Fairfax County History Commission - Events



Upcoming Event

Fairfax County's Annual History Conference

"Voices For Freedom" Abolitionists, Oral History and Documenting the Past

When:

Saturday November 9, 2013
8:30 am - 4:15 pm

Where:

Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center
3740 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030

Cost: $20.00 per person (Includes continental breakfast and lunch.)

Registration:

Register by October 28, 2013
Registration Form

Welcome & Opening Remarks: Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Speakers:      

Dr. Spencer Crew, Robinson Professor of American, African American & Public History, George Mason University
African Americans & the Underground Railroad in Fairfax County During the Civil War

Esther McCullough, Fairfax County History Commissioner & Mark Mitchell, Collector & Historian of African American History
Keeping Your History Alive! (Conducting Local Oral History)

Debbie Robison, Fairfax County History Commissioner
Researching Local Fairfax County History

Program includes:

  • Exhibits
  • African American History Collection
  • Authors
  • Lectures
  • Historical Book Signings
  • Continental Breakfast & Lunch

Previous Events 

Fairfax County's Eighth Annual History Conference - November 12, 2012 - "Conflict & Courage: The Civil War in Fairfax County!"

The 8th Annual Fairfax County History Conference was held on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in the City of Fairfax. A record 120 participants were in attendance to enjoy the theme of "Conflict & Courage: The Civil War in Fairfax County!"  (President Abraham Lincoln - masterfully re-enacted by Dan Storck, addresses the attendees of the 8th Annual Fairfax History Conference).

Over 20 authors & exhibitors also attended & the day was filled with much living history, including the re-enactment of the "Secession Vote in Fairfax County" by the Jon Vrana players. The passion of both sides was clearly portrayed, including the sad reminder of the silence women endured in not being able to share a voice in local or national elections.

Other living history included the premier of Chuck Mauro's play, "Chantilly: After the Storm" depicting three survivors from the Battle of Ox Hill/Chantilly on September 1, 1862.  Award-winning author & speaker, Greg Clemmer spoke on "Why the Civil War Still Lives" and captivated the audience by numerous references to how present the Civil War is in our daily lexicon - including the comparison of all Presidential speeches to the Gettysburg address & the presence of Civil War music still used in Hollywood today - with "Dixie" being the most commonly used song in movies.  

Kevin Knapp captured the audience's attention with his period dress & stories of Thaddeus Lowe - the Reconnaissance Balloonist who landed a balloon in our own Vienna, Virginia and literally launched the First American Air Force! Letters written by Clara Barton were read by Susan Rosenvold, Educator at the Clara Barton Medical Museum.  The Fairfax County Park Authority sent three of its premier historians, Mike Henry, John Rutherford & Jim Daniels & to speak on, "Echoes Still - This Land = Our Land" - a review of the many sites & stories that are the backdrop to Fairfax County's parks today.

The "Seeds of Independence" historic preservation group from Gunston Hall shared their video which had been released earlier this year, "The Story of Free Blacks Living on Mason's Neck During the Civil War" - a fascinating look at a prosperous & now forgotten part of Fairfax County - where numerous "free" blacks lived, owned homes, property & business establishments - yet who unfortunately got caught up in the horror of the war as it took place around them. The conference ended with a passionate "Appeal" from President Abraham Lincoln - masterfully re-enacted by Fairfax County School Board member, Dan Storck .

Guests included retired news correspondent Roger Mudd & Delegate Ken Plum from the Mclean/Great Falls area. Congressman, 11th District Gerry Connolly joined with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairperson, Sharon Bulova to present awards to local historians who had contributed mightily to document & preserve the rich history of Fairfax County this past year.

It is the custom of the Fairfax County History Commission, to present Annual Awards to citizens who have given of their time & talents to create a document or media presentation that serves to preserve and protect the history of the vast historic resources of Fairfax County. The work of these individuals is tireless, laborious, tedious and yet authored with the same flame of enthusiasm as a professionally paid historian. The "Heritage Awareness" awards have associated monetary prizes. When the time & dedication involved in the creation of each of their submissions is taken into account, the same time and talents of a paid county employee would be immeasurably higher. The Fairfax County History Commission is proud this year to have presented the following Awards:

HERITAGE AWARENESS AWARDS

(1) C. Denise Barrett - The Nan Netherton Award for her work in researching & writing a narrative about Lakewood Estates in the neighborhood off Wolf Shoals in SW Fairfax County. She included information on the prehistory of the county - early land acquisitions, the American Revolution & the Civil War & on into 20th c. life. This is all documented with 304 endnotes and a bibliography of 26 sources. She will also receive a $500 prize for her thorough efforts.

