Frying Pan Farm Park has the unique distinction of being one of the last working farms in Fairfax County, which is just one factor that makes the park very special. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed a nature hike, been to the 4H Fair, or attended a special event or horse show. As one of the regular visitors, customers and supporters it’s you that also makes Frying Pan special.
On the eve of Frying Pan Farm Park’s 50th Anniversary we pause to reflect on the past when this busy and vibrant park that we now know and love didn’t exist.
In 1876 a school was built where the present day old Floris Elementary School sits today inside the park. The current building which celebrates its Centennial Anniversary next year, was completed in 1911. In 1920 a three story high school was built to the east of the four room school house.
In 1958, both the four-room schoolhouse and three-story school at Floris were standing empty as a result of the school moving across Centreville Road to its current location. The three story school building was torn down in 1960 due to structural concerns. Representatives from the Agricultural and Rural Economic Development Committee (AREDC) requested that the Park Authority purchase the school and grounds in order to continue its use as a site for activities of the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America. Many local residents were also interested in establishing a model farm on the property. In 1958, the school grounds consisted of “several buildings and four acres of land.”
Local citizens, many whose families had farmed the land for generations realized the benefits of preserving the land as they saw their community evolve from a rural agrarian landscape and dairy capital of the region to a more developed area. Dulles airport alone gobbled up thousands of family farm acreage. These early community activists joined forces and successfully saved the schoolhouse buildings and land from development. The citizens organized into what is now know as the Founders, Benefactors, Supervisors, and Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park, or simply as the Friends Group.
The Friends group has been around from the very beginning giving life to the park and sheparding it through its evolution from small parcels of land and school buildings to 130 acres of diverse facilities and programs.
The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park are made up of people that realize Frying Pan is a valuable treasure entwined in Fairfax County’s past and present history. It’s very important to the local community, as it depicts a little piece of the American story that would otherwise be lost.
There’s many benefits to joining the Friends group, and it’s FREE! Once you join, you will be plugged in to all the latest news from your favorite farm! You’ll be the first to know when babies are born, when events are open for registration, and what cool horse show is next! And you’ll meet like like minded folk at exclusive invitation only events. You’ll be joining in a community tradition with the opportunity to continue the legacy of Frying Pan Farm Park.
For more information feel free to call 703-437-9101.