History Commission Marker Dedication - Event Postponed
Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Old McLean Firehouse
1440 Chain Bridge Road, McLean
POC: Carole Herrick, 703-356-8223
The dedication of the newly installed Fairfax County Historic Marker, honoring the County's first fire station, will be held in front of the Old Firehouse on Chain Bridge Road in downtown McLean. This event will be postponed to a future date to be determined.
Click on an event below to expand and learn more.
November 11, 2018
On Sunday November 11, 2018, the History Commission held a special 100th Anniversary Commemoration event at the Historic Fairfax County Courthouse to honor the county men who died during World War I. Braddock District Supervisor John Cook served as the Master of Ceremonies. The program opened with the Presentation of Colors by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. Other dignitaries who participated in the program included Congressman Gerry Connolly, Delegate David Bulova, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, and Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. Chapter members of the Fairfax County NSDAR were recognized for their chapter’s installation of the war memorial with the WWI plaque in the 1920s. Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 41 and BSA Troop 1865 greeted the guests and participated in the recognition of the names of the county men who died and the laying of wreaths at the war memorial. Mary Lipsey delivered a brief talk about how World War I impacted Fairfax County and the barbershop quartet Mint Condition performed patriotic songs throughout the program. After the laying of wreaths at the WW1 memorial and the playing of taps, the guests were invited to a reception and exhibits inside the historic courthouse. Members of the committee who planned the program included Heather Bollinger of the Circuit Court Archives, History Commission members Gretchen Bulova and Mary Lipsey, and Virginia Room Librarian Laura Wickstead.
"Years That Shook Our Nation and Fairfax County: 1868, 1918 and 1968"
November 10, 2018
The 14th Annual History Conference was held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in the City of Fairfax. The well-attended conference included exhibits, authors, a "Drop & Swap" book table for donating and trading historical books and a trivia contest with prizes. Jason’s Deli provided a continental breakfast and delicious lunch. The day was filled with visiting dignitaries, local county leaders and presentations by local and nationally known historians.
A PowerPoint presentation of "Quilts of Our Nation’s Past: Gold Star Soldiers and Their Families" and music of World War I played as guests arrived. The program consisted of:
- Welcome and Opening Remarks: Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Congressman Gerry Connolly, 11th District, Virginia
- Honoring Our World War I Veterans: William Page Johnson, II, City of Fairfax Historian, Where Honor Is Due – Fairfax County Casualties of WW I: A Requiem
- Fairfax County – 1868:
- Susan Hellman, Director, Carlyle House, Alexandria, A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
- Wes Boutchard, Local Historian, Experiments of Freedom: Three Fairfax Families
- Ron Chase, Director, Gum Springs Museum & Cultural Center, Reconstruction in Fairfax County
- Fairfax County – 1918:
- Patrick O’Neil, Local Historian/Archaeologist, Camp Humphreys
- Mary Lipsey, History Commission, American Woman's Role during World War I
- Fairfax County – 1968: Dwane Starlin, Historic Re-enactor, A Visit With Walter Cronkite
Committee members who coordinated the year-long planning efforts for the conference included Lynne Garvey-Hodge, chair, Anne Barnes, Barbara Naef, Sallie Lyons, Phyllis Walker Ford, Esther McCullough, Mary Lipsey, Glenn Fatzinger, Jordan Tannenbaum and Mike Irwin, along with Liz Crowell, Fairfax County Park Authority and Susan Gray, City of Fairfax
The 2019 conference is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 2019, once again at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center with a program on 50 Golden Years of Historic Preservation in Fairfax County: 1969-2019 and 400 Years of African American History in Fairfax County.
"Fairfax County is Host to 275 Years of History - A Look Back at Our Homes, Occupations, Schools and Transportation."
