gouged. Daniel Minor and John S. Crocker sold land at fair prices. Harriet Brice and Fred Foote, Sr. were the first black landowners in the Village.Map (db m186979) HM
10Virginia, Falls Church — 1875
Falls Church became a town. Frederick Foote, Jr. was elected Town constable and was the first black person on the Town Council (1880). Foote, George Thomas, and Eliza Henderson owned businesses patronized by black and white customers.Map (db m186983) HM
11Virginia, Falls Church — 1880s
James Lee, a black landowner, allowed a school for black children to be built on his Annandale Road property.Map (db m186987) HM
12Virginia, Falls Church — 1880s
39% of Falls Church residents were black. The Majority voted Republican, the party of Lincoln.Map (db m186988) HM
13Virginia, Falls Church — 1890
The Democratic Town council voted to cede one third of the Town to Fairfax County, eliminating an area of potentially powerful black Republican voters.Map (db m186989) HM
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14Virginia, Falls Church — 1900 - 1950
To meet civic and social needs, community members created organizations: House of Ruth, Mothers Council, King Tyre Masonic Lodge #292, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Buena Vista Social Club.Map (db m187015) HM
15Virginia, Falls Church — 1904
Dr. E.B. Henderson introduced basketball to African Americans to help break down racial barriers. In 2013, he was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.Map (db m186992) HM
16Virginia, Falls Church — 1912
William Henderson, a black man, filed a lawsuit after he was illegally thrown from the Falls Church trolley. Local white Attorney Jacob DePutron's testimony helped win his lawsuit.Map (db m186993) HM
17Virginia, Falls Church — 1912
The Virginia General Assembly initiated legislation to allow cities and towns to create segregated residential neighborhoods.Map (db m187002) HM
18Virginia, Falls Church — 1915
The Falls Church Town Council proposed as residential segregation ordinance requiring that all black people live in specific, confined areas of town.Map (db m187004) HM
19Virginia, Falls Church — 1915
E.B. Henderson and Joseph Tinner convened a meeting at the Joseph and Mary Tinner home to protest the segregation ordinance. The Colored Citizens Protective League was founded by nine men.Map (db m187006) HM
20Virginia, Falls Church — 1915
Joseph Tinner, an oustanding orator who served as spokesperson in community discrimination disputes, was elected first CCPL president.Map (db m187007) HM
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21Virginia, Falls Church — 1915
E.B. Henderson, a Washington, DC and regional NAACP civil rights activist, was elected secretary.Map (db m187008) HM
22Virginia, Falls Church — 1917
CCPL filed suit in Fairfax County Circuit Court stopping enforcement of the ordinance and gaining their first civil rights victory.Map (db m187009) HM
23Virginia, Falls Church — 1917
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Warley vs. Buchanan, that residential segregation districts are unconstitutional, nullifying the Falls Church ordinance.Map (db m187011) HM
24Virginia, Falls Church — 1918
The CCPL became the nation's first rural branch of the NAACP, creating a model for seeking civil rights in rural America.Map (db m187012) HM
25Virginia, Falls Church — 1919
African American teachers, Mary Ellen Henderson and Lola Saunders, taught at the overcrowded two-room wooden county schoolhouse, the only school in the area for black children.Map (db m187022) HM
26Virginia, Falls Church — 1919 - 1938
Though Mary Ellen Henderson and Ollie Tinner spent 20 years lobbying for a new school for black children, it was Henderson's published study that proved the disparity in spending on black and white schools.Map (db m187023) HM
27Virginia, Falls Church — 1919 - 1949
Black children from Falls Church were sent to segregated schools in Fairfax County which ended at 7th grade. Students traveled to Manassas, VA or Washington, DC for high school.Map (db m187020) HM
28Virginia, Falls Church — 1922
A profiteering group of white businessmen built Lee Highway through the thriving black community and dissected black-owned properties.Map (db m187013) HM
29Virginia, Falls Church — 1948
Falls Church Town became a City. Black residents started businesses: Blossom Inn, Annie's Dress Shop, Francis Jackson's Beauty Salon, Smitty's Barber Shop, Tinner Well Digging, Deskins Plumbing.Map (db m187018) HM
30Virginia, Falls Church — 1960s
The African American community launched letter-writing campaigns and picketed to protest segregated businesses. Ciy businesses integrated without incidents. A cross was burned on the Henderson lawn. Hate mail attributed to the KKK was sent to homes . . . Map (db m187028) HM
31Virginia, Falls Church — 1960s
Falls Church black activists included Claudis Brown, Audrey Williams, Joseph Tinner, Viola Hudson, Mary Ellen Henderson, E.B. Henderson, and Reverends Powell, Costner, and Colbert.Map (db m187030) HM
32Virginia, Falls Church — 1961
Emboldened by school desegregation in Arlington, Falls Church City Public Schools followed suit. The first children to integrrate were from the Costner, Lindsey, and Byrd families.Map (db m187026) HM
33Virginia, Falls Church — 1997
The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation was established to preserve civil rights and African American history.Map (db m187031) HM
