Calendar of Upcoming Local Events


We welcome visitors to the Freeman Store and Museum Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00-4:00 PM! Our historic building features an authentic country store full of unique gifts, plus a museum that offers local artifacts and exhibits.

Upcoming Local Events

Afternoons on Church Street 2015

When: July 26, August 30, September 27, and October 25 (Sundays!)
Where: The Freeman Store And Museum

Historic Vienna Inc. celebrates the year’s third Sunday Afternoon on Church Street, July 26, 1-5 p.m. Prudence Traut will have a quilting display and demonstration all afternoon. From 2-3 pm, John Vrana will present “Music of the Civil War”, a program of traditional music of the American Civil War, Irish, and 19th century. He will feature mandolin, concertina, harmonica, and other instruments. Come play old-fashioned games all afternoon, and peruse our vintage items and used books for sale. Rain or shine. Freeman Store and Museum.

The gift shop at the Freeman Store and Museum has new gorgeous handcrafted hats, some exquisite felt pins, and lovely Vienna 125th commemorative tiles. Are you in the mood for an old-fashioned picnic? Come by and select a one-of-a-kind vintage picnic basket containing vintage utensils, linens, and a wonderful array of glassware. Carrying a beautiful picnic basket to the Town Green concerts or to the Evening in White will make you the envy of the Town! Wednesday – Sundays, 12-4 p.m. 131 Church Street NE

Spread the word! This family-friendly event is open to the public, so bring your neighbors and friends! Events are rain or shine.

When: First Saturday in October 2015
Where: The Freeman Store and Museum

Church Street Stroll
When: Monday, November 30, 2015, 6:00-9:00 PM
Where: The Freeman Store and Museum

First Night
When: Wednesday December 31, 2015 (Vienna Business Association)
Where: The Freeman Store and Musuem

Ongoing Projects

Oral History Project
The oral history project we began in 2013 is still going strong! In 2014, we greatly expanded our Oral History Blog, as well as our YouTube Channel. This summer, we are working to complete a new Oral History Guide. If you want to get involved or know someone who should be interviewed, please email us at Be sure to read our project forms closely first!

Local News

The wonderful Vienna Little League has published “60 Years of Little League History,” a book that covers everything from the league’s founding in 1952 through the 2012 season, with Opening Day bulletins, stats, and much more. A perfect gift for baseball lovers!

Summer Events at the Freeman Store and Museum

By Mike Berger

Each Wednesday from June 24 through August 5, Historic Vienna (the Freeman Store and Museum), 121 Church Street, NE, will continue the Stories and Sprinkles program for children at the Historic Vienna Little Library just behind the Freeman Store. The program will begin at 1:30 PM, and, after the stories, the kids (any age) can enjoy a run through the sprinklers on the lawn of the Vienna Town Green.

Historic Vienna will also be participating in each of the Afternoons on Church Street,  the next being Sunday, June 28, from 1-5 PM (the theme will be Stories and Scavengers), and then Sunday, July 26 (the theme that day will be Party on the Porch). At the June event Historic Vienna will offer a wide variety of vintage children’s games (tiddlywinks, hop-scotch, hoops, and more). There will be homemade ice cream to churn and enjoy.  On the porch historian John Vrana will host “A Chat with Abram,” a conversation set in the 19th Century with Abram Lydecker, answering questions and talking about the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire railroad, 19th Century agriculture, and issues of the day. The July event will feature Prudence Traut’s quilting display and demonstration at the Freeman Store. From 2-3 PM, Mr. Vrana will again be on the porch presenting “Music of the Civil War”; a program of traditional music of the American Civil War, the Irish, and the 19th century. He will feature mandolin, concertina, harmonica, and other instruments. Events are rain or shine.

Bring your children, listen to stories, play the games, enjoy the presentations and demonstrations, and, of course, peruse our vintage items and used books for sale every time you come to the Store, as well as a wide assortment of gifts and a great selection of old-fashioned candies.

Join Us For Afternoons on Church Street 2015!

The Freeman House will offer the following activities and opportunities on June 28 from 1:00-5:00 PM.  Historic Vienna will be offering  “A Chat with Abram,” a conversation with Abraham Lydecker on the front porch of the Freeman Store. The conversation will be set in the 19th century and will include the Lydecker Store, 19th century agriculture, the Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad, national and local issues of the day, etc. Other topics can be brought up by visitors.