(2) Lisa Friedrich Becker - The CJS Durhan Award for her nomination to the National Register of the Sydenstricker School - which she has also been extensively involved in renovating & "resurrecting" as a well-received community project. She will also receive a $250 prize for her thorough efforts & enthusiasm!

(3) David G. Farmer - The Beth Mitchell Award for his Automation/Indexing of the collection of Flint Hill Cemetery Records - reflecting its use back to 1875. His summary Excel spread sheet consisted of 3,500+ lines of data & a collection of information from more than 2,100 tombstones. He will also receive a $500 prize for his research & documentation efforts.

RECOGNITION AWARDS

(1) Distinguished Service Award - for the casting, performing & presenting three times as well as producing a video of same of a play called "Captain John Smith: a HiStory of McLean & Great Falls Virginia". It honored the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown & subsequent events that occurred in the McLean, Virginia area. Copies were distributed at local McLean, VA schools & libraries. EVELYN FOX was the coordinator (and attended the conference with her husband, Shawn, as a special trip from Texas - where she now resides). Assistants for the production are Wanda Hill, Joan Morton, Virginia Norton & Gail T. Nields.

(2) LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - SUZANNE LEVY. For her 30+ years of service in the Virginia Room of the Fairfax City Library & her tireless efforts to promote history, genealogy & historic preservation in the region. (Information is also available on the Fairfax County History Commission web site: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/histcomm/awardsprogram.htm)

Committee members who coordinated efforts for the conference included, Barbara Naef, Dr. Liz Crowell, Susan Gray, Esther McCullough, Naomi Zeavin, Sallie Lyons, Carole Herrick, Mary Lipsey, Mike Irwin, Rob Orrison. The Awards Committee includes Jack Hiller, Elise R. Murray, Robert Beach and Naomi Zeavin. Fairfax County History Commissioner Lynne Garvey-Hodge chairs both the Conference Planning Committee & the Awards Committee. The 9th Annual Fairfax County History Conference is scheduled for November 9, 2013 and will also be at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in The City of Fairfax.

 

Fairfax County's Seventh Annual History Conference - November 12, 2011 - "The Civil War Comes to Fairfax County!"


Art Candenquist, Civil War Historian speaks on the Centreville Military Railroad


A year in the planning, the 7th Annual Fairfax County History Conference was held at the beautiful Stacey C. Sherwood Conference Center in Fairfax City, Virginia. The Fairfax County History Commission, Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center, Fairfax County Park Authority & Preservation Virginia, Northern Branch co-sponsored this annual event - with this year's theme, "The Civil War Comes to Fairfax County!"