34Virginia, Falls Church — A Community Divided
Early civil rights battles in the Town of Falls Church centered on basic rights, equality in education, city services, voting rights, and public transportation.Map (db m186990) HM
35Virginia, Falls Church — Black Churches
Hiram Read, white pastor of Columbia Baptist, encouraged black worshipers to organize their own church. Second Baptist (1870) and Galloway United Methodist (1867) churches still exist.Map (db m186985) HM
36Virginia, Falls Church — By 1860
By 1860, approximately 250 free and enslaved black people lived here. They built a strong black community. Some escaped to freedom, others were freed. Many defied prohibitions to learn reading and writing.Map (db m186970) HM
37Virginia, Falls Church — Civil Rights Struggle
In the early 20th century, African Americans in Falls Church addressed inequities and discrimination through legal means. The black community prospered socially and in civic life.Map (db m187001) HM
38Virginia, Falls Church — Dr. Harold Johnson, Dr. Harry Montgomery, and Viola Hudson
Black doctor, Dr. Harold Johnson and dentist, Dr. Harry Montgomery served black patients as well as white patients. Viola Hudson led the campaign to obtain utilities and mail services for the black community.Map (db m187019) HM
39Virginia, Falls Church — During the Civil War
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and created the United States Colored Troops. Local black men George Brice, Fred Foote, Sr. and Charles Lee enlisted.Map (db m186974) HM
40Virginia, Falls Church — Early Settlers
Free and enslaved African Americans lived in the Village. They worked as laborers, household help or worked on small plantations. They helped build canals and railroads. Some were carpenters, blacksmiths, sea tradersMap (db m186963) HM
41Virginia, Falls Church — Falls Church Early Local Civil Rights Pioneers
Falls Curch early local civil rights pioneers organized to oppose the residential segregation ordinance. Their successful action influenced the state and the nation.Map (db m187005) HM
42Virginia, Falls Church — Falls Church Honors
The Falls Church Community Center Gym was dedicated to E.B. Henderson (2002). The new middle school was named in honor of Mary Ellen Henderson (2005).Map (db m187032) HM
43Virginia, Falls Church — Jim Crow and Segregation
In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed "Jim Crow" separate but equal laws. African Americans lost legal rights gained through 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Segregation became the rule.Map (db m210468) HM
44Virginia, Falls Church — Jim Crow and Segregation Era Events
Garland Hicks organized and interracial baseball league. Viola Hudson organized a black girl scout troop. Black men served in segregated units during World Wars I and II.Map (db m186997) HM
45Virginia, Falls Church — Post Civil War Prorgress
With the end of slavery, African Americans benefited from their own labor and had more control over their destiny. They believed land ownership, education, religion, and hard were key to their success and fought to prosper in those areas.Map (db m186978) HM
46Virginia, Falls Church — Pre-History - 1700
The Tauxenant (Dogue) native peoples camped here annually for thousands of years. First European settlers built Big Chimneys, a log farmhouse nearby.Map (db m186964) HM
47Virginia, Falls Church — Segregation: Separate and Unequal
Unable to obtain insurance and services, the black community created its own businesses and self-help organizations.Map (db m187014) HM
48Virginia, Falls Church — Stonemasons
Some Tinner family members were stonemasons who quarried pink granite and built many structures in the area. Some still exist.Map (db m186960) HM
49Virginia, Falls Church — The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipaion Proclamation did not free all enslaved people. It freed only those in rebellious states, including Virginia.Map (db m186975) HM
50Virginia, Falls Church — The First Modern Schools
The first modern schools in the county (James Lee Elementary, 1949, Luther Jackson High, 1954) were built on land provided by black families.Map (db m187025) HM
51Virginia, Falls Church — Tinner Hill
This is one of three places where African American families settled in the Village of Falls Church after the Civil War.Map (db m186946) HM
52Virginia, Falls Church — Tinner Hill
Tinner Hill is named for the Tinner family who purchased land across the street in the late 1800s. Descendants still own homes and live there.Map (db m186959) HM
53Virginia, Falls Church — Tinner Hill
At the foot of what is now Tinner Hill was a large deposit of pink granite (Trondhjemite), found in just three places in the world.Map (db m186961)
54Virginia, Falls Church — Tinner Hill Heritage Trail
Tinner Hill Heritage Trail features the history of African American families who lived in Falls Church since the 18th century. It honors their contributions to the City and civil rights legacy that influenced the state and the nation.Map (db m186945) HM
55Virginia, Falls Church — Today (2016)
Today (2016) the Tinner Hill community includes generations of descendants that return to socialize at the James Lee Community Center, worship at Second Baptist and Galloway churches, and take part in family and neighborhood events.Map (db m187034) HM
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Mar. 21, 2023