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Community engagement aims to promote history of Gum Springs

Historic African-American neighborhood is located in Alexandria section of Fairfax County.
The Fairfax County government map shows the boundaries of the study of the Gum Springs community in the Alexandria section of the county.

History buffs and community members on May 28 will have a unique opportunity to delve into the past and help preserve it for future generations.

Fairfax County government staff are working closely with the community to launch the Gum Springs Heritage Resources Study, which kicks off with a meeting on May 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gum Springs Community Center, 8100 Fordson Road in the Alexandria area of the county.

Gum Springs, the oldest free sustained African-American community in Fairfax County, traces its roots back nearly 200 years. The upcoming study seeks to explore, document and preserve the community’s rich heritage from its inception through the late 20th century, county officials said.

The project was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2020, and has been gathering momentum with the selection of a team to identify key historical themes and significant buildings and to capture the oral histories that are seminal to the community’s identity.

Among goals of the process are creation of a management document with recommendations for preservation strategies and exploring eligibility for designations like the National Register of Historic Places.

For information on the effort, see the Website at