Once referred to as Forestville, reflecting the area’s dense tree growth punctuated only by farms of its early settlers, the community was renamed Great Falls in 1955, a name that aptly reminds us of the nearby falls and rapids of the Potomac running along its northern border.
Though Great Falls’ early history has been replaced by a community largely residential in nature, some visible evidence of its past remains. Travelling along the nationally recognized historic Georgetown Pike, Great Falls’ main thoroughfare, visitors will see traces of that era. For example, the Turner Farm at Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road is now operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority. A large dairy barn and other buildings, including the Turner Family home, still stand. Turner Farm Park is now home to an equestrian facility, the County’s only Astronomical observatory, and the Turner Farmhouse Resident Curatorship.
Approaching Great Falls from Route 7, the fully restored 200-year-old Colvin Run Mill with its functioning water wheel powering an operational mill is open for visitors to tour and attend special programs. Beautifully wooded and landscaped grounds, including a general store, offer opportunities for picnicking, shopping, and hiking nearby trails. Other historic sites in the community include the Great Falls Grange and the Forestville Schoolhouse located in the village, both fully restored and available for special events and private celebrations.
Numerous athletic and recreational facilities dot the community, along with two major parks —Riverbend and Great Falls. The community, like most in Northern Virginia, also enjoys a top rated primary and secondary school system.
But it is ultimately the residents that make the community special — passionate about what they value and working together to support local organizations, institutions, businesses, people, and events that offer the opportunity to interact. Celebrate Great Falls Foundation, the Rotary, the Garden Club, and numerous others, including Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA), make Great Falls what it is and what it will become.
Great Falls Citizens Association, GFCA, organized in 1968, is a community organization engaged in keeping residents apprised of developing issues as they arise, offering a forum to express their views, and advocating on their behalf.