History Commission Accomplishments
Fairfax County History Commission Accomplishments in 2011
Fairfax County has joined other localities across the state in forming a Local Sesquicentennial Committee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Members of the Commission have joined with Visit Fairfax, the Park Authority, and representatives from local groups and societies to work with the State Commission, plan events and activities that highlight its ties to the Civil War, and to promote its Civil War history. Gretchen Bulova is the Commission's representative to the County Sesquicentennial Steering Committee and serves as Chair of the History Commission's committee.
Members of this committee include Carole Herrick, Mary Lipsey and Naomi Zeavin. They are planning a wide variety of activities to support the County Sesquicentennial initiatives. They worked in conjunction with the City of Fairfax to commemorate the Skirmish of Fairfax Courthouse on June 1, 2011. They created a driving tour of Fairfax County Civil War sites, "Footsteps to Fairfax Trail" and suggested reading lists for both children and adults. Both of these initiatives as well as additional historical resources can be found on the Commission's website.
The committee is coordinating three major projects for FY 2012. These include the research, design and installation of nine Civil War Trails Markers, one for each Magisterial District; eight Civil War in Fairfax County educational outreach kits that can be used by teachers and residents of the County; and a Civil War in Fairfax County smart phone app.
Since 2010, the Fairfax County History Commission has been investigating the feasibility of instituting a resident curator program in Fairfax County. A resident curator program would allow a historic property to be given to the County and maintained according to specified preservation guidelines at little or no cost to the County. A resident curator program could provide citizens with the opportunity to hold a lifetime or long-term lease on a county owned historic property. In exchange for this lease, the curator would pledge to restore and maintain the historic property during the life of the lease while periodically opening the historic property to the public. The Commission studied several programs to determine their viability and learn their guiding principles. In 2011, this became an official Commission goal with Robert E. Beach leading the effort and Gretchen Bulova, Michael Irwin, Barbara Naef and Richard Zambito serving on the committee.
In February 2011, Delegate Tom Rust proposed enabling legislation to the Virginia Assembly for the adoption of resident curator programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia that was signed into law by Governor McDonald in March 2011. In June, the Resident Curator Program Committee met with staff from the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning to establish a plan of action for studying the establishment of a resident curator program in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the action plan and the Park Authority and the Department of Planning and Zoning worked with the History Commission to prepare a study of a the cost and benefits of a program. In March 2012, staff presented the results of the cost benefits study to the Development Process Committee of the Board of Supervisors. Future steps include a program development study that would establish a program structure, define program management and analyze the potential risks of a resident curator program.
The History Commission's web page includes member contact information, publications information and Commission accomplishments. In addition, a historical resources page provides information on property owners in 1860, lists of Board of Supervisor members and historical marker text, photos and location maps. A new page provides information on the Civil War in Fairfax County, including suggested reading lists and a Fairfax County Civil War driving tour. The website serves as an easy, up to date and readily available tool for anyone interested in our County's history. Debbie Robison manages the website. The webmaster is Greg Chase with the Department of Planning and Zoning. (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/)
The Civil War Comes to Fairfax County!
The 7th Annual Fairfax County History Conference was held on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the new Stacey C. Sherwood Conference Center in the City of Fairfax. The Fairfax County History Commission, Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Fairfax County Park Authority and Preservation Virginia, Northern Branch co-sponsored this annual event. The theme was "The Civil War Comes to Fairfax County!"
Over 115 guests enjoyed breakfast and lunch catered by Jason's Deli, as they listened to a variety of speakers on topics reflecting on the coming of the Civil War to Fairfax County. Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova bestowed Recognition Awards and Heritage Awareness Awards to this year's honorees. For more information, see the Awards Programs section of this report.
Keynote speaker, noted Archeologist Stephen Potter of the National Park
Service spoke on "No Maneuvering and Very Little Tactics:
Archaeology and the Battle of Brawner Farm" about the archeological
work he has conducted at the site in Manassas, considered the location
of the first major Civil War battle in Northern Virginia.
