A Brief History
The Moss family was prominent in early Fairfax County politics and government. In 1784, under the ownership of John Moss a square, two-story Georgian brick house was built on 540 acres of farmland. Moss and his sons William and Thomas managed the land as a farm until they sold it in 1840. A Deed of Manumission written by John Moss in 1795 reveals that enslaved people lived and worked on Green Spring Farm. The deed granted delayed freedom to 14 enslaved individuals. More information on this is found on FCPA's Our Stories and Perspectives blog.
The next long-term owner was Fountain Beattie. He ran a dairy and orchard business on around 300 acres from 1878 to 1911. He and his wife Annie raised 11 children at Green Spring. During the Civil War, Beattie was a member of Mosby’s Rangers and John Singleton Mosby’s most trusted confidante. After the war, “Gray Ghost” Mosby and his family were frequent visitors to “The Old Captain Beattie Farm.”
In 1942, young power couple Michael and Belinda Straight bought the house and 33 acres. They hired Mount Vernon’s resident architect, Walter Macomber, to expand and remodel the house. At the same time, pioneer landscape designer Beatrix Farrand designed and installed the landscape around the house. The combined work of these two American masters of design earned Historic Green Spring its listing on the National Register of Historic Places and its Virginia Landmark status.
Michael and Belinda entertained many important guests at Green Spring, including writers Dylan Thomas and Aldous Huxley and former vice president Hubert Humphrey.
The Straights and their five children lived at Green Spring until 1965. In 1970, they conveyed the house and 18 acres to the Fairfax County Park Authority. Over the years, the county has added additional acreage to make up the present-day 31 acres of Green Spring Gardens.
Visit the 1784 Historic House
Visitors are invited to learn about the site’s history, view art exhibits, browse in the gift shop, and enjoy year-round programs, including afternoon teas with a garden tour or presentation. See the “Hours of Operation” for the Historic House schedule.