The Honorable Sharon Bulova spearheaded A Look Back at Braddock, when she represented Braddock District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2005. When area residents shared stories of the past at community meetings, Supervisor Bulova determined, “In this area of the country where rapid change has been our hallmark, it is especially important that the past not be lost, that in addition to looking ahead, we take the time to look back as well.”
She initiated a series of town meetings, inviting historians and archaeologists to talk about the history of the Fairfax County's Braddock area. A task force of 80 volunteers formed out of those meetings and initiated an oral history project. From the oral history project, the book, Braddock's True Gold: 20th Century Life in the Heart of Fairfax County, a companion map of historical sites, a video, and a student history competition for secondary students evolved.
This website augments and extends Braddock's True Gold with greater access to the research and documentation collected by the project team and contributed by community residents. The full project archive is located in the Fairfax County Public Library's Virginia Room, City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North Street, Fairfax, VA 22030-2514.
In 2009, the Honorable John Cook succeeded Bulova as Braddock District Supervisor, when she became Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. In 2011, Braddock District itself changed; 2010 census results led to redistricting in order to balance population distribution.
Under the joint leadership of Sharon Bulova and John Cook, the project team continues to expand, document and share knowledge of the history of Braddock District and adjacent Fairfax County communities through this website and community events. Each year since 2006, on a Saturday in early October, A Look Back at Braddock has sponsored an open house at Oak Hill. Visitors are welcomed to view the circa 1790 house and grounds and enjoy learning about local history through exhibits and talks by historians.
Please contact either of the following for further information about A Look Back at Braddock:
- Chairman Sharon Bulova's office, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 530, Fairfax, VA 22035. Telephone: 703-324-2321, TTY 711. Web page, with email contact form: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/chairman.
- Supervisor John Cook's office, 9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015. Telephone: 703-425-9300, TTY 711. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web page: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/braddock.
A Look Back at Braddock Executive Committee. Standing l to r: Paula Elsey, Marion Meany, Diane Thompson, Mary Lipsey, Tawny Hammond, John Browne, Suzanne Harsel, Gilbert Donahue; seated l to r: Lee Ann Shenefiel, Sharon Bulova, Florence Naeve. (February 2006)
Teachers, media and communications specialists, cartographers, researchers, government workers, historians, business personnel, and students came together to document the history of Braddock District. They contributed individual skills and institutional resources to the project, agreeing to focus on the twentieth century spanning regional transition from rural to suburban.
The resulting book publication, Braddock's True Gold: 20th Century Life in the Heart of Fairfax County, authored by Mary Lipsey, Marion Meany, John Browne and Gilbert Donahue, entered its second printing in 2007. As representatives of Braddock District's commitment to local history, the authors affirm the importance of preserving and telling the everyday human stories linking communities to their pasts.
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, conceptualized, designed and produced the website, A Look Back at Braddock District, under the direction of Tom Scheinfeldt, Assistant Director of CHNM, and in collaboration with comunity members of the project's Executive Committee. Lee Ann Ghajar served as Project Manager and web designer. A Look Back at Braddock District is built in Omeka, CHNM's free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.