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Fast Facts

Welcome to Fast Facts!


Can't find your answer in a book magazine or on the Internet?  Try Fast Facts! This database of hard-to-find and miscellaneous information may just have what you're looking for!

While the library has verified the information presented in these files in what it considers to be reliable and authoritative sources it cannot take responsibility for nor guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.


A - B - C- D - E - F- G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y- Z 


Adult Basic Education


GED EPD (High School Diploma and Preparation Classes)
PWPLS Electronic Resources (available from the library home page or in the libraries) provides a practice test on the 'Learning Express Library' database
Continuing Education at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)
Manassas 703-257-6630
Woodbridge 703-878-5770 or 703-878-5755
Adult Testing for Learning Disabilities
Evaluation available for residents of Manassas and Prince William County at Rehabilitative Services:
9309 Center St.  Manassas 20110
Animals - Collective Names
bale of turtles; murder of crows; pack of dogs; band of gorillas; skulk of foxes; knot of toads; bevy of quail; gaggle of geese; set (cete) of badgers; brace of grouse; parliament of owls; drove of pigs; brood of hens; flight of butterflies; gam of whales; cast of hawks; pride of lions; herd of zebras; shoal of mackerels; charm of finches; army of ants; chattering of choughs (crow-like bird); sloth of bears; colony of squirrels; swarm of bees; clutch of chicks; pod of hippos; leap of leopards; cluster of cats; troop of monkeys; down of hares; mob of kangaroos

Source: Modern Maturity Oct/Nov 1991; A Gaggle of Geese: the Collective Names of the Animal Kingdom by Philippa Alys Browne.

Additional collective nouns may be found at:

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Baby Sitting Classes


The Prince William Chapter of the American Red Cross offers babysitting classes at various locations throughout the county. Check the following website for details: or call 703-368-4511 

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and Prince William Hospital offer Safe Sitter courses which are medically accurate instructional programs designed for 11 to 13-year olds. Safe Sitter prepares individuals for babysitting activities with children of all ages. Topics include safety precautions for the child and sitter choking and first aid and emergency management.  For more information contact Sentara at or Prince William Hospital

Building Codes for Prince William County

The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code establishes the minimum safety requirements for buildings and structures as well as the administrative process and procedures for enforcing the code. For the technical requirements the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code adopts national model codes and makes amendments as needed for Virginia.
For residential construction the two reference documents are:
• Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (2006 Edition).
• The International Residential Code/2006 is available at the following County's Libraries:  Bull Run Central Chinn Park and Potomac. If you need further information or assistance with the state requirements please call the Building Development Division at 703-792-6930.

Child Care License/Certification

Child Find
Preschool screening for developmental delays
Click on Child Find and then on Free Developmental Screenings
Child Supervision Guidelines
Before being left alone children need to be trained in self-care techniques such as knowledge of how to deal with: emergencies conflicts with friends/siblings handling loneliness/boredom personal safety simple first aid and fear. They must know how to reach a responsible adult if needed.       


Ages 0-8: May not be left unsupervised
Ages 9-11: No more than 1.5 hours alone – days only
Ages 12-15: May be left alone all day
Ages 16-17: May be left alone all night or over the weekend 
Babysitting Guidelines:


Ages 12-13: May babysit children up to 4 hours
Ages 14-15: May babysit over 4 hours – not overnight or over weekends
Ages 16-17: May babysit children overnight or over the weekend 
Child Care Providers


A list of child care providers is available at the Virginia Department of Social Services:
Child Support Payment Schedule
Source: Code of Virginia Title 20 Section 108.2
Chinn Family
The Chinn Park Complex was named for the Chinn family who lived on land nearby.  The matriarch of the family was a former slave named Mary Jane Chinn.  For more information please ask at the Information Desk at Chinn Park Regional Library or at RELIC at Bull Run Regional Library.
Articles about the Chinn family:
“Memorial to a Matriarch” by Brook A. Master Washington Post. 12/14/1989
“Lifetime on Hoadly Road – A Milestone for Mrs. Chinn” Potomac News 9/17/1969.
Conestoga/Covered Wagon
The bed or wagon box was about ten feet long four feet wide and over two feet deep. The top was usually built high enough so that a man could stand upright in the middle of the wagon.

