Making Democracy Work

History of the Falls Church League

History of the Falls Church Chapter of the LWV--Now 60 Years Old

The City of Falls Church is located in Northern Virginia, six miles from Washington, DC. The City has a population of nearly 12,000, including about 100 members of the League of Women Voters of Falls Church.

The League of Women Voters of Falls Church was established in 1951. When the City of Falls Church received its charter in 1948, the women of the former town of Falls Church were an integral part of the LWV Fairfax County. It became clear to these women that they needed a League separate from the organization Fairfax if they were to concentrate on the new City's local problems.

A Committee on City Affairs, consisting of Falls Church women who were formerly Fairfax League members, held an organizational meeting on February 15, 1951, to begin to form LWVFC and 21 women paid $3.00 each in annual dues to join. Thirty-four charter members adopted their first local program, and LWVFC was officially recognized by the National League office on May 1, 1951. The late Jane Dexter served as first President for two terms. A charter member, Sibyl Vanneman, was the second President, has remained in the League continuously, and recently served on the board, as second Vice President.

Membership has gone up and down and up again over the years. The League presently has about 110 members, both men and women. Dues, of course, have also gone up. Thirty presidents have served from 1951 to 2003; former President Marge Witting set a record, serving five terms! Men were admitted to the League in 1974, and former City Councilman Ed Strait was the first man to join LWVFC. No man in LWVFC has yet served as president. Many former League presidents in the City later served on the School Board, Planning Commission, and City Council.