Falls Church, Virginia, has decided to rename a public park in honor of a home improvement staple that is almost as old as the city itself.

In a September 9th meeting, the city council adopted a proposal and designated the public park in the 100 block of West Broad Street as, “Mr.Brown’s Park.” The move highlighted the significance of Brown’s Hardware for the urban heritage in town. The family business, operational since 1883, is also in the same block.

The park itself is not a new addition to the city’s landscape. Open for public use for over half a century now, it recently underwent a major renovation. It currently features decorative lighting and an activity areas as well as a tree planting area.  From time to time, it becomes a venue for public events such as live music, yoga lessons, and children’s entertainers. It also offers an open space to gather after dining and shopping downtown.

Overwhelming Community Support

The minutes of the Sept.9 meeting suggested that the park stood “in need of a name to identify it for publicity and place-making.”

In search of such a name, the city council has commissioned a public survey yielding nearly 130 name submissions “with overwhelming community support for referencing Brown’s Hardware.”

Explaining its decision, the council also mentioned the old business’ contributions to the city and the community. “These contributions include: operating as a true American hardware store in the community among big box stores, being a true cornerstone to the City’s downtown business district, and continually supporting the City of Falls Church for 125 years,” it said.

Three generations of Browns (James, Horace and Hugh) ran Mr. Brown’s Hardware until their last, Hugh Brown, died in November last year at the age of 92. With no children of his own or surviving family member after him, he decided to bequeath the store to General Manager John Taylor. The late owner used to call him “one in a million.” The store stands out with its large inventory of home improvement tools, big and small, and friendly staff.