What's in a Name?
How about the Origins of John Marr Drive

All too often when history is being reported, let alone printed, facts are assumed when no explanation for an event or experience can be documented.  What is the "most logical" is proposed to fill in the blank as is often done with gaps in family or community history.  After a time in the public lore, the assumption becomes fact in the minds of many. Years ago a very affable new resident went in search of Annandale history and had his conclusions printed in a local circular. Whenever facts did not emerge, assumptions were inserted.  Many ridiculous stories appeared and since they appeared in print, without any editorial fact checking, many readers took them to be gospel. Many erroneous stories have been told about the Annandale United Methodist Church during the Civil War.  The stories are bold and far more exciting than the truth.  None-the-less, they are fabricated stories: 

Another example is the origin of the street name, John Marr Drive in Annandale.  The "assumption" proposed and now often believed to be fact is that it was named for a John Quincy Marr who Wikipedia tells us," was a Virginia militia company captain and the first Confederate soldier killed by a Union soldier in combat during the American Civil War.  Marr was killed at the Battle of Fairfax Court House, Virginia on June 1, 1861.”  Marr grew up in Warrenton and is not reported to have come any closer to Annandale than Fairfax Courthouse.  

Instead, it is possible that the road was named for a local resident whose company, Marr, Incorporated, was in the building, developing, and real estate business.  Let’s be clear, this is proposed as the origin of the name, not yet a confirmed fact.

Marr Incorporated, Annandale, VA

If you examine the names of builders and large property owners in Annandale’s modern age (beginning 1950’s), you will notice a pattern of streets being named for them, their children, and sometimes their parents. (**See a list below.)  This is not a practice exclusive to Annandale.  Indeed, many communities trace the names of streets, parks, creeks, meadows, and any gathering spot to the name of the first known owner or developer.  It is quite possible that Annandale's John Marr Drive, created when the K-mart property was developed in the 1970's, was named for this builder/developer rather than for a civil war soldier who had NO known association with Annandale.

If anyone has definitive information regarding this subject, please email info@annandalechamber.com and place JOHN MARR in the subject line.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay tuned for a history story that will appear in the July 2019 ENDEAVOR News Magazine.  This story will debunk the greatest fabrication of poorly researched and printed Annandale History we have encountered.   

** A few of the names honoring Annandale builders/developers/property owners and their families

Oliver Avenue
Hummer Road
Kerns Road
McWhorter Place
Broyhill Crest
Malcom Street
Trammell Road
Linda Lane
Cindy Lane
Rolf Heights
MacGregor Court
Murray Lane

For More History Articles


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