A history of roads in Fairfax County, Virginia: 1608--1840
This thesis documents the history of roads in Fairfax County, Virginia from 1608 to 1840. It describes historic road development, changes in road construction, and the relationship between roads and the rise of towns and commerce. Historic routes are mapped on current maps and related to modern transportation routes. Like other aspects of material culture, roads reflect the transition from the Post Medieval to the Georgian Order. Initially, bridle paths and rolling roads followed paths of least resistance to churches and river landings. From 1740 to 1780, the county road system expanded, towns emerged, and the disparity between the wealthy (who controlled where roads were built) and other residents widened. From 1780 to 1840, entrepreneurs formed turnpike companies operated with a combination of private and public funds to promote regional commerce. After 1840 until the advent of automobile travel, the focus of transportation shifted to railroads and canals.