Additionally we will be hosting author William Connery and other local authors who will have books for sale.  Old-fashioned children’s games will be available on the Freeman lawn and patio.  Vintage items and books will be sold outside to support Historic Vienna Inc. programs and operations.

AFTERNOON ON CHURCH STREET CELEBRATIONS, monthly, May through October, last Sunday of each month.  From 1 to 5 p.m. the last Sunday of the warm-weather months, Historic Church Street turns into a pedestrian street fair.  Free entertainment and open shops, themed activities and neighborly shopkeepers make for a family-focused “fun” day.  Church Street Sunday opens on May 31 with the “Avenue of Art,” hosted by the Vienna Arts Society. Artwork and artists join the fun.  Artists share their perspectives on their works and will present demonstrations of techniques and media.  A children’s art tent will be set up for children to explore their inner-artist.  Local restaurants plan on bringing dining to the sidewalks.


Historic Vienna Handmade Ornaments At The Freeman Store

The 2014 ornament by Rachel Peden is the 15th in a series of collectible, hand painted wooden ornaments representing historic properties in Vienna.  This year Rachel has designed a delightful version of  The Once Upon a Time Toy Store.  This year we chose the recently renovated property at 120 Church Street, NE., originally a dry goods store constructed in the 1920s.  Now the home of Cocoa Vienna chocolatiers, several generations of Vienna residents fondly remember it as “Once Upon A Time,” purveyors of dolls, toys, stuffed animals, puppets, books and dollhouses.  Ms. Peden’s handcrafted and handpainted ornaments have amazing detail and all are available for $19.50 each or a full set of 15 (including Freeman Store, Little Library, Town Hall, local schools and churches, among other Vienna related subjects such as the Vienna Inn and the Caboose) for $270.00.  All are sold exclusively at the Freeman Store. The ornament is priced at $19.50, as are all in the series, and is available exclusively at the Freeman Store.

Once Upon a Time #1Once Upon a Time #2Once Upon a Time #3


 Only $270.00 for the complete set of 15 different ornaments

Vienna Ornaments – Hand Made in the USA by Rachael Peden

1997 Vienna Original Library 1897

1998 Freeman House 1859

1999 Vienna Presbyterian Church 1874

2000 Railroad Caboose 1990

2001 Vienna Depot 1861

2002 Vienna Inn 1925

2003 Vienna Elementary School 1923

2004 First Baptist Church 1867

2008 Louise Archer Elementary School 1939

2009 Bowman House 1890

2010 Bouton’s Hall 1894

2011 Vienna Town Hall


2012 Antique Firetruck

2013 Santa

Historic Vienna 2013 Ornament

For more information call us (703) 938-5187!

Historic Vienna’s 2014 Christmas Card!

The 2014 HVI Christmas Card is a beautiful rendering of our neighbor, the Caboose, painted by local artist Erik Hottenstein.  Everything about the card carries you to Vienna’s Church Street on a snowy December day with the Caboose decorated for the holidays and a jolly snowman greeting visitors.  The cards are sold individually for $1.50 or packaged 5 for $7.50 or 10 for $12.00.  They are sold exclusively at the Freeman Store.  For information on cards or ornaments call (703) 938-5187.

2014 Freeman Store Holiday Card - Erik Hottenstein

2014 Freeman Store Holiday Card – Erik Hottenstein

These cards are sold exclusively at the Freeman Store.

Book Sale volunteers: Thank you for your help!

Thank you to all of the volunteers who sorted, set up, sold, consolidated and just plain helped to make the 2014 Used Book Sale a great success. We hope that we are listing everyone who joined with the HVI Board this year and apologize if we inadvertently omit anyone – every volunteer hour counted and we could not do it without all of you.  20124’s volunteers were Sim Moats, Stu Hoffman, Sarah Singer, Soroya Tarrah, Matt Holdaway, Katz Harrison, Thatcher Garbini, Allison Moats, Paula Elsey, John Mulvihill, Steve Traut, Sue Cheselka, Dan Mulville, John Ball, Michelle Scott, Susy Traut, Daphne Sloan, Mary Schillo, Harry Hooper, Fazella, Betty Little, Thomas Wilbur and Daughter, Kevin Daniels, Martha Johnson, Pam Weiss, Kata Bartoloni Tuazon, Hannah Herach, and Rick Evert and the Scouts and Parents of Boy Scout Troop #152.

