History of Tysons

Twelve thousand years before the first foreign explorers arrived in what is now Fairfax County, hunter-gatherers of the Ice Age passed through or lived in this area.  These native American people were later named “Indians” by European explorers.

1600 – 1699


Captain John Smith, of England, explored and mapped the lands bordering the Potomac River. The major tribe living in what is now Fairfax was the Dogue. For more information, click here.


The Virginia House of Burgesses began dividing the colony into shires, one of which would eventually become Fairfax County.


The future English king, Charles II, granted all of the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, to seven of his loyal supporters as a proprietary. By 1690, this land was under the control of the Fairfax family.

1700 – 1799


Thomas, Sixth Lord of Fairfax, granted 1,429 acres to William Colville.


The first Fairfax Court House was built on the northeast corner of the present-day Route 123 and Old Court House Road (Route 677).

1800 – 1899

The Colville parcel was subdivided and tracts sold to various owners.


The Alexandria and Leesburg Turnpike Company was created by an Act of Congress to construct a toll road from Alexandria to Leesburg, “with the power to collect tolls from all persons using same: for every head of sheep, five cents; for every head of hogs, five cents; for every horse or mule and driver, three cents; for every stage or wagon and two horses, 10 cents.”


Turnpike Road was renamed Alexandria Leesburg Pike, Route 7. It intersected Vienna-Lewinsville Road, Route 123.


Lawrence Foster paid $3,835.34 to acquire 714 acres located around this intersection. Foster’s peach farm and the surrounding area were informally known as “Peach Grove.” The intersection of Route 7 and Route 123 was known as “Peach Grove Crossroads.”


“Peach Grove Post Office” opened.


William Tysons purchased the Foster property, and served as postmaster from 1854 to 1866. The intersection of Route 7 and Route 123 was referred to as “Tysons Corner.”


Tysons Corner was traversed by northern and southern troops. Thirty acres were cleared for the construction of a Union signal tower and a stockade.

1900 – 1999


Tysons was now a farming community centered around a general store at the intersection of Route 7 and Route 123.


The area shed its rural identity forever with the construction of the Capital Beltway, Dulles Airport and a major shopping mall.

1970s – 1980s

A shift in traditional business functions from downtown to the suburbs occurred, transforming Tysons into a major employment/retail center and offering over 100,000 jobs.


Tysons was now a thriving corporate center, encompassing approximately 2,100 acres and viewed as a place of business, not a place of residence.

2000 – 2050


Fairfax County created the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. The plan has a specific focus: transforming Tysons into a place where people can live, work and play. The targeted completion year is 2050,


Construction of the Metro Silver Line transit system completed.


The Tysons plan will be completed. All projects will be developed and Tysons will be known as a green city where people can live, work and have fun.

To view a Tysons video timeline, created by Fairfax County, please click here.