Source: Following the Frontier by L.F. James

Consumer Affairs
Prince William County no longer maintains a Consumer Affairs department. Consumers should call the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs at 800-552-9963 for assistance with problems or other consumer information.


contact the Better Business Bureau Metropolitan Washington
1411 K St.NW 10th Floor
Washington D.C. 20008
CPR Classes
The American Red Cross sponsors CPR and other safety related classes. Call 703-368-4511 for information or click on
LEISURE magazine published by the PWC Park Authority also lists classes.
Rescue Me Kits – self-instruction CPR program – are available for check-out at the full service libraries in PWC. Please contact Bull Run Central Chinn Park or Potomac branches to reserve.

Credit Reports


To obtain annual free credit reports please read information at:


Equifax  800-685-1111
P.O. Box 741241 Atlanta GA 30374


P.O. Box 2002 Allen TX 75013

Trans Union  

P.O. Box 2000 Chester PA 19022
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Dispute Resolution

Northern Virginia Mediation Service provides mediation for a wide range of disputes including family neighborhood community and court referral with payment on a sliding scale.
703-993-3656 – main office
703-330-2476 – Prince William County coordinator
Doeg or Dogue Indians
For information about these Native Americans of Prince William please see:
  • Around and About Prince William by the Prince William County Public Schools
  • History of Prince William County by Annye Beatrix Clark
  • A History of Prince William County by George Brown
Driver’s Manual


Virginia Driver’s Manuals are available online at the DMV site:


DumfriesOrigin of Name
Dumfries (Scotland) is supposed to have derived its name from its situation on an eminence rising from a tract of sterile soil abounding in brushwood or furze. Richenda Miers (in Scotland) states the actual word comes from 'dun' or 'drum' and 'phreas' literally meaning a fort or ridge in the brushwood. Samuel Lewis states in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland that the word drives from 'dun' (meaning a fortified hill in Gaelic) and 'furze' (meaning brush).
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ESL (English as a Second Language) Classes and
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Classes


Prince William County Schools      703-791-7357
Also learn by watching PWCS-TV (Channel 18)



Hogar Hispano Catholic Charities English Classes


The Lions Club accepts donations of old glasses at Central Community Library Chinn Park Regional Library Bergers Sewing Machine & Vacuum Center (9026 Mathis Ave. Manassas) and Potomac Community Library.
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FAX Services

In addition to numerous commercial establishments the neighborhood libraries (Dale City Dumfries Gainesville Independent Hill Lake Ridge and Nokesville) of Prince William County offer domestic FAX service to patrons. ($1.00 for outgoing 15¢ for incoming)  No international faxes.
Federal Depository Libraries

Three depository libraries near Prince William County are:


George Mason University - Fenwick Library
703-993-2250 or 703-993-2210



University of Mary Washington – Simpson Library
Alfred M. Gray Marine Corps Research Center


Check with individual facility for availability of publication(s) and hours. For additional list of depository libraries check:

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Gar-Field High School – Origin of Name

The school was named for Gilmer Garber ('GAR') and M. G. Manderfield ('FIELD') who owned the land where the school is located.

Source: Potomac News 7/24/92 A1

George Hellwig Park 
In 1982 the Samsky family gave land to the Prince William Park Authority for a park at Independent Hill. Citizens requested that the park be named for George Hellwig an outstanding local citizen who lived nearby off Hoadly Road. He served the Coles District Fire Department for many years as President Rescue Captain Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Directors and was responsible for starting the Emergency Medical Training program in PWC. He was born in 1926 and died in June 1982.