November 11, 2017
The 13th Annual History Conference, which was part of the History Commission’s contribution to the Commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the County’s founding, was held on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in the City of Fairfax. The well-attended conference, included exhibits, authors and a trivia contest with prizes. Jason’s Deli provided a continental breakfast and delicious lunch. The day was filled with visiting dignitaries, local county leaders and presentations by local and nationally known historians.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
- Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
- Congressman Gerry Connolly, 11th District, Virginia
Honoring Our Veterans
- BG Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., USA Ret., Executive Director, Army Historical Foundation
- Boy Scout Troop Color Guard
Awards Presentation (see below)
- Homes & Communities
- Susan Hellman, Director, Carlyle House, Alexandria, Virginia, “I Like Your Style, Dude (Architectural Styles of Fairfax County)”
- Elizabeth Didiano, Executive Director, Reston Historic Trust & Museum, “Reston: Visioning and Building a ‘New Town’”
- Ron Chase, Director, Gum Springs, Museum, “Advancing the Dream, Fairfax County’s First African American Community”
- Jon Vrana, Historical Re-enactor, “Meet Silas Burke, Farmer, Local Leader and Orange & Alexandria Railroad Director”
- Delegate Ken Plum, Virginia House of Delegates, “Fairfax County’s 20th Century Workforce”
- Brent Leggs, Senior Field Officer, Washington DC Field Office of the National Treasure and Harvard Loeb Fellow, “Rosenwald Schools of Fairfax County”
- Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Fairfax County History Commission and Historical Re-enactor, “Ivakota and the Occoquan Workhouse”
- Susan Gray, Director, Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, “Fairfax County Schools and Change”
- “The Road to Happiness,” Ford Motor Co. 1924 silent short promotional film
- Chris Sperling, Senior Archaeologist, Fairfax County Park Authority, “Corduroy Roads”
- Joe Marinucci, Fairfax County historian, “Streets, Streams & Settlements”
Gerry Connolly and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova presented the following awards. A posting in the Congressional Record marked the day.
- Distinguished Service Award - to Melanie Manikas and Mary Ellen Zavaleta, fourth grade teachers at Cherry Run Elementary School, for their leadership in guiding their students, the Cherry Run Time Trekkers, in creating a well-documented and researched video, “The History of Burke, Virginia.”
- Mary Fahringer Award ($500) - for outstanding education and historical research was awarded to the Bull Run Civil War Round Table for their 25th Anniversary Commemorative Catalogue. The Catalogue includes 293 lectures and 128 tours, along with assistance in the placement of over 70 historical marker/kiosk panels and demonstrates the organization’s role in the community in research and education.
- The Nan Netherton Award ($500) - was presented to Nathaniel Lee for his well-researched and interesting book, The Iron Road of Franconia, a history of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, which connected Franconia to the rest of Virginia and to Washington, D.C.
"Fairfax County's Founding Fathers - Part II: The Masons are Coming! The Masons are Coming!"
November 12, 2016
A windy, brisk November 12, 2016 greeted the seven hour long 12th Annual Fairfax County History Conference. Over 110 guests were educated and illuminated with Founding Father history at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The Conference was dedicated to two phenomenal Fairfax County historians who have graced the historical landscape of Fairfax County for decades: the families of both Jack L. Hiller and C. K Gailey accepted conference dedication awards in memory of these outstanding community volunteers. Congressman Gerry Connolly addressed the crowd with encouraging words after the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election - as did Fairfax County Chairperson Sharon Bulova. They took part in presenting the Fairfax County Annual History Awards to the following individuals for their in depth research, writing & publishing of a significant document reflecting the history of Fairfax County.
- The Ross Netherton Award - was presented to author Ed Wenzel for his monumentally well-researched, impeccably detailed, chronologically accurate and meticulously crafted 584 page tome entitled, Chronology of the Civil War in Fairfax County, Part I. Supported with a 192 page index authored by Mr. Wenzel, Charles A. Balch, Steve Hull and David Mudrick, (members of the Award-winning Bull Run Civil War Roundtable) - these books provide an in depth look at the Civil War action, military events, photographs, maps and literally a day-by-day diary of the events as they unfolded in Fairfax County. Mr. Wenzel will receive a $1,000.00 prize for his fine work.
- The Nan Netherton Award - was presented to author Gregory P. Wilson for his 161 page, carefully crafted, well-researched, manuscript revealing a portion of the Civil War's Confederate highly acclaimed guerrilla fighter and officer, during his time of military service in Fairfax County before he was known as the "Gray Ghost", entitled Private John S. Mosby, First Virginia Cavalry - Picketing Fairfax County before Becoming the Confederacy's "Gray Ghost". An excellent support to the Wenzel compendium, Mr. Wilson has taken a slice of time from Mosby's life that few other authors have covered in such detail. With a focus on Mosby's presence solely in Fairfax County, he provides future generations with a clear picture of the key events occurring both within the county and Mosby's early days serving in the Confederacy - which laid the foundation for his later military successes. With over 215 footnotes, bibliography and a timeline chronology of Civil War events in Fairfax County, Mr. Wilson has gifted the historian, citizen, student and new-comer with a fascinating lens through which a more complete understanding of John Singleton Mosby can be seen. Mr. Wilson will receive a $500.00 prize for his good work.
