Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-8700
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Jai Cole,
Executive Director

artiFACTS

Welcome

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Museum Collections are home to more than 5,000 museum objects (chairs, quilts, baskets, machines, clothing), thousands of archival items (photographs, maps, letters and other documents) and upwards of three million artifacts (archaeological discoveries such as spear points, pottery). They are the stories of Fairfax County.

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The Scent of Flowers in the Air

By Heather Hembrey, M.A., M.A.A.

the scent of flowers in the air

A Fairfax County archaeologist found this Forest Flower cologne bottle while working at Mount Air Historic Site in Lorton. The complete bottle is 3.5 Inches tall and embossed with the words, “AUSTEN’S FOREST FLOWER COLOGNE AUSTEN MFG OSWEGO NY”. The W. J. Austen Company of Oswego, New York produced Forest Flower from September 1878 until 1886. This “Most fashionable and lasting perfume of the day” was “Sold by All Druggists and Fancy Goods Dealers.”

Someone living at Mount Air during the late 19th century obtained and presumably used the cologne. It may have been a luxury item for the buyer, because the Landstreet family who owned Mount Air at that time was financially stressed. Aristides Landstreet had purchased the 522-acre Mount Air property in 1860, months before the Civil War began. He joined the Confederate forces while his wife and daughters remained at Mount Air. When Federal troops occupied the property in 1862, the women moved to Baltimore. In 1864, the U.S. Government confiscated Mount Air, but following the war the family regained title and returned to the house.

After Aristides Landstreet died in 1910, his daughters Anne and Mary Louise mortgaged and eventually sold the property in 1914. Yet, despite financial hardship during the decades following the Civil War, did Anne or Mary Louise obtain this bottle of Forest Flower cologne? Did one of W. J. Austen Company’s perfumed trade cards entice the buyer? The company produced various trade cards, each featuring an image such as a cupid, a fresh-faced young girl, or flower-adorned maidens. (Trade card image courtesy of Historic New England.)

We will never know the full story of the Mount Air Forest Flower cologne bottle or why it ended up near the house’s chimney. It is among hundreds of artifacts from the site, each one left by a person who once lived or spent time at Mount Air.

Other artiFacts

More Cowbells for Fairfax County
More Cowbells for Fairfax County
The Axe of the Archaic: A Stone Tool that Shaped Fairfax
The Axe of the Archaic: A Stone Tool that Shaped Fairfax
Colonoware and Culture: Fairfax County History Left in Clay
Colonoware and Culture: Fairfax County History Left in Clay
A Bottle of Liquor at Newgate Tavern, 1787 Tells Tales of the Past
A Bottle of Liquor at Newgate Tavern, 1787 Tells Tales of the Past
A Shoe and a Bungalow – Sears, Roebuck & Company’s Fairfax County Footprints
A Shoe and a Bungalow – Sears, Roebuck & Company’s Fairfax County Footprints
Snail Mail Served Key Role in US History
Snail Mail Served Key Role in US History
Fire Cracked Jasper Point
Fire Cracked Jasper Point
School Bell
School Bell
The Bomb that Didn’t Burst in Air
The Bomb that Didn’t Burst in Air
A Very Rare Find
Snowballs in Summer
A Very Rare Find
A Very Rare Find
Grow your History Knowledge with a Pretty Flowerpot
Grow your History Knowledge with a Pretty Flowerpot
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
Home Schooling – 1820s Style
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
The Coat Off His Back
The Coat Off His Back
Serve a Slice of History
Serve a Slice of History
A Light in Dark Places
A Light in Dark Places
Old-Fashioned Ballot Box Reflects How Times Have Changed on Election Day
Old-Fashioned Ballot Box Reflects How Times Have Changed on Election Day
Someone Lost Their Marbles, Literally!
Someone Lost Their Marbles, Literally!
Photo or Drawing
Is It a Photo or Drawing?
We Found It! We Found…Clorox!
We Found It! We Found…Clorox!
Tracing the Origins of Silhouettes
Tracing the Origins of Silhouettes
Projectile Point Points to Ancient History of Mount Air
Projectile Point Points to Ancient History of Mount Air
Entertaining with Japanese Imari Ware
Entertaining with Japanese Imari Ware
Putting the Pieces Back Together
Putting the Pieces Back Together
The Curious Tales of a Jacket with No Tail
The Curious Tales of a Jacket with No Tail
Orange and Alexandria Railroad
Orange and Alexandria Railroad
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Cookie Cutters Offer a Taste of History
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Raise a Glass to “Air-Twist” Glass Stems
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
History Served Up at Great Falls Grange
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Fans Serve Double Duty for Cooling and Advertising
Fans Serve Double Duty for Cooling and Advertising
More Than Meets the Eye: The Rigg-Buckley House
More Than Meets the Eye: The Rigg-Buckley House
A 3D Experience from the Past
A 3D Experience from the Past
Turning the Dirt
Turning the Dirt
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Before the Era of Prom-posals, there were Dance Cards
More Than Just a Pretty Face
More Than Just a Pretty Face
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A Wintery Look at Historic Green Spring
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Mystery Metal Pieces Keep Archaeologists Guessing
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A Christmas Day Wedding Gift that Gives a History Lesson
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Poking into History with Straight Pins
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A Thimble Sheds Light on the Lives of Women in History
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Newspaper Discovery Shines Light on Suffragette Movement
Newspaper Discovery Shines Light on Suffragette Movement
Ellanor C. Lawrence Time Capsule
The Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Time Capsule
Dried Sediment Ready to be Examined
Glass Beads Provide Connection to Our Past
Frying Pan Meeting House Bible
Meeting House Bible
Tin Glaze Ceramics
Tin Glaze Ceramics
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Lincoln Portraits Enjoyed Popularity in America’s Past
Staffordshire Slipware
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Christmas Quilt
Christmas Quilt has Ties to Dranesville Tavern
Violin
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Hand-Wrought Nails
Hand-Wrought Nails in Early America
Family Gazette
Newspaper Provides Insight into Past Residents of Green Spring
Stoneware
Stoneware Offers Insights to Time Periods and Activities
Sully Car
Photo Prompts Cruise Down Memory Lane
Gun Flint
Gun Flint
Buttons
Buttons Attach us to History
Church Pew
Church Pew Offers Lesson on County’s Cultural and Racial History
Tobacco Pipe
White Clay Tobacco Pipe
Agate
An Agate & The Grange
Glass Fragments
Glass Fragments Provide a Window into the Past
Child’s Tea Set
A Child’s Tea Set
Colonial Hinge
Hand-wrought Colonial Hinge
Commencement Invitation
Floris Vocational High School Commencement Invitation
Colonial Padlock
Colonial Padlock
Silk Top Hat
Silk Top Hat
Tobacco Promotional Pipe
Lorillard’s Tobacco Promotional Pipe
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Long-distance Education before the Internet
Fire Screens
The Purpose of Fire Screens
Broken Glass
More Than Broken Glass
Sully Mirror
Reflections of History
Cryptic Note
Mysterious Object, Cryptic Note
Tobacco Pipe
Sully Tall Clock
Fairfax Virtual Assistant