A crowd of over 115 guests enjoyed breakfast & lunch catered by Jason's Deli, as they listened to a variety of historians speak on topics reflecting the coming of the Civil War to Fairfax County. Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova bestowed six Service Awards to citizens, including: Tom & Janey Nodeen for their tireless efforts in restoring & saving the Crouch School House in the Clifton area; Kathe Gunther, Distinguished Service Award for her work researching information about Goodings Tavern in Annandale and the Goodings family; HMS Productions: Don Hakenson, Chuck Mauro & Steve Sherman received a Distinguished Service Award for their documentary film, "Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County"; Daniel P. Courtney received the Nan Netherton award for his well-documented & researched book, "The History of the Fairfax County Police Department"; The Friends of Vale Schoolhouse, Inc. Carol Cross & Trish Strat received the C.J.S. Durham Award for their work to research and document for National Register Status the Vale Schoolhouse; and Mike Johnson, 30 year veteran Archaeologist with the Fairfax County Park Authority received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Noted Archeologist Stephen Potter spoke on "'No Maneuvering & Very Little Tactics': Archaeology & the Battle of Brawner Farm" - sharing with the audience information about the archeology work he has conducted at the site in Manassas - considered the location of the first major Civil War battle in Northern Virginia. Rich Gillespie from the Mosby Heritage Area spoke on "1861 - The Spring the Civil War Came to Northern Virginia." Sharing statistics reflecting the painful decisions around succession from many areas in Northern Virginia - he helped the audience see that Fairfax was heavily influenced by decisions outside of her boundaries. Sharing an early version of the Confederate Stars & Bars, Rich regaled the audience with passion & song. David Blake, President of the Buckland Preservation Association told the history of that land - & his ancestors - dating back to the Revolution and also how events there connected to Civil War events in Fairfax County. A short lunch time presentation from Bull Run Civil War Roundtable member, Jim Lewis on "Red River" reflected how out of touch business tycoon Donald Trump is/was with Virginia history. Susan Hellman, Director, Woodlawn Plantation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, spoke on the realities around Woodlawn on "The Eve of the Civil War - a Changing Cultural Landscape". She provided insights as to 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, donning Confederate dress, shared the story of Major Thomas Sharp who masterminded the Centreville Military Railroad. Sons of Confederate Veteran member Gar Schulin spoke of Robert E. Lee & those in the 20th century that have found his legacy enduring - including President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Conference Planning Committee included Esther Mccullough, Naomi Zeavin, Barbara Naef, Anne Barnes, Sallie Lyons, Mary Lipsey, Mike Irwin (all County History Commissioners); Susan Gray, Director, the Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center, Dr. Elizabeth Crowell, The Fairfax County Park Authority, Rob Orrison, Preservation Virginia, Northern Branch & Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair (Fairfax County History Commission). After a team de-brief on November 11, plans will begin for the 8th Annual History Conference. Evaluations from attendees will help determine content & location. Registration was $20 and the day was clearly enjoyed by all!

Laurel Grove Colored School and Church Marker Dedication

Laurel Grove Colored School and Church Marker Dedication
On June 13, 2009, the grounds of the Laurel Grove Colored School and Church were filled with people who came together to celebrate the dedication of a historical roadside marker that memorializes the actions of a community of freedmen and freedwomen who organized a congregation and provided educational opportunities for their children after the Civil War. (Pictured in photo from left, Fairfax County History Commissioners Esther McCullough, Debbie Robison, Anne Barnes, Naomi Zeavin, Phyllis Walker Ford, and Sallie Lyons at the Laurel Grove Colered School and Church Marker Dedication.)

 

Fairfax County’s Fourth Annual History Conference – November 15, 2008 “Our 20th Century” Fairfax County’s Fourth Annual History Conference – November 15, 2008 “Our 20th Century”
 Honorable Vince Callahan
Nearly 100 Fairfax County history lovers descended upon NOVA’s Ernst Community Cultural Center on November 15th to learn of numerous Fairfax County historical events that occurred in the 20th Century. The keynote speaker was The Honorable Vince Callahan (pictured at right), a 40-year member of the Virginia House of Delegates who shared his reminisces about the time he has served and what all was occurring on the Virginia, Fairfax County, and national stage during his tenure. He witnessed the de-segregation of schools, the Kennedy assassination, the war in Viet-Nam, the growth and blossoming of George Mason University, and the diverse population shifts of this great county. Many attendees encouraged him to write a book about his many, colorful, amusing, and also dramatic experiences! Newly-elected Congressman of Virginia’s 11th District and Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Gerry Connolly kicked off the well-attended conference by reminding us of the urgent need to preserve history – the people, places, and events that have marked Fairfax County’s history – particularly as they have affected the history of the United States. He presented two Distinguished Service Awards to Barbara Smith and David Bettwy who have given countless hours of volunteer time to preserve history in their areas of McLean and Great Falls, respectively. Connolly also received a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the Fairfax County History Commission for his consistent and passionate support of maintaining Fairfax County’s historical resources and for being willing to so deftly open all the Annual Conferences to date. He generously offered to join us, again, next year! Other Fairfax County Supervisors in attendance included Sharon Bulova, Braddock District and Penny Gross, Mason District. The focus of the conference included three topic areas:

(1) Breaking Barriers – which included presentations on “Asian American Arrivals” (team led by Anne Cahill, Cora Foley & Brigette Le) in Fairfax County; “The Progressive Era - Suffragists, Single Mothers & Society’s Sinners” (Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Fairfax County History Commission) and “The De-segregation of Fairfax County Schools” (Megan Garnett, FCPS teacher).

