Fairfax Co. supervisors vote to rename Lee District

The Fairfax County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to rename the Lee District.

The magisterial district will be known as the Franconia District. It’s not known when exactly the change will go into effect, but the Fairfax Democrats said in a statement that the new name will appear on ballots for local elections in November 2023.

The office of Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay confirmed that the vote was unanimous.

The Democrats said in the statement that, given the district’s original location and boundaries, it was likely named after the family of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“Fairfax County is a diverse, welcoming place to call home,” said Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Bryan Graham in the statement. “Our institutions of government should reflect the values of equity and inclusion, not be named after families with ties to the failed Confederacy.”

Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who represents the district, proposed the renaming on Monday, after saying via Twitter on Sunday that he would do so.

He said that while for many people the name “invokes images of the Old Gravel Pits, the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows, or pride in the history of Laurel Grove School,” the name also stands for “the most recognizable figure in confederate history, General Robert E. Lee.”

Of the new name, Lusk said Sunday, “Franconia is a name that is synonymous with our community,” he wrote. “From Franconia Road, the Franconia Springfield Metro, the Franconia Museum, and the Franconia Governmental Center, the name Franconia has always been central to our identity. It is also a name that memorializes a place and not a person.”

WTOP’s Joshua Barlow contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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