By sharing statistics reflecting the painful decisions on secession
from many areas in Northern Virginia, Rich Gillespie from the Mosby
Heritage Area helped the audience see that Fairfax was heavily
influenced by decisions outside her boundaries in a talk entitled
"1861-The Spring the Civil War Came to Northern Virginia." In
addition, Mr. Gillespie regaled the audience with an early version of
the song "Confederate Stars and Bars."
In "Buckland-a Land of History, a Land to Preserve," David
Blake, Director of the Buckland Preservation Association, told the
story of the property and his ancestors dating back to the American
Revolution, as well as how Civil War events there related to events in
Bull Run Civil War Roundtable member, Jim Lewis gave a short lunchtime
presentation on "Red River."
Susan Hellman, Acting Director, Woodlawn Plantation, National Trust for
Historic Preservation, spoke on "Woodlawn on the Eve of the Civil
War: a Changing Cultural Landscape," providing insights on the
Quaker influence in the area and the fact that 20% of the county's Free
Blacks lived within the Woodlawn Plantation area at that time.
Art Cendenquist donned Confederate dress to share the story of Major
Thomas Sharp who masterminded the Centreville Military Railroad.
- Sons of Confederate Veteran member Gar Schulin spoke of Robert E. Lee and those in the 20th century who have found his legacy enduring, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Conference Planning Committee included Chair Lynne Garvey-Hodge along with Esther McCullough, Naomi Zeavin, Barbara Naef, Anne Barnes, Carole Herrick, Sallie Lyons, Mary Lipsey and Mike Irwin from the History Commission; Susan Gray, Director, the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Dr. Elizabeth Crowell, the Fairfax County Park Authority, Rob Orrison, Preservation Virginia, Northern Branch.
The 8th Annual Fairfax County History Conference will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at the Stacey C. Sherwood Conference Center in the City of Fairfax. The theme will be "Conflict & Courage in Fairfax County - Sites and Stories of the Civil War."
The Fairfax County History Commission has several awards programs to honor achievements in Fairfax County history and historic preservation. In 2011, the Awards and Executive Committees worked together to carefully review, streamline and revise these programs. After a great deal of hard work, the revised awards programs that included adjustments to the monetary prizes and revisions to the submissions requirements, program policies and judging process were adopted by the Commission in January 2012. The revised policies, along with an Application Form and Heritage Awareness Awards Standards for Evaluation are on the Commission web site. (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/awardsprogram.htm)
On November 12, 2011, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova presented the following awards at the 7th Annual Fairfax County History Conference:
Lifetime Achievement Award: Mike Johnson, a 30-year veteran Archeologist with Fairfax County.
Distinguished Service Awards:
Tom and Janey Nodeen for their tireless efforts in saving and restoring the Crouch School House in the Clifton area;
Kathe Gunther, for her work researching the Goodings Tavern in Annandale and the Goodings family; and
HMS Productions, Don Hakenson, Chuck Mauro and Steve Sherman, for their documentary film, "Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County."
Heritage Awareness Awards:
Daniel P. Courtney received the Nan Netherton Award for his well-documented and researched book, "The History of the Fairfax County Police Department;" and
Carol Cross and Trish Strat received the C.J.S. Durham Award for their work researching and preparing a successful National Register of Historic Places Nomination for the Vale School and Community House.
The Awards committee included Commissioners Naomi Zeavin, Robert E. Beach, Jack L. Hiller and Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair. The Executive Committee included the Commission's officers, Debbie Robison, Elise Murray, Anne Barnes and Steve Sherman.
This committee was formed in the fall of 1997 in response to the increasing demographic diversity of Fairfax County's population. The one hundred languages spoken within schools show the diversity of the population. It has been estimated that in less than fifty years the County's white population will drop below 50 percent. The committee set as a goal to explore the ways in which more ethnic segments might be encouraged to record their experiences and community history since their arrival in Northern Virginia.
In 2004, at the suggestion of then-Chairman Connolly, the Commission formed a subcommittee of the Ethnic Committee to seek a project for recording and presenting oral history in Fairfax County. The subcommittee is researching ways to present oral history that convey to the County and the youth that the history of all people is important. In addition, that history is not just the past, but is made each day.
