Tinner Hill

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Tinner Hill Historic Site at dusk Overview of park on Tinner Hill at dusk.jpg
Tinner Hill Historic Site at dusk
Sign for the Tinner Hill Historic Site Tinner Hill Historic Site sign.jpg
Sign for the Tinner Hill Historic Site

Tinner Hill is an historic area of Falls Church, Virginia, named after Charles and Mary Tinner, an African-American couple who bought land there in the late 19th century. Family members quarried stone used in many buildings nearby. [1] Between 1910 and 1918, their descendant Joseph Tinner and Edwin Bancroft Henderson fought for civil rights and helped found the first rural branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. [2]


NAACP at Tinner Hill

The Colored Citizens Protective League (CCPL) was established at Tinner's house in 1915. In 1918, the NAACP granted the CCPL a charter that allowed it to form the Falls Church and Vicinity NAACP. The first rural branch had about 40 members and eight officers, including Tinner as the first president, and Henderson as secretary. In 1944, the NAACP issued the branch a new charter as the "Fairfax County Branch." [3] [4]


Tinner Hill has two memorial sites. A park with explanatory signage, a picnic area, and a memorial river sculpture adjoins the former Tinner residence. There is also a stone arch at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Tinner Hill Road. The arch was erected by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation in 1999, with additional signage honoring Joseph Tinner and E.B. Henderson. The fifteen-foot monument of pink granite (trondhjemite) also honors the men and women of Tinner Hill and the NAACP's first rural branch. One of the plaques nearby is missing since the luxury apartments were built behind it. The City Council of Falls Church has drawn criticism for allowing high-density apartment buildings for affluent residents to overshadow the Tinner Hill monument. [5]

The stone used in the arch was retrieved from demolished buildings built with granite that Tinner quarried, cut, and shaped in Falls Church before 1922. The monument also pays homage to Joseph Tinner's greatest stonework, a large stand-alone arch that once stood about two miles away at Seven Corners. That arch was demolished decades ago during construction of a car dealership. Local high school art teacher John Ballou drew the concept design with the assistance of architect Mark Coupard and Structural Engineer Guy Razzi. The monument was designed so that it can not be disassembled without destruction; the rock is now irreplaceable, as all remaining local trondhjemite is too friable to use in a stand-alone arch. The masonry for the monument was crafted by Roy Morgan of Washington, D.C., and James Ware of Virginia. [6]

Piedmont Blues guitarist/singer John Jackson headlined the original dedication ceremony. A 30-minute film, "The Making of a Monument" by Dave Eckert, shows how the arch was made. Another short film, "Tinner Hill" by Bob Burnett, provides a more in-depth story about the history and people of Tinner Hill.

Tinner Blues Festival

Since 1993, the annual Tinner Blues Festival has taken place on the second Saturday of June several blocks away in Cherry Hill Park in what is now the City of Falls Church. Many national and area blues musicians play at the event, which also honors Jackson's memory.

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  1. Falls Church Historic Trail: A guide and map
  2. "Tinner Hill Monument". Virginia African American Cultural Resources. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  3. Moreno, Sylvia (1998-06-03). "FALLS CHURCH RECALLS ROLE IN NAACP HISTORY". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  4. Costley, Drew (2015-01-08). "100th Anniversary F.C. Civil Rights Gala & Ceremony This Weekend - Falls Church News-Press Online" . Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  5. Observer, Falls Church (2016-01-09). "Falls Church Observer: Falls Church's Monument to White Developers at Tinner Hill". Falls Church Observer. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  6. "About Tinner Hill". tinnerhill.org. Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 3 July 2017.