- The Edith Moore Sprouse Award - was presented in abstentia to Robyn Carter for her writing, research and compilation of a most unique historic era in the history of Fairfax County: the early 1950's through the 1960', Post WW2 History of Springfield, Virgininia and the Crestwood Construction Corporation. Using the reality of the post World War II population boom in Fairfax County as a backdrop, Ms. Carter has chronicled the era's earliest days of residential construction through Edward Ravenel Carr's (retired WWII military officer) professional presence in this section of the county. Mr. Carr was the central figure at the helm of Crestwood Construction Corporation that designed and built what would become a template of a "planned community", including a 2,300 acre tract of woods and fields, 5,000 homes, four schools, a shopping center and houses of worship, named "Crestwood". Footnoted throughout the 213 page manuscript and supporting bibliography, Ms. Carter has provided Fairfax County with a look into the "tipping point" of geographic, cultural, demographic, economic and educational changes that bear the earliest semblance to the county as we know it today. Ms. Carter was presented with her award at her home, by the Fairfax County History Commission Awards Committee Chair, Lynne Garvey-Hodge on December 1, 2016. Ms. Carter will receive a $100.00 prize for her work.
Guests included authors and exhibitors, including the Burke Historical Society, the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, Prince William County, authors Chuck Mauro, Chuck Mills, Carole Herrick, and many, many other exhibitors and authors.
Jack L. Hiller's daughter, Libby launched the conference with a reading of her father's essay, "About George Mason" - the perfect positioning for the presentations that followed. Scott Stroh, Executive Director at Gunston Hall gave an impassioned presentation describing how the Virginia Declaration of Rights was a cornerstones of the earliest Founding Father documents. Mark A. Tabbert, Director of Collections at the George Washington Masonic National Association, reviewed attributes of John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin's lives and contributions to America, as Freemasons. Janis Harless gave a riveting re-enactment performance of Ann (Nancy) Eilbeck Mason. Author Terry Dunn discussed the struggle over slave ownership that George Mason endured. Brad Krueger (National Park Service) described the many iterations of the Mason Family's Occupancy of Theodore Roosevelt Island - as well as the archaeological work planned for the park.
The second year of a new tradition, a "Drop & Swap" book table, facilitated the donating and trading of dozens of historical books by attendees. The table contained 36 books at the beginning of the conference and was reduced to six by the conference close.
Committee members who coordinated the year-long planning efforts for the conference included Barbara Naef, Sallie Lyons, Phyllis Walker Ford, Esther McCullough, Mary Lipsey, Susan Gray, Naomi Zeavin, Jenée Lindner, Mike Irwin, Liz Crowell, Anne Barnes, and Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair. The Awards Committee included Steve Sherman, Elise R. Murray, Naomi Zeavin, and Lynne Garvey Hodge, Chair. The event photographer was Nancy Olds.
"Fairfax County's Founding Fathers - Part I"
November 7, 2015
County Chairman Sharon Bulova kicked off the conference, which was attended by over 100 guests and filmed by local Cable Channel 16. Guests included authors and exhibitors, including the Burke Historical Society, the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association, and authors Chuck Mauro, Chuck Mills, Carole Herrick, and many, many other exhibitors and authors.
Jenée Lindner presented an overview of the history and genealogy of the Fairfax families and the life of George Washington. Steve Bashore, from Washington's Mount Vernon, provided fascinating and detailed information about the Mount Vernon farm operations and distillery. Photos of the distilling process and preparation of this season's Rye Whiskey aided in the understanding of early manufacturing in Fairfax County.
President George Washington, interpreted by Dean Malissa, was able to join us. Malissa, the foremost interpreter of Washington, shared a first-person account of Washington's military, political, and personal life. General Washington reminded us of the United States motto, "E pluribus unum" - out of many, one. As one guest stated, "Virtuoso performances" by Dean Malissa and by Marion Dobbins, who portrayed one of her direct ancestors, Lucy Lee, a mulatto born free in Fauquier County. Marion Dobbins' first-person-account revealed thoughtful insights into the life of a free mulatto woman whose descendants settled in Fairfax County.
Katrina Krempasky conveyed an excellent overview of the what/where/how journeys of George Washington' s will to Richmond and Martha Washington's will into private hands during the Civil War before the wills were returned to Fairfax County. Krempasky discussed the conservation methods used to restore George Washington's will. All attendees received a copy of the book, "In the Path of History" authored by Ross & Nan Netherton & Ruth Rose. A new addition to the conference, a "Drop & Swap" book table, facilitated the trading of dozens of historical books.
