What’s in a Name? The Story of “Ilda’s Overlook”

Credit: The Historical Marker Database/ J. J. Prats

APAH recently completed the naming process for its building currently under construction in Fairfax County, formerly nicknamed Braddock Senior.

Ilda’s Overlook Senior Residences is named in honor of Ilda, a nearby, former community. It is believed that the Black community called Ilda was named after Matilda Gibson Parker, daughter of Horace Gibson and daughter-in-law of Moses Parker. Ilda represents Gibson’s endearing nickname for his daughter. Gibson and Parker were both enslaved blacksmiths who managed to purchase their freedom. Together, they purchased a small plot of land and opened a blacksmith shop after moving to Fairfax County during the Civil War. The community grew into a thriving neighborhood during and after the war comprised of nearly 400 acres of land. Within the Ilda community, there was a church, shops, and even a post office. After Gibson and Parker’s deaths, Matilda ran the blacksmith shop until 1910.

The building is expected to open this November and construction is progressing nicely. After breaking ground in the fall of 2021, the site work, foundations, and wood framing were completed quickly. Already this year, roofing was completed and windows were installed. Ilda’s Overlook will provide 80 affordable homes for independent seniors along Braddock Road in Fairfax County. It will be APAH’s second project located in Fairfax County.


The Historical Marker Database – Ilda

Fairfax County African American History Inventory Draft

Frost and Fairfax History (Part 2)

The Plantation and the Pizza Hut: A Suburban County Reconsiders Its History – Route Fifty