Great Falls

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About Great Falls

Great Falls is a census-designated place (CDP) located in Fairfax County, Virginia, 15 miles west-northwest of downtown Washington DC.

The unique neighborhood of Great Falls sits in the Piedmont upland (see links below) on the right bank of the Potomac River. The river forms the neighborhood's northern and eastern borders, along with Riverbend Park, and Great Falls National Park to the southeast and The Great Falls of the Potomac River, the community's namesake, to the east. Great Falls National Park runs along its southeast border.

The Great Falls of the Potomac is a series of cascading rapids and several 20 foot waterfalls, with a 76' drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile, the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any eastern river.

Several tributaries flow through Great Falls, including Nichols Run, Clarks Branch, and Difficult Run, Captain Hickory Run and Piney Run.

Great Falls has an approximate size of 25.66 square miles, most of which is land.

Neighborhoods adjacent to Great Falls are Darnestown and Travilah, Maryland (N), Potomac, Maryland (E), McLean, Virginia (SE), Wolf Trap, Virginia (S), Reston and Dranesville, Virginia (SW), Sterling, Virginia (W) and Lowes Island (NW).

In the 1800s, a town and three villages were settled in the area which would later comprise part of today's Great Falls Community. They were; Dranesville, Colvin Run Mill, Springvale, Forestville. When the Forestville community fire department was formed and named for its town in 1942. In 1945, at a fire department meeting, it was proposed that the department change its name to Great Falls. Other Forestville organizations were encouraged to do the same. A decade later, the department name was changed to Great Falls.The second Great Falls Post Office opened in 1959. It served Dranesville, Colvin Run, Springvale and Forestville, merging these mini-communities into the Great Falls Community.

Homes in Great Falls are among the most expensive in the region. Architectural styles range from mid-century to grad estates in a variety of styles. A number of historic buildings have been preserved, among them the bank and post office, Andrew Chapel Church, and the Grange.

Amenities in Great Falls include Great Falls National Park, a local farmer's market, Great Falls Art Center, the Great Falls library, a number of neighborhood restaurants, Riverbend Park and Colvin Run Mill Historic site. Great Falls also borrows amenities from nearby McLean and Reston.