It is the custom of the Fairfax County History Commission, to present annual awards to citizens who have given their time and talents to create a document or media presentation that serves to preserve and protect the history of the vast historic resources of Fairfax County. An award presented by Chairman Bulova to:
Ross Netherton Award - Greg P. Wilson, for his exemplary research and book "Jonathan Roberts - The Civil War's Quaker Scout & Sheriff."
Committee members who coordinated the year-long planning efforts for the conference included Barbara Naef, Sallie Lyons, Phyllis Walker Ford, Esther McCullough, Mary Lipsey, Susan Gray, Naomi Zeavin, Jenée Lindner, Mike Irwin, Liz Crowell, Anne Barnes, and Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair.
The Awards Committee included Jack Hiller, Elise R. Murray, Naomi Zeavin, and Lynne Garvey Hodge, Chair. Event photographers were Jack Hiller and Nancy Olds.
"Fire, Flight & Fury! The War of 1812 in Fairfax County - 200 years Later!"
November 8, 2014
The 10th Annual Fairfax County History Conference was held on Saturday, November 8, 2014 with a record 120 participants in attendance to enjoy the theme of "Fire, Flight & Fury" - The War of 1812 in Fairfax County - 200 Years Later!" Over 15 authors and exhibitors displayed books and items of historical interest. The day was filled with living history, including re-enactments of Dolly Madison by Carole Herrick, an 1812 Naval Commander by Michael Bosworth, an 1812 60th Virginia Militia Man by Richard Orli, and a grand finale of Francis Scott Key by National Park Ranger Alan Gephardt.
Guests included Virginia State Delegate Ken Plum from the Mclean/Great Falls area. Congressman, 11th District, Gerry Connolly joined with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Sharon Bulova to share comments and to present awards to local historians who had contributed mightily to document and preserve the rich history of Fairfax County.
Michael Bosworth shared song and verse as a way to share information and demonstrate how naval armed service members attended to their tasks. He reminded us that the War of 1812 was really part of the broader Napoleonic Wars. A trivia question for the audience was "Why was the War of 1812 Overture written and by whom?" Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the overture in 1880 to honor the Russian victory over the attempted invasion by Napoleon. Trivia prizes included CD's of keynote presenter Ron Maxwell from the county's first history conference in 2004. Carole Herrick shared the "post script" reflection of Dolley Madison's flight into Fairfax County after protecting George Washington's portrait. Alexandria Carlyle House Curator Helen Wirka provided insight into the Battle of Bladensburg focusing on the key players including the brothers Winder: Levin who was the governor of Maryland and William who was the commander of the defenses of Washington and Baltimore during the War of 1812. Patrick O'Neill provided an enthusiastic and fresh perspective on "The Battle of the White House" which occurred at a location near present-day Ft. Belvoir (not the Presidential mansion). Alan Gephardt shared that the inspiration for the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner" was really the defenders of Ft. McHenry - the soldiers. He received a standing ovation for his passionate rendition of all three verses of the original "Defence of Fort McHenry." A tremendous amount of work from conference committee members Mike Irwin and Esther McCullough resulted in a very attractive and thorough War of 1812 timeline that was included in attendee packets.
It is the custom of the Fairfax County History Commission, to present annual awards to citizens who have given their time and 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, and tedious and yet authored with the same flame of enthusiasm as a professionally paid historian. Awards presented at the beginning of the conference and presented by Congressman Connolly and chairman Bulova included:
- Irma Clifton - Lifetime Achievement Award - for lifelong passion to preserve, protect & promote the history of the Lorton area of the county - culminating in the beautiful and now well-used Lorton Arts Center and the Lorton Prison & Suffragist Museum on site.
- Neil McBride - Distinguished Service Award - for his decades of service to also maintain & preserve the history of the Lorton and South County area.
- Win & David Meiselman - Distinguished Service Award - for protecting and caring for the post-Civil War home of Laura Ratcliffe who is credited with protecting the life of Colonel John Singleton Mosby.
- L. Tony Bracken - Distinguished Service Award - for his thorough pictorial essay of the history of Lake Barcroft near Falls Church, Virginia.
- Patrick O'Neill - Fairfax Heritage Award - for his 13 years researching and writing the treatise called "To Annoy or Destroy the Enemy: The Battle of the White House and the Burning of Washington." With nearly 300 pages and over 900 footnotes of almost exclusive primary source information, Patrick has shed new insights into the connection between what happened in Fairfax county and the writing of the "Star spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key. Patrick received an award of $1,000.00 for his outstanding efforts in preserving, promoting and protecting the history and heritage of Fairfax County.