Source: Independent Hill Staff; Social Security Death Index

George Washington
The story of George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River originated from Mason 'Parson' Weems who wrote in his book Life of Washington that one of Washington’s cousins was quoted as saying that he had often seen young George throw stones across the Rappahannock River. RELIC at Bull Run Regional Library has some rare books by Weems.
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Homeschool Information


vahomeschoolers (The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers) provides information resources and help with questions about homeschooling.
PO Box 5131
Charlottesville VA 22905
Phone: 540-832-3578


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Junk Mail

To remove your name from 'junk' mailing lists contact :


MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008 Farmingdale NY 11735-9099


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Law Libraries

Prince William Circuit Court Law Library
Lower Level 9311 Lee Avenue Manassas VA 20110-5555
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8:30-1:00 p.m. Friday


Fairfax Public Law Library
4110 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax VA 22030
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday & Thursday
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday Wednesday Friday



George Mason University Law Library
3301 N. Fairfax Drive Arlington VA 22201-4426



Virginia State Law Library
Supreme Court Building 2nd Floor
100 North 9th Street Richmond VA 23219
8:15 a.m – 4:45 p.m. Monday-Friday



Alexandria Law Library
502 King Street Room L-34 Alexandria VA 22314
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday



Arlington County Walter T. McCarthy Law Library
1425 North Courthouse Road Suite 1700
Arlington VA 22201
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday



United States Courts Library – Alexandria
1st Floor U.S. Courthouse 401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria VA 22314
703-299-3300 call before visiting
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday 
Library Collection – Prince William Public Library System
The number of books and other materials in the system and at each branch varies throughout the year as items are added and deleted. The general collection size holdings are:
 PWPLS: 850000 Dale City: 26000
 Bull Run: 215000 Dumfries: 19000
 Central:   165000 Gainesville: 22000
 Chinn Park: 190000 Independent Hill: 17000
 Potomac: 160000 Lake Ridge: 20000
  Nokesville: 16000
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Manassas - Geography

City Elevation: 320.55 feet above sea level
Source: 1983 Manassas City Directory


City Land Area: 10 square miles 
Source: Manassas Office of Planning


Additional Manassas information:

Manassas Park – Geography
City Land Area: 2.5 square miles
Source: Manassas Park Office of Planning and Zoning

Additional Manassas Park information:

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis consist of seven books. The original order of the series as Lewis wrote them differs from the order of Narnia history. According to a report by Holly Hartman at these are the two lists:
Original Publication Chronological History
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe  The Magician’s Nephew
Prince Caspian The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Horse and His Boy
The Silver Chair Prince Caspian
The Horse and His Boy The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Magician’s Nephew The Silver Chair
The Last Battle The Last Battle
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Notary Public               

Many local businesses (eg: UPS stores Postnet stores) as well as banks and real estate offices provide notary service for a charge. Check the local Yellow Pages for additional sources.


Opitz Boulevard

Johanna Opitz donated land in 1968 for the right of way for Potomac Hospital. That right of way is now a four-lane road that extends from I-95 at Smoketown Road to Route 1.

Source: Potomac News 9/29/72

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Piggy Banks

The name originated from a kind of clay called pygg. People originally started storing money in jars made of pygg clay calling them pygg banks. The name eventually changed to piggy banks and at this time people started forming these jars in the shape of pigs.
Source: The Kids’ Money Book by Neale S. Godfrey
Prince William County Facts

Flag: In July 1984 the Prince William County Supervisors adopted as the official county flag a white 5x8 rectangle with the Prince William County Seal in the center.

Flower: Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica

Form of Government: County Executive form of government.

Prince William Government


Elevation: Highest point is 1280 feet above sea level on Bull Run Mountain along its western border with Fauquier County. Lowest natural point is at sea level along the Potomac River. Lowest manmade point is at 15 feet below sea level at a quarry site near Manassas.

Geographic Center is near Brentsville at 38.70º N Latitude and 77.48º W Longitude.

Land Area: 347 square miles or 222305 acres – combined with a water area of 8 square miles PWC covers a total area of 355 square miles or 227425 acres.