The oral history of a 96-year-old woman from Vienna documented early-20th century African-American social life in Fairfax County.
The members of these committees are Naomi Zeavin, Anne Barnes, Sallie Lyons, Lynne Garvey-Hodge and Chair, Esther McCullough.
The Fairfax County History Commission's Publications Committee completed a project to reprint the book "Fairfax County, Virginia in 1760" and its associated map. They continue working on several reprints including "Beginning at a White Oak: Patents and Northern Neck Grants of Fairfax County, Virginia;" "Legato School: a Centennial Souvenir;" and "Mount Air, Fairfax, Virginia." The committee is working on publishing "Fairfax County in 1860" which is a portrait of the County shown through property identification maps and an aggregation of census data. The maps are posted online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/1860maps.htm.
Committee members are coordinating with the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Virginia Room on sales of history publications previously sold at the Maps and Publications Center. The Commission's publications are available for purchase at the Virginia Room. Some of the old Planning Office publications are available through the Park Authority and other outlets. Committee members are working with Park Authority and the Virginia Room to find outlets for all of the Fairfax County local history publications. See the Commission's website for more information on titles and availability. (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/book.htm)
The Commission established a new grants program, whereby an individual or a group may apply for a grant of up to $500 to aid in the research and publication of local history.
Members of the Publications Committee are Mary Lipsey (Chair), Mayo Stuntz, Elise Ruff Murray, Barbara Naef, Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Anne Barnes, Carole Herrick and Suzanne Levy, ex officio, Virginia Room.
Fairfax County's Historical Marker Program began in January 1998 when the History Commission approved a design and agreed to fund a distinctive marker for Fairfax County. While this marker was generally modeled after Virginia's roadside markers, by state code it had to have a distinctive appearance. With colors derived from George Washington's Fairfax Militia uniform, these buff and blue roadside markers emblazoned with the Fairfax County seal, stand ten feet from ground level.
In the twelve years the program has existed 42 historical markers (including six state markers) have been approved for installation by the History Commission. Many requests for historical markers are initiated by the public, which provides for approximately one half of the funding. Some markers, including those requested by developers, are funded entirely by the requesting party. All requests are reviewed by a committee for historical accuracy and editorial continuity before being submitted to the entire Commission for approval.
Six historical markers were approved in 2011:
"Shiloh Baptist Church" (installed at the church on Mason
"Gooding's Tavern" (installed on Route 236 near the entrance of
the Pleasant Valley Cemetery);
"NOVA Campus Heritage" (not yet installed). Although this
marker was approved for a Fairfax County historical marker, the
Northern Virginia Community College chose to apply for a state marker
The Laughlin Building" (installed at 6805 Old Dominion Dr., McLean)
"Civil War At Frying Pan Meeting House" (installed at Frying
Pan Park); and
- "Bog Wallow Ambush" (waiting approval for installation on Virginia Department of Transportation property along Braddock Road).
Beginning in FY 2011, the Commission agreed that funding for markers would be limited to the cost of two Fairfax County markers. The Commission can contribute all or any portion of that amount toward the fabrication of historical roadside markers. Of course, if a sponsor agreed to fund the entire cost of a marker, that would still be possible.
Due to the efforts of Laurie Turkawski and Greg Chase, from the Department of Zoning and Planning, the Fairfax County History Commission Historical Roadside Markers are available for viewing on the Commission's web page. The viewer can select a magisterial district on a map to observe the number of markers in that district, click on the red dot showing the marker location and see a picture of the marker and its surroundings along with the text, date installed, how it was funded and a detailed location map. An alphabetical list of the markers is also available. (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/historicmarkers/)
Serving on the Marker Committee are Anne Barnes, Michael Irwin, Mary Lipsey, Esther McCullough, Page Shelp and Jack L. Hiller, the chairman.
The Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites is one of the History Commission's longest standing responsibilities. It serves as both an honorific and a planning tool. The Comprehensive Plan includes the Inventory sites in the Heritage Resources section of each Planning District.
