Welcome to Historic Vienna and the Freeman Store and Museum – there’s lots to see here.
Please explore this website by using the pull-downs and links.
Historic Vienna Quick Calendar List: (please SCROLL DOWN to see details for events)
Sunday, October 16 – 3-5pm
Tea with Elizabeth Cady Stanton ($30 per person, advance reservations required).
Enjoy an afternoon tea of finger sandwiches & desserts with Ms. Stanton, an American suffragist, social activist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement.
Sunday, November 6, 1-4 pm; Nov. 28, 6-9pm; Dec. 4, 1-4 pm – Little Library Open – Visit Vienna VA’s original 1897 library!
Saturday, November 12, 1-5 pm; Nov. 28, 6:30-8:30 pm; Dec. 17, 1-5 pm
Open House at Vienna Train Station & Caboose
Monday, November 28 – 6-9 pm
Church Street Stroll – Click this link for flyer for Church Street Stroll:
Saturday, December 3 – 3-5pm
A British Holiday Tea ($35 per person, advance reservations required). Enjoy an afternoon tea of finger sandwiches & desserts.
Sunday, December 4 and 11 – 12-2 pm
Santa Visits the Freeman Store. Bring your camera to capture the moment!
Saturday, December 10 – 10 am-12 noon
Kids’ Shopping Day at the Freeman Store – Bring your kids in and Santa’s helpers will assist them with their holiday shopping while adults enjoy holiday refreshments upstairs.
Tea & Parlor Talk – October 16, 3PM – There’s still room!
Have tea with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902, the famed abolitionist and suffragist. She will share stories of the women’s rights movement prior to the civil war. After her short presentation there will be plenty of time for relaxing and visiting with your friends in the beautiful parlor and dining room of the Freeman Store and Museum. The traditional English tea will include sandwiches, assorted sweets, warm scones and a bottomless cup of tea. The $30 fee includes a tour of the new exhibit at the Freeman Store, The Road to Women’s Rights: The Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement. Space is very limited so make your reservation by contacting Patti Bentley or Susan Fay at the store 703-938-5187 or email email@example.com
HVI Fall Membership Meeting – “A Celebration of Collecting”
The Fall Membership meeting of Historic Vienna, Inc. will be held on October 18 at 7:30PM in the Patriot Hall at the American Legion Dyer-Gunnell Post 180, 330 Center Street, North. There will be a brief business meeting, during which we will present the 2016 Volunteer Award.
Instead of a speaker, the Fall Membership meeting will be “A Celebration of Collecting.” HVI invites you to come to show off your favorite collection of anything. Anything that you can carry and display on a 6-foot table.
We have room for 8 tables, so sign up ahead of time to reserve your table or half-table at the October 18 meeting. Come on the night to admire your neighbors’ collections.
Contact Anne Stuntz at 703 994-9054 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation to display your collection.
Every collector/exhibitor will have a chance to give a short, 5-minute talk about their collection as part of the program. There will also be time for people to visit each collection and chat informally. Please no selling.
The HVI Membership meeting is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
HVI’s new Used Book Cellar!!! Help support our organization year round by purchasing a wonderful used book. All profits to the operation of our store, museum and events.
Historic Vienna, Inc. now offers hundreds of used books for sale year round in the Freeman Store. This on-going sale is conducted primarily from the basement of the Freeman Store during store hours, Wednesday through Sunday, Noon to 4 PM. A large variety books are offered at very reasonable prices.
Historic Vienna is NOT asking for book donations at this time.
Walk With Us in the Halloween Parade
For the 70th Annual Halloween Parade, “Jive Back to the 1940’s,” Historic Vienna, Inc. plans to collaborate with the Gottaswing dancers to recreate a 1940’s party welcoming our soldiers home. Come in 1940’s attire and party with us. Or bring your vintage car. Please contact Mike Berger, 703 861 0726 or email@example.com, if you would like to march with us in the parade. The parade will take place on Wednesday, October 26, at 7PM, or the next day in case of severe weather. Costumes are welcome but not necessary to march as part of our group.