Source: PWC Office of Information Technology (703-792-7423) 2/14/95 and PWC Planning Office Report 1991


Motto: Although Prince William County does not have an official motto the phrases 'People Who Care' and 'From the Piedmont to the Potomac' are often used.
Source: Office of the County Executive



Name Origin: Prince William County was named for William Augustus Duke of Cumberland youngest son of King George II of England. He was born in 1721 and died in 1765. He was only ten years of age at the time when the county was given his name. When he came of age he was made a Major General. He was wounded in the Battle of Dettingen but recovered to assume command of the British troops in later battles including the Battle of Culloden. The defeated Scots nicknamed him 'Billy the Butcher'. As Captain-General of the British Army it was Prince William who appointed General Edward Braddock to lead the ill-fated campaign in the colonies. It is probable that William was aware of the county in Virginia but he may not have considered it an honor in view of the early history of this county.
Sources: A History of Prince William County by George Brown Dictionary of National BiographyEncyclopedia Britannica


Seal: On January 10 1935 the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County adopted a County Seal to consist of an oval field with figure of a human hand holding scales evenly balanced over a stalk of tobacco in the center and with the words 'Prince William County Virginia' in the border.


Water Analysis: The major source of water in eastern PWC is the Occoquan Reservoir (which is regulated by the Fairfax County Water Authority). The major sources for western PWC include Lake Manassas and ground wells. For current information contact PWC Water Service Authority.
703-335-7900 - then click on “Consumer Confidence Reports”


Prince William County Fair
P.O. Box 91 Manassas VA 20108


Fairgrounds are at 10624 Dumfries Rd (Rt.234) one mile south of Manassas.
Brochures are usually available approximately the first of July each year for the August fair.


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Reading Service for the Blind

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School Staff Library – Prince William County Schools

Open to the public; call before going.

Senior Citizen Metro Cards

Seniors 65 years of age or older may apply for discounted Metro fare cards at any Metro sales office. Identification is required. A SmarTrip card is also required with the senior/disabled fare card.

For more information call 202-637-7000 or visit Washinton Metropolitan Area Transit Authority at (click on Fares then on SmarTrip from the pull-down menu; then click on SmarTrip on the side-bar menu then click on Senior SmarTrip)


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'Talking Books'

Free service for the blind and visually impaired provided by the Library of Congress. Applications are available at Bull RunCentralChinn Park and Potomac Libraries.

For more information:

Telephone Solicitors/Telemarketers



To reduce telephone solicitation and telemarketing contact:


P.O. Box 9014 Farmingdale NY 11735-9014    (then click on resources and then on list suppression services)



National Do Not Call Registry


Trees and Flowers at Chinn Park Complex
The spring-blooming pink flowering shrubs or trees are saucer magnolias (magnolia soulangiana).

The fall white-flowering trees located along Chinn Park Drive beside the hedge are crape myrtles (Lagerstremia indica).

The large white flowers with the red centers are hibiscus moscheutos (also called rose mallow or annual hibiscus) – the variety is 'Disco Bell'

Source: Prince William Park Authority and Taylor’s Guide to Annuals

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Virginia Facts

Mother of States: Virginia’s nickname because all or part of eight other states were formed from western territory once claimed by Virginia: Illinois Indiana Kentucky Michigan Minnesota Ohio West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Source: World Book Encyclopedia
Officials' Salaries:
Governor: $175000 (as of 1/14/2006)
Lt. Governor: $36321 (part time)
VA Attorney General: $150000 (as of 1/14/2006)
VA State Delegate: $17640
VA State Senator: $18000
Source: Virginia State Secretary of Finance (2005)
Virginia Employment Commission
Woodbridge Office: 703-897-0407 
13370 Minnieville Road Woodbridge
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Washington Star Newspaper ceased publication August 7 1981. There was no printed index to the Star before 1971.

Words Ending in 'gry'
angryhungryanhungry (to starve) mawgry (in spite of) gry (obsolete – meant grunt of a pig) aggry (glass bead found in Ghana) puggry (light scarf wound around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun meagry (of meager appearance)

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Work Permits for Youth may be obtained at county high school guidance offices.
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Yellow Ribbons

The custom of yellow ribbons as symbol that loved ones called to serve overseas are not forgotten is attributed to a 1973 song 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree' by Tony Orlando and Dawn. This song was based on a true story of a prisoner who told his wife that he would understand if she didn’t want him to come home but if she did want him back she should tie a yellow handkerchief to the oak tree in the middle of town. The custom has expanded through the years to become a symbol of support for those who have missing loved ones.

Source: Economist. 3/2/91 p.29.

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