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Floris Evolves from Dairy Farms, Summer Homes
by Peggy D. Vetter Send Mail to Writer
Observer Staff Writer

Civilization, in the form of the multi-laned Centreville Road, has advanced on the tiny, once-rural community of Floris.
Gone are the large model dairy farms and the spacious boarding houses which once catered to summer visitors escaping the heat and unhealthy swamps of Washington. Soon even the name of Floris may give way to the historic and more colorful Frying Pan, the name chosen for the fire station.
Centreville Road has been widened from Route 50 to West Ox Road by the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Batman Corporation, developers of McNair Farm, has widened and realigned Centreville Road from the Dulles Toll Road to Copper Ridge Drive, eliminating the dangerous curve at Squirrel Hill, where countless accidents occurred over the years.
The heart of old Floris--its two churches and a general store--has received a reprieve, because the short section of two-lane road from Copper Ridge Drive to West Ox Road comprises the final phase of the Batman proffers, which are tied in to buildout of its development of 4,000 residential units at McNair Farms.
If and when the road is widened to four lanes, the construction would take the Bowman Store property on the west side and the front portion of the Floris United Methodist Church, built in 1895, on the east.
Alignment of the finished road through Floris has been planned to protect the historic Frying Pan Meeting House Baptist Church, built in 1791, and its adjoining burial ground.
Frying Pan Springs Church was the only Baptist church existing in Fairfax County in the 1840s, according to historians. The church was used during the Civil War as a Federal troop outpost.
Now a property of the Fairfax County Park Authority, the church has been “mothballed,” that is, painted and sealed to preserve it until a use is found for it at some time in the future.
The community, then a remote part of Prince William County, was first settled in the 1720s with the encouragement of Robert “King” Carter, who wanted workers for a copper mine he planned to establish on a stream in the area.
By the time the church was built, the mining scheme had failed, and all that remained of the venture was the name “Coppermine” given to a nearby road. When Fairfax County was formed in 1742, it included this area.
Legend has it that the name Frying Pan came about when a later settler found a frying pan on the bank of the stream, an item apparently left by a miner many years before.
The more modern name of Floris was chosen when a post office was opened at the turn of the century in the general store, now Bowman’s. Supposedly the name was suggested by a summer boarder from “the city” who thought the community should have a more “genteel” name than Frying Pan.

Copyright © 2000 The Herndon Publishing Company

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