Springfield Quick Facts
Springfield was founded in 1847 around the Orange and Alexandria Railroad ‘s Daingerfield Station—todays Backlick Road Virginia Railway Express station. The area was named for “Springfield Farm”, owned by Henry Daingerfield, an Alexandria businessman who sat on the railroad’s board of directors.
A saw and grist mill was constructed in the vicinity of Springfield between 1796 and 1800. Owned by James Keene, it gave its name to today’s Old Keene Mill Road. The mill served farms in the area for around sixty years before its discontinuation when William H. Keene was convicted and imprisoned for the 1855 murder of Lewis Quincy Hall.
The post office was completed sometime after 1851. It was in existence at the time of the American Civil War, being the site of a skirmish on October 3, 1861, and a Confederate raid on August 3, 1863. The station served as the first Springfield Post Office from 1866 to 1868.
In 1877, Richard Moore petitioned for a post office, which he named Moor and was later changed to Garfield to honor the late President James A. Garfield, who had been assassinated that year. In 1907, the Garfield post office closed, and a new postal station named Corbett (after the then-landowner) opened back at the railroad station. The name “Springfield” was reinstated for good on June 27, 1910, although the name Garfield continued to appear on maps at least through the 1930s. The post office was moved to a new site in 1933.
Springfield remained a rural crossroads until 1946, when real estate developer Edward Carr decided to subdivide the area for suburban development along the recently opened Henry Shirley Highway (now I-95/I-395). Carr believed this to be the last easily accessible tract within twelve miles (19 km) of Washington, D.C., and indeed, the newly developed area grew quickly. In 1950, the area had an estimated population of 1,000; John R. Lewis High School (formerly Robert E. Lee High School) was built in 1957. By 1960, the population was reported as over 10,000; it grew past 25,000 by 1970 with the North and West Springfield neighborhoods.
Springfield became a major retail destination with the opening of the Springfield Mall (today’s Springfield Town Center) in 1973–75, becoming the second regional shopping center in Northern Virginia after Tysons Corner. The 1980s and 1990s saw the expansion of retail and high-density housing in the area, at least until the opening of the Franconia-Springfield Parkway in 1996, and the Franconia-Springfield Metro and Virginia Rail Express Station in 1997. The mall was renovated and re-opened in 2014.
Living in Springfield
Springfield’s family-friendly feel, substantial number of schools, and suburban location makes it an attractive community. The town’s stellar school system is complemented by its attractions, such as a Flight Trampoline Park, the Springfield Town Center—which includes a cinema—and a large area of safe, clean parks suitable for children. The Springfield Golf and Country Club is a private golf course that offers unbeatable golf as well as tennis, swimming, and a large clubhouse that hosts many social events. Visit Lake Accotink Park, a large area of 493 acres that features streams, woodlands, and a lake where you can hike, boat, or have a picnic. During Summer months you will also find a mini-golf and carousel.
Springfield is more than just a suburban outpost of Washington, D.C. and it offers everything you need for small town life. There is plenty to keep homeowners occupied here, whether it is shopping, dining, or exploring the surrounding areas, with the added virtue of being close enough to a metropolis that entertainment and cosmopolitan life can become part of your routine. Take a deep dive into the town’s storied history with a stroll around the town and you will find plenty of signposts commemorating its role in the Civil War. Learn about the community’s history, including its role in the Civil War and to the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.
Public schools in Springfield are run by the Fairfax County School system. For the 2022 school year there are twenty-four public schools serving over 18,000 students. Some of the top ranked public schools are Sangster Elementary School, Keene Mill Elementary School, and West Springfield High School.
There are nineteen private schools for the 2022 school year, serving over 2,600 students. These schools are funded through tuition and student fees, though some may be supported by grants and private contributions. Top ranked private schools in the vicinity of Springfield include St. Bernadette School, Springfield Academy, Word of Life Christian Academy, Iqra Elementary and Al-Qalam Academy.