A lot has changed in Manassas since Harry J. Parrish first entered the political arena.
The then-town has grown considerably from the 1,804 residents he represented in 1951, his first year of office. Now, with a population of nearly 40,000 and 48 years after he began his ascension--from City Council member to mayor to state delegate--Parrish has received the ultimate recognition: the Old Town Hall has been named in his honor.
The resolution, adopted Monday evening at the City Council meeting, lists the numerous reasons Manassas honored Parrish, 77. Because he has been a lifelong resident of Manassas. Because he was educated in local schools. Because Manassas became a city under his leadership. And because the city thrived and grew under his guidance.
"This is long overdue," said Mayor Marvin L. Gillum, a fellow Republican. "We're so delighted to be able to do this for him. I grew up with him and am so proud of what he's done."
Former council member Douglas S. Waldron, who stepped down in February, originally proposed the resolution, which he said honors a man "who has done so much for Manassas."
Parrish's son, Harry J. "Hal" Parrish II (R), who serves on the council, said his father holds a "genuine love for public service." The elder Parrish, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, entered his 49th year of politics this year and is running unopposed for another two-year term representing District 50 in the General Assembly.
"He loves it so much, and frankly I'm in awe of his long tenure," his son said. "It's an honor for me to be able to honor him this way."
Gillum said the dedication will occur in the next few months.
"Really, no one deserves it more," he said. "Harry J. Parrish is truly Mr. Manassas."