The second annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment, S11-CW-4CP, to update the Inventory tables, references to Inventory sites in the text and other technical corrections was approved by the Planning Commission on February 9, 2012 and by the Board of Supervisors on March 6, 2012. There was no amendment in 2011 because there were no additions to the Inventory in 2010.
Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) Planning Division staff completed the plan amendment. Laurie Turkawski, Historian I, revised the Plan text and Inventory tables. Harry Rado, Graphics Supervisor, revised the planning district maps showing the Inventory sites. Planner Lilian Cerdeira provided procedural guidance and updated the Plan on the county website. Historic Preservation Planner Linda Cornish Blank, Branch Chief Sterling Wheeler, Planning Division Director Marianne Gardner, and DPZ Director Fred Selden provided oversight through review, comments, editing, and attendance at the public hearings.
As of December 2011, the Inventory stands at 360 listings. The following were added in 2011:
Additions to the Inventory of Historic Sites 2011
|Site Name||Date Added||District||Location|
|Great Falls Park Historic District||February 2, 2011||Dranesville||Great Falls|
|Clifton Elementary School||February 2, 2011||Springfield||Clifton|
The current Inventory list along with its background, nomination forms and research guidelines are accessible to staff and the general public on the County website. An Inventory nomination form, instruction guide and example are also available. (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/historic/ihs/).
The History Commission is very grateful to the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive and DPZ Senior Staff for approving the conversion of the Limited Term Historian I position into a Merit position, effective March 12, 2011. One result of this change is that Linda Cornish Blank stepped aside as the Commission's DPZ staff liaison and Laurie Turkawski took her place. The Department of Planning and Zoning continues to be supportive.
The Commission continues to work with County Staff to establish procedures for obtaining notice of impending demolition of Inventory sites, which might require a change in the Zoning Ordinance.
Sallie Lyons, Elise Ruff Murray, Barbara Naef and Debbie Robison serve on the Inventory Committee, in cooperation with Laurie Turkawski and Linda Cornish Blank of DPZ.
Since 2000, the Commission has provided a modest grant to Vicki Monken for entering archaeological data into the computer for the Park Authority Cultural Resource Management and Protection Section. In 2011, Denice Dressel used grant funds to work on the Cultural Resources Management Plan and Cultural Resource Policies and continues to work on site specific Cultural Resource Action Plans.
In 2011, the History Commission provided funding for two summer interns who earned course credit working on the Colchester archaeology project. They were Allison Harmon, a junior in the Applied History Department at Stevenson University and Justin Herbst, a recent graduate from George Mason University with a degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. The Park Authority contributed to the student's internships by providing free housing at a historic house for the duration of the internship.
At the Board of Supervisors request, the Commission compiled a list of people willing to speak on topics related to Fairfax County history. The resulting Speaker's Bureau List includes a variety of countywide history topics with related speakers and contact information, including name, email address and phone number. An update is in progress.
Members of the Fairfax County History Commission continue to be active in speaking before various civic, community and historic groups.
Anne Barnes has presented talks on the early historical Fairfax County "Colored" schools at the annual Fairfax County History Conference, Gunston Hall and historic one room Laurel Grove School located in Franconia, Virginia.
Jack Lewis Hiller spoke in four classrooms in 2011. Typically, he is asked to speak in public schools, to civic associations, historical groups, senior citizens or to private groups. Many of Hiller's lectures are given with slides and focus on Springfield. Titles of his lectures include: "Murder At The Mill: My Search For William H. Keene," "Henry Daingerfield and Origins of Springfield," "Oakgrove: The Home that John H. Broders Built," "The Hidden History of Hidden Pond Park," and "An Introduction To Fairfax Archaeology."