Proceeds from the sale help pay for the maintenance of HVI’s collections, mounting of exhibits, printing of HVInk and other publications and brochures, administrative costs such as stationary and postage, and insurance on the contents of the Freeman Store.

Free private TOURS of Freeman Store

Historic Vienna, Inc. would like to remind Scout leaders, organizers of school field trips, and program/activity chairs of any group that we offer tours of the historic Freeman Store, customized to the age, size and interests of the tour group.  Our docents use anecdotes and objects from HVI’s collections to make the history of Vienna and the Freeman Store  come alive.  The free tours are by appointment only, open to any group.  For more information call Mike Cheselka at 703 483 0369 or the Freeman Store at 703 938 9157.

Country Store Exhibit is NOW OPEN at Freeman Store Museum!

Historic Vienna, Inc. is pleased to offer The History of the Country/General Store.  

The exhibit utilizes artifacts, period apparel, tools, posters and other materials to tell the story of local general stores which often served as grocery, post office, voting precinct, pharmacy, feed and grain supplier, hardware store, as well as filling a role as community centers.  The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be in place through 2014.

We have already received many visitors who have enjoyed this exhibit from the USA:  Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, N Carolina, Idaho, California, plus DC.


Visitors from other countries:  Ireland, England, Brasil, Syria, France, Peru, Kurdistan, Turkey, India, Russia and Wales.

Historic Vienna, Inc. would like to thank Silva’s Patisserie for their generous sponsorship of the exhibit and gratefully acknowledged the donations of Whole Food Market, Caffe Amouri, Giant Food.  Lastly, the exhibit would not be possible without the contributions of many individuals who loaned artifacts and antiques from their personal collections.  We thank them one and all!

If you have any items which might have been found for sale in such a store circa 1880 to around 1905 and would like to loan them to HVI for the exhibit, please contact Museum Chair Mike Berger at or call (703) 938-3784.

The Country Store Exhibit will be open from March 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014

Details from Country Store brochure by Jon Vrana:

The store that you are visiting dates back to pre-Civil War days when Abraham and Susan Lydecker moved down to Fairfax County, Virginia from New Jersey. The Lydeckers built a store in Ayr Hill, alongside the newly constructed tracks of the Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad (AL&H RR). The AL&H RR, one of four railroads that originated in Alexandria, Virginia, began con-struction in the 1855, ran through the Vienna area, and eventually reached out to western Virginia. The Lydecker Store sat beside the tracks and was within easy walking distance of the Ayr Hill (now Vienna) Station.

Abraham Lydecker purchased a small tract of land from Peter Hen-drick, a tract ideally situated for a country store to serve the local com-munity.

General stores, from their first days, served the local community in a number of ways. Stores of-fered groceries, dry goods, hardware, feed and seed, and general merchandise, as well as provided postal services and as a community center, where news was shared and relationships were built. In some instances, storekeepers grew into greater positions, such as Senator Justin Morrill (R-VT) and Congressman (later President) Abraham Lin-coln (R-IL).

The overall appearance of the Lydecker Store has changed relatively little over the years. It was built originally as a two-story clapboard structure. A two-story extension to the left side of the building was added to serve as a hotel. Eventually, it was sepa-rated from the main building and moved across the street as a separate residence.

What is a Country Store?

Country stores were used for a variety of uses, including a general mercantile store, grocery store, dry goods store, seed and feed store, hardware store, pharmacy, post office community center, and polling station. For small communities with few businesses, the country store served most nec-essary functions that could not be provided directly on the farm.

Post Office

Country stores served a number of functions for local people. One of those functions was as a post office. Prior to the coming of the rural routes and home delivery of mail, mail was delivered to and picked up from local country stores. Often the mail would arrive on the train and be distributed to the public, in some locations, at the country store and, other locations, at the local train station. Josiah Bow-man served, twice, as postmaster and Henry S. Van Wickle served once.

The Local Grocery Store

In the heydays of the country store in Fairfax County, in the 19th century and early 20th century, much of the food consumed by families was grown or raised on the farm. Most families in Fair-fax County had small acreag-es on which they grew vege-table gardens and raised milk cows, from which they produced their own butter. Many farm families grew wheat and Indian corn and carried these crops down to the local grist mills to be ground for flour and meal. Milk cows provided fresh milk, chickens provided fresh eggs, and beef cattle and chickens provided meat. Fruits and vegetables were grown and canned in Ball and Mason jars. How-ever, you could not grow or raise everything and you could not can everything. Folks came to the local country store to buy those grocery store items that they could not produce themselves.