(2) Bricks & Mortar – involved three presentations including, “The Preservation of Mt. Vernon – Setting the Preservation Stage” (Dr. Dennis Pogue, Mt. Vernon Ladies Association); “20th Century Architecture” (John Burns, Chairman, Fairfax County’s Architectural Review Board) and “Seven Corners: A Post WWII Transformation” (Dr. Chris Martin, Historian, Fairfax City).

(3) Changing Patterns – “Fairfax County: Rooted in Agriculture” (Yvonne Johnson, Fairfax County Park Authority); “Roosevelt’s Tree Army: the Civilian Conservation Corps” (Mary Lipsey, Fairfax County History Commission) and “All Roads Lead to Fairfax: Tourist Courts & Diners” (Randy Lytton, George Mason University)

 

 Ira Gabrielson Marker Dedication
Gabrielson Marker

On Saturday April 26, 2008, a roadside historical marker (pictured, right) honoring the achievements in wildlife conservation of Dr. Ira Gabrielson was dedicated at the Oakton Library. Trish Strat, an Oakton resident, spearheaded the effort. Through her research, text development, and coordination with the History Commission, Ms. Strat has provided the public with an appreciation and understanding of Dr. Gabrielson’s accomplishments.
Oakton resident Dr. Ira Noel Gabrielson was a pioneer conservationist, distinguished field ornithologist, and renowned author. He served as the first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an international leader of conservation projects. Gabrielson was a founder and the first chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and first president of World Wildlife Fund-US. For his life’s work, he was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1978. His land, between Leeds Road and Difficult Run, is a Fairfax County park known as Gabrielson Gardens Park .

 

Civilian Conservation Corps Marker Dedication

Civilian Consevation Corps MarkerA county marker was dedicated on April 5, 2008 in Lake Accotink Park on the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It marks a fire trail carved out of the forest by the CCC in the 1930s.

 

2007 History Conference

Fairfax County played host to its Third Annual History Conference, Saturday, October 27, 2007 at the Annandale campus of the Northern Virginia Community College. "The Fairfax Four Hundred: 400 Years of Fairfax County History" was the theme of the event, referencing the Jamestown 400 celebration in May that marked 400 years of the Commonwealth of Virginia History. Dr. Doug Owsley, who provided much of the Jamestown 2007 anthropological and archaeological work, was the keynote speaker at the Oct. 27 conference.

 

Ivakota Farm Marker Dedication

Board Members and Others Next to The IVAKOTA Farm Historical Marker                                                                   On May 12, 2007 the IVAKOTA Farm marker was dedicated. (Pictured at right Fairfax County History Commissioner Lynne Garvey Hodge, Clifton, VA with members of the Kate Waller Barrett Alexandria DAR Chapter)

 

The Orange and Alexandria Railroad Trestle

Board Members and Others Next to The Orange and Alexandria Railroad Trestle Historical Marker
Nearly two dozen people braved blustery winds and light rain to attend the unveiling of Fairfax County's newest historic marker on June 5, 2004. It commemorates a Civil War-era Orange & Alexandria Rail Road (O & ARR) trestle that once spanned Accotink Creek. Completed in the 1850s, the O & ARR was a vital transportation link through Fairfax County into central Virginia. Lake Accotink Park Manager Tawny Hammond summarized the research and fundraising done to place the marker. Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chair Winnie Shapiro also made remarks, along with History Commissioner Jack L. Hiller and Fairfax County Supervisors Sharon Bulova and Dana Kauffman. Speaking over the roar of Accotink's spillway less than 100 feet behind him, Supervisor Kauffman acknowledged the continued importance of transportation within Fairfax County, remarking, "Although I can't imagine someone putting up a marker to the Beltway 100 years from now!" (Pictured admiring the newly unveiled historic marker at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield on June 5, 2004, are (from left) Fairfax County Supervisor Dana Kauffman and son, Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova, Lake Accotink Park Operations Manager Lee Ann Shenefiel, and Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chair Winnie Shapiro.)

 

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