Lynne Garvey-Hodge has a particular interest in the Progressive Era of the United States (1890-1920). She re-enacts Suffragist Mrs. Robert Walker in a 45 minute, one-person monologue for numerous community events, educational groups and Cox Cable Channel 10. She has performed in this capacity on upwards of 50 occasions and has traveled throughout Virginia. Ms. Garvey-Hodge also speaks on the background and research for her book, published by Arcadia Publishers in their Images of America Series, "Clifton." She has given presentations on the history of Clifton using music, photo boards and games to local groups and for the Cox Cable Channel 10, "Virginia Time Travel" and "NARFE" programs, as well as to local educational forums and civic organizations. "Women of the Progressive Era in Fairfax County" is another presentation Ms. Garvey-Hodge has given to local non-profit, civic and educational associations and "Victorian Mourning Customs" is a more recent presentation she has given both to the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association and to the Sons of Union Veterans.
Mary Lipsey continues to provide presentations on a variety of topics related to the "Braddock's True Gold" project, local history, women's history and firsts in American history.
Sallie Lyons promotes preservation and archeological and historical research in the old town of Colchester, Colchester Park and Preserve and Mason Neck, speaking frequently to groups and at the History Conference.
Naomi Zeavin speaks at the Rotary and schools, etc. on Historic Mason District.
Fairfax County History Commission members continue to be active in a variety of ways in the community. The following summary, though not a comprehensive list, highlights the wide variety of outreach activities performed by commission members.
Anne Barnes is a member of the Board of Directors of the Laurel Grove School Association.
Architect member, Robert E. Beach, AIA, LEED, AP, designed the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, which will be located in Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton and will pay tribute to the women who endured harsh imprisonment to secure voting rights for women. Lynne Garvey-Hodge and Irma Clifton serve on the committee for the project.
Irma Clifton is the President of the Lorton Heritage Society, Inc., and is historian and collections manager for the Lorton Arts Foundation. She owns a historic house in Falmouth where she also is active in historic preservation.
Carole Herrick was chair "McLean Remembers the Civil War," an all-day event commemorating 150 years of the beginning of the Civil War, held at the McLean Community Center on October 22, 2011.
Carole Herrick is a past president of the McLean Historical Society and currently serves as vice-president.
Lynne Garvey-Hodge serves on the Town of Clifton Historic Preservation Committee, which she initiated; serves as chair of the Clifton Betterment Association's Clifton Oral History Project; and chaired the Clifton Community Woman's Club Spring Homes Tour in 2011. Her new historic home on Blue Dan Lane will also be on the 2012 Clifton Community Woman's Club Homes Tour.
Lynne Garvey-Hodge and Mary Lipsey co-founded the non-profit Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association, Inc., whose goal is to preserve and protect family cemeteries in Fairfax County. Both are officers.
Sallie Lyons formed and incorporated the Friends of Fairfax County Archaeology and Cultural Resources, FOFA, supporting the Cultural Resource Management and Protection Section of the Park Authority. Barbara Naef was among the charter members.
Sallie Lyons continues to promote preservation and archaeology in Colchester and provide pro bono graphic design through Lyonshare Studios for CRMP historical interpretive trailside displays. She is an active member of the Lorton Heritage Society, Preservation Virginia and the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.
Elise Murray and Mayo Stuntz serve on the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Fairfax County.
Elise Murray attended the Virginia State Preservation Conference held in Winchester in September 2011.
As the Archaeologist Representative on the Commission, Barbara Naef continued to meet regularly with the Park Authority Cultural Resource Management and Protection (CRMP) Section Manager, to keep advised and updated on the various activities and projects involving the countywide archaeology programs that are managed through CRMP.
The volunteer assignment to coordinate the Park Authority Resource Management Division's American Association of Museums (AAM) accreditation self-study that Barbara Naef accepted in 2009 continued through 2011. In September 2010, she received the Resource Management Division Volunteer Excellence Award for her work on accreditation.
Debbie Robison continues to research local history and write articles about historical sites and events in Fairfax County. In addition, she regularly assists the public by answering research questions. She completed the research phase of a major project begun in 2010 to research and identify water-powered mills in Fairfax County. In addition, she researched the history of all of the historic structures in Clifton and the ruins of Matildaville at Great Falls. She is a member of the Historic Centreville Society Board and serves on the Centreville Joint Committee reviewing proposed developments in the Centreville Historic District.
Naomi Zeavin serves on the board of directors of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable.