John Parrish


We moved up in Groveton the summer of 1936. We lived up there on Collard St. There was only one house there. One of the Kirbys was the sheriff of Fairfax County, and I remember in the early 30's going to a campaign speech he made. He got up and says, "Well, hain't been too many chicken houses robbed this year, and not too much has gone wrong with the farms. So I think you should re-elect me because I'm keeping the chicken thieves down." He only had about four helpers.

We moved off Collard St. to Arundel Ave. in the summer. At that time there were five families living in a house that my mother now lives in. Old white frame house, it's up in the trees. They had a big barn behind there. We couldn't move in right away --it was summer time, so we had to wait till the families moved out. They didn't have anywhere to move because times were bad then. You know people didn't have jobs. If they did have a job they only worked part time.

I can tell you about my sister, Nancy. She went to Groveton Elementary, and she and her girl friend they would not go to school. They would go out to the farmhouses, get horses, and ride around all day. And then one day a lady called up mother and told her, "Your daughter has been leaving horses around." She didn't bring them back where she got them. My sister liked animals. They would follow her home. We went out in the barn one time, saw a turkey tied up. We asked Nancy where did the turkey come from. "It followed me home, " she said.

Just so happened that Dr. Conley about a block away had turkeys. Used to raise them and have a turkey shoot down there. I used to work for him hanging up the targets. You know, for the people to shoot at. Now you can't use any guns around here.

There was a graveyard behind our house. Those graves go back to early 1800'S, maybe earlier.

It was all country when we moved out here. This place had about forty, maybe fifty houses in the whole area.

The Nightingale was built in the early 40's. It was a night club. From time to time they would have all the big name bands, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey. They did pretty good business down there.

The people worked either in Washington or with the railroad. The railroad in Alexandria was a big place back then. One thing that was probably the biggest source of income in the Groveton area in the 30's was the tourist home. A lot of people who lived on Route 1 had an extra room, and that's where the people who were touring would stay. It was the only road to Richmond.

Have you ever heard of a donkey baseball game? That's where you had to ride a donkey when you play ball. You would hit the ball, get on a donkey and ride to first base. I don't know if you had to be on the donkey to catch the ball or not. I think you had to be on to throw it to base.

What else can we tell you about Groveton? Just that it was a country place.

Volume One, Table of Contents
Snake Hill to Spring Bank Homepage

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