General Mercantile

Country stores sold a variety of general merchandise that ranged from pots and pans to horse shoes and horse collars, dresses and coats to shoes and socks, marbles and jacks to pencils and school books. Almost anything that a person could think of having, the county store had it or could order it through the cata-logue. Stores rarely had a lot of any one thing, but had a little of a lot of different things.

A Place to Vote

Not necessarily a common thing across country stores, Lydecker’s Store was used in the 1860s as a place to vote. On May 23, 1861, a vote was held, at the request of the Commonwealth’s Leg-islature, to determine support for the Ordinance of Secession.

Dry Goods

Country stores sold ready to wear men’s, wom-en’s, and children’s clothes; suits, pants, shirts, and overcoats were available in a variety of men’s and boy’s sizes. At Freeman’s Store, at the turn of the century, Anderson Freeman, Abra-ham Lydecker’s son-in-law, announced in a Fair-fax Herald advertisement, (above) the opening of a new department in his store, a full line of men’s and boy’s clothing, with a man’s “all wool suit in all sizes at this writing only $5.98.” In another Fairfax Herald advertisement, Leon Freeman, made readers aware of assorted dry goods for sale, including notions, groceries, and shoes.

The Pharmacy

Many country stores sold a wide assortment of patient medicines, ones that guaranteed to cure headaches, toothaches, baldness, issues of the bowel, and forgetfulness.

Feed and Seed Store

While you could almost always buy the feed for your hogs, cattle, and horses, it was a special time of the year, in the spring, when the store seemed to be overtaken by muslin and burlap bags of seeds and bags and boxes of vegetable and flower gardens. Large bushel baskets of seed potatoes and onion sets were sent on the floor along one side of the store. Often bags of feed and seed “spilled” out of the store and were kept on the front porch for easy access.

Hardware Store

Country folks of the 19th and early 20th centuries constructed and repaired many of their own tools. However, there were major farm im-plements, such as wood-beamed and steel-beamed plows, that they purchased, often on credit.

Making Purchases

Goods at the store could be purchased by cash, credit, or barter.

Farmers depended on credit until their crops were harvested and sold at the end of each sea-son. The storekeeper kept accounts in a ledger.

If farmers had no cash and credit was not extended, they depended on trading (barter) chickens, eggs, and other agri-cultural prod-ucts for store goods.

The Owners

The Lydecker, and later the Freeman, Store was built in 1858 by Abraham and Susan Lydecker. The Lydeckers moved down from New Jersey and built their store and home, immediately adjacent to the newly constructed Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad, and near the Ayr Hill Station. The location that they chose was selected with an eye on being able to receive goods easily by rail and being close to the Station where locals would visit, on a “trip to town” to meet visitors at the Station or pick up packages of items ordered from “Sears, Roebuck and Co.”

Abraham (Abram) Lydecker was the first store-keeper of the Lydecker Store. Typical of the store-keepers of those days, he owned and operated the store on the first floor and lived, with his family, on the second floor. Coincidently, with the establish-ment of Lydecker’s Store, Abraham Lydecker ap-plied for and received a permit from the County for a “House of Public Entertainment.” In Fairfax County, a house of public entertainment served food and drink and was required to provide lodg-ing for both person and their horse.

Anderson Freeman married the Lydecker’s daugh-ter and began clerking at the store. In 1874, Ander-son Freeman took over the business. From that point on, the store was known, not as Lydecker’s Store, but as Freeman’s Store.

In 1893, Anderson Freeman’s son, Leon L. Free-man, became a partner in the store and in 1908, Leon moved back from Washington, D.C. to run the store. In 1929, the year of the Stock Market crash, Leon began an insurance company at the Freeman’s Store.

Leon‘s oldest daughter Dorothy and her husband, Lauris Sherburne, remained in the house and oper-ated their insurance business from it until the mid-1950s.

Dorothy Freeman Sherburne, the daughter of Leon Freeman, sold the Freeman Store to the Town of Vienna in 1969.

© Historic Vienna Inc. 2014. Written by Jon Vrana.