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, Jenee Lindner, Phyllis Walker Ford, Rachel Rifkind, Mike Irwin, and Lynne Garvey Hodge. The Awards Committee included Jack Hiller, Elise R. Murray, Naomi Zeavin, and Lynne Garvy Hodge. Fairfax County History Commissioner Lynne Garvey-Hodge chairs both the Conference Planning Committee and the Awards Committee. The 11th Annual Fairfax County History Conference is tentatively scheduled for November 7, 2015 with a final location to be determined (at the time of this writing).
"Voices For Freedom: Abolitionists, Oral History and Documenting the Past"
November 9, 2013
It was a sunny and brisk Veteran's Day weekend and the Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax City was packed with nearly 130 devotees of Fairfax County history on Saturday, November 9, 2013. "Voices For Freedom: Abolitionists, Oral History & Documenting the Past" was the theme for this year's 9th Annual Fairfax County History Conference. Sponsored by Visit Fairfax, Gunston Hall, and Seeds of Independence, and coordinated through the efforts of the Fairfax County History Commission, Fairfax County Park Authority, and the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, the conference has become an "institution" for the County.
Kicking off the conference was Sharon Bulova , Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and Gerry Connolly, Congressman, 37th District, Virginia. Both leaders shared their passion for history. Buoyed by the enthusiasm of those in attendance, they recounted the importance of Fairfax County's history within the larger context of the history of the United States. Congressman Connolly also announced the launch of a Civil Rights Archival project intended to gather information, photographs, and stories that occurred during the 1960's Civil Rights Era in Fairfax County.
Numerous re-enactors were featured in the agenda for the day, including Frederick Douglass (19th c. slave, orator & US Marshal to the District of Columbia, re-enacted by Albert Williams), Angelina Grimké (early 19th c. Abolitionist and Quaker women's rights activist from So. Carolina, portrayed by Lynne Garvey-Hodge, pictured , right), and Julia Ward Howe (19th c. Abolitionist and lyricist of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," portrayed by Jenee Linder). A call to focusing on gathering and preserving oral histories throughout the County, was made by Fairfax County History Commissioner & Chair of the County Ethnic & Oral History Committee, Esther McCullough. Supporting her were four ladies from "FREED (Female Re-enactors of Distinction), who hail from the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC. Each of the ladies represented a real slave that lived, survived, and even thrived during and after the Civil War. Under the Direction of Patricia Tyson, the troupe of actors is frequently called upon to "tell their stories" to interested historians, students, and citizens.
Fairfax County History Commissioner Debbie Robison provided a detailed look at the resources available for exploring local history. Ms. Robison provided the audience with stories reflecting a summary of the wealth of information that can be found by accessing online research sites. Links to online local history research sources are available at http://novahistory.org/Research/Research.html
The conference concluded with Dr. Spencer Crew, Robinson Professor of American, African American & Public History, George Mason who spoke on "African Americans and the Underground Railroad in Fairfax County During the Civil War." He noted the success of the "Railroad" is evidenced by the scant amount of documentation available on it; hence, those who participated took their roles of "secret" information bearers quite seriously. Over four million slaves lived in this country during the Civil War, yet only some 100,000 were able to successfully find their way to freedom, he shared. Introducing Dr. Crew was Marion Dobbins, one of his students & the founder of the new Fairfax County African American History Society.
A continental breakfast and delicious lunch was provided by Jason's Deli and over 22 Exhibitors, including the Burke Historical Society, the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association, Army Historical Foundation, and Pohick Church Foundation as well as authors including, Don Hakenson, Carole Herrick, Steve Sherman, Chuck Mauro, Mary Lipsey, and Charlotte Brown were in attendance. Fairfax County History Commissioner Jack L. Hiller provided the conference photographs and he was lauded for his 1963 iconic photograph of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Conference Planning Committee includes Barbara Naef, Anne Barnes, Esther McCullough, Naomi Zeavin, Mike Irwin, Phyllis Walker Ford, Jenée Lindner, Carole Herrick, Mary Lipsey, Susan Gray, Elizabeth Crowell and Sally Lyons (who graciously allowed the use of her late husband's Civil War era desk which had been passed down to him through his mother whose own Father had served in the 16th Kentucky Infantry) and Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair.
"Conflict & Courage: The Civil War in Fairfax County!"
November 12, 2012
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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
"The Civil War Comes to Fairfax County!"
November 12, 2011
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 (pictured at left), 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!
June 13, 2009
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 Colored School and Church Marker Dedication.)
“Our 20th Century”
November 15, 2008
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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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)
April 26, 2008
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.
April 5, 2008
A 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.
"The Fairfax Four Hundred: 400 Years of Fairfax County History"
October 27, 2007
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.
June 5, 2004
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.)