Virginia Landmarks
December 2, 1998
Fairlington Historic District
Historic Designation
National Register
March 29, 1999
Historic Designation Seal
Homes in Historic Fairlington
Homes in Historic Fairlington
Historic Designation Seal

Volunteers Complete
North Fairlington Survey In One Day

(Prepared June 9, 1999)

By Lorraine Drolet
Chair, Fairlington Historical Designation Committee
All-Fairlington Bulletin, Volume XXI, No. 2, February 1998

On January 10, 70 volunteers responded to the clarion call to participate in the North Fairlington survey for historic designation. Thanks to them, all of the 442 buildings were surveyed and the 30 building types photographed. This sun filled day began at 9:00 am with a training session and slide show by Gail Baker, our project consultant. Volunteers learned about roof forms and dormers and how to identify a gambrel from a mansard roof, a pedimented dormer from a gabled, and a pilaster from an engaged column.

Residents are invited to learn about the North Fairlington building types by visiting the Management Office at 3001 South Abingdon to see a display of photographs and descriptions. A close examination of the array of architectural details of Fairlington's buildings, opens the way for a deeper appreciation of the work of Kenneth Franzheim and Alan B. Mills, the architects of Fairlington. No two Fairlington courtyards are exactly alike. Each is unique in its placement of buildings and overall design while still maintaining a sense of balance and conformity to the Williamsburg model. Also notable is the manner in which the size and scale of our buildings are layered in ways that achieve a perfect blend with the slopping terrain of North Fairlington. Although Fairlington was constructed during World War II when quality building materials were scarce, funds were limited, and there was a pressing need to make housing quickly available, Franzheim and Mills still were able to achieve excellence in the design and construction of Fairlington.

State officials have commented that the Fairlington historic designation effort is unprecedented both for its magnitude and volunteer involvement. It is the first large scale condominium and townhouse community to be considered for listing on the Virginia Landmark Register and the first prodigious undertaking of its kind carried out exclusively by volunteers. Unlike other communities applying for historic designation, Fairlington has drawn on the skills and dedication of its homeowners. We have successfully completed our preliminary application, which the State approved in July. We are now in the process of completing the final stages of the historic designation process, namely the nomination.

As part of that process, our volunteers have completed the photograph and survey requirements for North Fairlington, but we still have to complete the survey and meet the photography requirements for South Fairlington. Consequently, in the near future, we will again mobilize volunteers to complete the South Fairlington survey. The Historical Designation Committee's goal is to have all historic designation requirements completed and the nomination ready for the State of Virginia's review by the end of July.

For the past three months, the Committee and six teams have been busy preparing a historic designation budget, a plan for soliciting donations from Fairlington real estate agents, and a presentation to be made to each of the seven Fairlington Boards. Team accomplishments include a display featuring Fairlington's historic designation efforts to date, which is located at the South Fairlington Community Center. Also, a web site is under development.

Again, thanks to the 70 volunteers and a very special thank you to our North Fairlington Board without whom we would not be this close to realizing our goal of historic designation. The Board has been fully supportive of the project, from the authorized use of the Community Center and Management Office staff and equipment to a financial contribution of $5,000 to help defray the cost of the survey consultant. Further, the Committee appreciates the personal interest and involvement of individual board members, Guy Land, Alan Barnett, Terry Placek and Nancy Hunt, who are survey volunteers. Alan is also chair of the Data Input Team. Thanks as well to the Fairlington Civic Association for its $1,000 contribution to help cover the costs associated with this project.