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Dedicated to the History of Burke, Virginia | P.O. Box 243 Burke, VA 22009


17th Century

1608 – Captain John Smith leads an exploration of the Potomac River, finding the Algonquian tribes that inhabited this area.

1649 – Charles II grants the Northern Neck Proprietary, over 5,000,000 acres between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers (including the Burke area), to seven Englishmen.

1689 – Catherine Culpepper and her husband, Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, inherit 5/6 of the Northern Neck Proprietary.

18th Century

1728 – Francis Coffer receives a land grant of 378 acres covering what is now Burke.

1796 – Silas Burke is born.

1796 – Ravensworth Plantation is built near Burke by William Fitzhugh.

19th Century

1824 – Silas Burke inherits “Woodbury,” his home and estate, and marries the great-great granddaughter of Francis Coffer, Hannah Coffer.

1848 – The Orange and Alexandria Railroad is chartered.  Burke’s Station would later be established as a stop on the Orange and Alexandria.

1852 – The first Burke’s Station post office is established.

1854, September 14 – Col. Silas Burke dies in Alexandria from apoplexy.

1857 – Great-great grandson of Francis Coffer, Joshua A. Coffer, marries Huldah Virginia Simpson.

1861, May 23 – Area residents vote on the question of secession at Arundel’s Tavern in Burke.

1861, December 4 – The Bog Wallow Ambush occurred when men from the 3rd New Jersey stretched wires across Braddock Road and tripped 24 Georgia Cavalry men.  A historical marker explains the ambush at the corner of Braddock Road and Dunleigh Drive.

1862, February 22 – Burke landowner Joshua Coffer is allegedly arrested by Confederate troops under the command of General J.E. B. Stuart, and taken to Richmond.

1862 – March – approximately 16,000 Union troops under the command of Generals Blenker, Heintzleman and Sigel spend a week camped in Burke on the property of Joshua and Huldah Coffer.  Joshua Coffer dies in Richmond.

1862, December 28 – Gen. J.E.B. Stuart conducts his “Christmas Raid.” From Burke’s Station, Stuart sends his famous telegram to the Union Army Quartermaster complaining about the poor quality of the mules he has captured.  A historical marker explains the raid at 9415 Old Burke Lake Road.

1865, April 10 – Fairfax County’s last shots of the Civil War fired in a skirmish between Mosby’s Raiders and the 8th Illinois Cavalry at Arundels Tavern in Burke.

1871 – Lee Chapel (named in honor of Robert E. Lee, who had died the previous year) is built.

1886 – Milton Dulany Hall of Burke’s Station (the husband of Ella Ann Coffer) begins a 43-year appointment as superintendent of the Fairfax County schools.

1891 – Little Zion Baptist Church built by freed slaves.  The building still stands at the corner of Burke Lake Road and Wilmington Drive.

1895 – Hannah Coffer Burke (widow of Silas Burke) dies.

1897 – Henry Copperthite purchases the Silas Burke house and farm.

1898, August 3 and 4 – Troops on a forced march from Camp Alger in Falls Church rest for a day in Burke.  The troops had been marched out with an inadequate supply of food and water.  Ill fed and thirsty, the troops loot Burke’s general store and some residences.

1899 – Fairview School, a one room schoolhouse, is built on Ox Road.

20th Century

1903 – Henry Copperthite changes the name of the post office from “Burke’s Station” to simply “Burke.”

1908, July 4 – Opening of the Copperthite Race Track in Burke’s Station, Virginia

1908, October 1 – Ella Ann Coffer Hall (daughter of Joshua A. Coffer and Huldah V. Simpson Coffer, and wife of Milton Dulaney Hall) commits suicide by throwing herself under a train at Burke.

1912 – Burke Elementary opens as a 2 room schoolhouse; a 3rd room was added later.  Once the larger Burke Elementary opened in 1941, the schoolhouse was converted into a private residence named Whiteoaks.

1917 – Copperthite Racetrack closes.

1918, August 6 – The brutal murder of Eva Roy in Burke is headline news in Fairfax County and Washington, DC. The crime is never solved.

1926, August 1 – Ravensworth burns in an unexplained fire.

1927 August- A fire at the Burke Post Office kills Postmaster (and local minister) Jack Sangster.

1929 – Burke United Methodist Church opens in the former railroad station.  The building, on Old Burke Lake Road, now houses an Allstate office.

1940 – Dedication of the new Burke Elementary school at the corner of Burke Lake and Lee Chapel Roads.  The school, a part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress administration, was built to replace a 3 room school house that dated to 1912.

1941, April 20 – Railroad sparks start a forest fire at the corner of Guinea Road and Zion Road.  The fire races south towards Lorton, and burns for several days.

1948, January – Formation of the Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

1951 – Burke residents protest against the siting of a new International Airport in the Burke area and win! Airport (known now as Dulles International Airport) is later built at Chantilly.

1959, September 3 – Ossian Hall (built in the 18th century by the Fitzhugh family) burned as a training exercise for the fire department.

1963, May 25 – Burke Lake Park opens on land that was originally purchased by the Federal Government for the Burke International Airport (the airport was location was moved to Chantilly, and renamed Dulles International Airport).  The lake and park encompass 900 acres.

1973 – Lake Braddock Secondary School, serving grades 7 – 12, opens in Burke.

1977 – Founding of Burke Centre, a 1700 acre planned community with 5,862 residences.

1980, September 2 – Terra Centre Elementary school opens on Burke Centre Parkway.

1987 – Pohick Regional Library opens in Burke.

1992, June 22 – The Virginia Railway Express debuts its first service from Manassas to Washington, DC.  Two stations, Burke Centre and Rolling Road, serve Burke.

1997, January 10 – Fire destroys the Burke Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department (BVFRD) building.  BVFRD rebuilds and opens a new building in December 2001.

21st Century

2008, June – Opening of the Burke Centre Library, a Leadership Energy in Environmental Design (LEEDS) building.

2010 – Burke Historical Society re-activated after years of dormancy.

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