Springfield is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The Springfield CDP is recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau with a population of 30,484 as of the 2010 census. Homes and businesses in bordering CDPs including North Springfield, West Springfield, and Newington are usually given a “Springfield” mailing address. The population of the collective areas with Springfield addresses is estimated to exceed 100,000. The CDP is a part of Northern Virginia, the most populous region of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
A saw and grist mill was constructed in the vicinity of what is today 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. Nothing remains of it today save for two mill races.
Apartment complex in Springfield
MetroPark complex of offices
Springfield was founded in 1847 around the Orange and Alexandria Railroad’s Daingerfield Station; this is today the Backlick Road Virginia Railway Express station, located off Backlick Road. The station was named for “Springfield Farm”, owned by Henry Daingerfield, an Alexandria businessman who sat on the railroad’s board of directors. 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; it was located about a little over a mile south of the station, near the intersection of Fairfax (now Old Keene Mill) and Backlick roads. The post office name was changed in 1881 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 realtor 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 12 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; 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 (now Springfield Town Center) in 1973–75 (the second regional shopping center in Northern Virginia after Tysons Corner), as well as the Springfield and Brookfield shopping centers. 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 from an indoor facility into a town center with a mixture of shopping, office, and residential development; its first phase opened in 2014.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency building at the Fort Belvoir North Area in Springfield
The center of Springfield is at Route 644 (Old Keene Mill Road / Franconia Road) and Route 617. The old “Garfield” name still survives in the nearby Garfield Elementary School.
The Sydenstricker School, completed in 1928, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
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