British Holiday Tea & Parlor Talk – December 3, 3PM
Enjoy learning about English and Scottish Holiday Traditions while you enjoy some of the treats described. After the short presentation there will be plenty of time for relaxing and visiting with your friends in the beautiful parlor and dining room of the Freeman Store and Museum. The traditional English Holiday tea will include scones, sausage rolls, sandwiches, assorted sweets – including mince pies, and a bottomless cup of tea. The tea costs $35, space is very limited so make your reservation by contacting Patti Bentley or Susan Fay at the store 703-938-5187 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report on the Little Library Research (Vienna, VA’s original library – built in 1897)
By Dr. Robert Amsler
While my effort to solve the mystery of what books are in the Little Library and how they are organized on the shelves started with the creation of spreadsheets of the catalog cards in the Biography and Non-Fiction drawers of the card catalog, it has since progressed to examining the actual books one by one and recording their bibliographic information directly. In part this was necessitated by the absence of copyright dates or publishers on the catalog cards, but also because I’ve discovered that the card catalog is not a complete inventory of the books catalogued in the Little Library.
The first thing one must get used to when dealing with the Little Library is Murphy’s Law. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong at some point. We not only have catalog cards for books that cannot be found (as of yet), but there are books on the shelves that were indeed catalogued long ago for which there are no catalog cards. There are also uncatalogued books on the shelves that were donated to the Little Library after it closed (continuing the uninterrupted tradition of Vienna residents for well over 100 years of donating books for libraries).
The Little Library was truly the product of ‘folk librarianship’ in that unlike every library we have known about since being small children, the call numbers on its books are NOT the basis for where they are located on its shelves. The call numbers, many of which are still legible on the spines of the books as well as written inside the books are actually accession numbers. They aren’t based on any library classification system. They were totally invented and used just in the Vienna Little Library.
These call numbers give an alphabetic category code describing what section of the library the book should be shelved in, such as F for Adult Fiction, B for Biography, or JR for Junior (Children’s books), but then add a letter-number combination below that which represents the first letter of its author or a word from its title and then an integer to indicate how many times that letter has been used in that category. So, the first step in understanding the organization of the Little Library was the very unintuitive observation that the call numbers didn’t explain either specifically where the books would be placed on the shelves, how to reshelve them, or in general indicate a relationship between consecutive numbered books.
The second major discovery was that the card catalog doesn’t really contain alphabetic subject cards. The Little Library librarians always created cards for titles of books, usually for the authors of books, but created no index cards for the subjects of books. For books in the Biography (B) section, the books are alphabetized on two bookcases by what we expect to be their order in a contemporary library, by the ‘biographee’ (the person whose biography the book describes), but that may not be either the author or title of the book. For example, the 1952 biography, “Windows for the Crown Prince” by Elizabeth Gray Vining with call number B V-10 is shelved alphabetically under “AKIHITO” who was the subject of the biography. There are catalog cards for the author (“Vining…”) and for the title (“Windows…), but none for Akihito.
For children’s books things are perhaps more difficult, since as far as I can tell, there is no separation of non-fiction from fiction books; they are all shelved in one alphabetical order by their authors. The call numbers are of course something completely different.
Adult Fiction is perhaps the easiest to locate, having catalog cards by author and title, and being shelved alphabetically by authors and within authors by titles. Adult non-fiction is in two bookcases, subdivided into sections roughly by its category letters; but there was a good deal of indecision as to what ‘subject’ some of the non-fiction books belonged under. S (for Science), Bot (for Botany), and even a special shelf for books for the Vienna’s Ayr Hill Garden Club dealing with flowers, trees, shrubs and birds.
To facilitate working with the bookcases they have been given designations according to what wall of the library they touch: North, South, East, West and Center as well as numbering the bookcases from left-to-right and conceptually numbering the shelves from top-to-bottom and the books from left-to-right. And now, most of the bookcases also bear labels indicating what category of books they contain and the range of authors/biographees in that bookcase. The secrets of the books will require book-by-book examination of each one, for many surprises exist in individual volumes.
Note: the books in the collection, while old, are not valuable, as they have been ‘enjoyed’ by many readers over the years, and so are of little interest to book collectors.
The Marco Polo Building – a part of life in Vienna By Connie Stuntz
Because of the seemingly certain fate of Vienna’s Marco Polo building at 245 Maple Avenue West, this article I found in our collection of memories seems timely. It appeared in The Providence Journal, a popular weekly McLean newspaper edited by Richard Smith. His wife Louise Smith wrote “The Grapevine,” a neighborly society column enjoyed by much of Fairfax County.
