Guided Tour Reveals Secrets of Historic Walney House
Historic Walney house has stood sentinel in what is now Ellanor C. Lawrence Park since the mid-1700s. On Saturday, September 8, 2012, at 2 p.m., visitors to the park are invited to join a guided one-hour tour of the buildings and features on the grounds around the house - A Walk through Time at Walney. As this is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, an interpreter in Civil War era clothing will share stories about the property and its inhabitants through the years, with a focus on the Machen family's experiences there. Refreshments will be served after the tour.
Walney was home to families who farmed the 700 plus acre farm in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, but the Machen era remains the most historically significant. The farm was damaged extensively during the Civil War by soldiers from both armies. Deforestation for firewood, shelter, and fortifications led to extreme erosion. Participants on the tour will see evidence of the war and visit the dairy complex, icehouse ruins, smokehouse, beehives, and other remaining structures.
Interesting facts from the Machen years:
- The Machens had to cut a hole in the floor to move their grandfather clock into the house.
- Senator Lewis Machen was one of the first commuters between Northern VA and D.C.
- James Machen rode through the night on the eve of the Battle of First Manassas to warn General Beauregard that the Union troops were coming.
- 73-year-old Caroline Machen refused entry to looting Federal soldiers.
- In 1863, men under the command of John S. Mosby captured a group of Federal soldiers who had stopped at the Machen's farm to pick cherries. Among the men captured was Boston Corbett, who would later become famous for killing John Wilkes Booth.
The fee for this program is $5 for Fairfax County residents and $7 for visitors from elsewhere. Registration is available Parktakes Online.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is located at 5040 Walney Road in Chantilly, Va. For more information, call 703-631-0013.