In her December 7, 1954 column, she describes the interior of the Marco Polo in its first year when my husband Mayo and I hosted a holiday dance there:
The dance was held in the new Garden Room opened in Vienna during the past Fall by Mr. George Copp, and no more agreeable place could have been found. The building features a two-story, semi-circular bay window in the center of its façade. Behind the lower one on Saturday evening twinkled the lights of a Christmas tree. Coats were left below on ample racks, and one went to the second floor for dancing.
At one end of the ballroom was a great raised fireplace, in which roared at first, and finally glowed, a cheerful fire. The walls have enough variety in finish to lend interest and a certain coziness not usually found in such large rooms. There is red brick, pine paneling, painted plaster, and a large expanse of scenic wallpaper.
We were pleased that George Copp had been inspired to build such a gathering place in Vienna. The spacious second floor room was perfect for the Christmas Dance for several hundred special friends and relations whom we wanted to entertain before our family left Vienna in early 1955 for Japan for several years.
As I’m writing this now, I’m thinking of all sorts of events I’ve attended at the Marco Polo Restaurant on the first floor, particularly Ayr Hill Garden Club May luncheons. They always had good food and plenty of parking. Until now I had not realized how much the 62 years of this building’s history meant to me.
Roger B. Neighborgall – Historic Vienna Friend and supporter passes on.
We at Historic Vienna will miss Roger very much. He was very supportive of our programs and an important inspiration to all. His devotion to helping others and improving our community were key and very successful missions throughout his life.
Roger’s obituary from Washington Post:
Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr. On his 93rd birthday, September 13, 2016, after a brief illness, Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr. of Falls Church VA died with his family by his side. A graduate of Duke University, Roger was a member of the greatest generation, a US Army Ranger who fought in Europe including the Normandy invasion and Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the war in Europe he applied his munitions expertise to help recover stolen Jewish treasure stored in German bank vaults. His military awards include the Silver and Bronze Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was recalled to service during the Korean War and spent his civilian career as an executive in the defense industry. Roger’s war experience imparted a profound love of life and a can-do determination to give back to his family, community and country. A community activist and perennial volunteer, he was active in the Lions Club, the American Legion and various city government organizations. He spoke extensively about his experiences to community and school groups, and particularly enjoyed teaching middle schoolers about the War, life, and the qualities of leadership. He was founder and President of the N. VA Tennis League and President of the Friends of the W&OD Trail. He was active in veterans’ organizations and was a USO volunteer and a greeter of Honor Flights bringing his fellow vets to visit the WWII Monument. Roger is survived by his wife of 38 years, Linda; children, Roger Jr., Lisa Mathieu (Stephen), Christa Hyland and daughter-in-law, Rebecca Neighborgall; 8 beloved grandchildren and one glorious great-granddaughter.
The family will receive friends at the National Funeral Home, 7482 Lee Hwy., Falls Church, VA 22042 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2016. A funeral mass will be held at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, 543 Beulah Rd., Vienna, VA 22180 on Saturday, September 24 at 1:00 p.m. Private interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Roger requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be directed to the US Army Ranger Assn, Ranger Assistance Fund, PO Box 52126, Ft Benning, GA 31995, note as Roger Neighborgall memorial donation, the USO, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677 or Capital Caring, 2900 Telestar Ct., Falls Church, VA 22042.
Passing of Frank Lancaster – July 16, 2016
We at Historic Vienna will dearly miss our great friend Frank Lancaster and are grateful for his wonderful life. Frank was born in 1929 in Sheffield, Alabama. His father was a railroad employee, which meant the family moved all around the Southern United States.
Frank attended night school at George Washington University and American University. In 1947, Frank was recruited to the CIA where he worked as the librarian and later became involved in aerial photography Frank was a steady volunteer in the town of Vienna and in the surrounding community. In 1960, he was the first manager of the newly formed Pigtail-Ponytail Girls Softball League. He volunteered first at the storefront library near the Giant and then at Patrick Henry Library when it finally opened in 1971.
Frank’s kindness, patience and experience were shared freely as he served so faithfully on the Historic Vienna board of directors.
Washington Post Obituary follows:
LANCASTER ELBERT FRANKLIN LANCASTER, JR. “Frank” (Age 86) II Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” On the evening of July 16, 2016 due to natural causes, Dad went home to be with the Lord Jesus. Surrounded by loving family he passed peacefully from his home of 52 years in Vienna, VA. Frank was born the eldest of three sons to Elbert and Kathleen in Sheffield, AL on November 9, 1929. Born the son of a railroad man, Frank cherished the memories of moving around the south and eventually settled in Ashville, NC. After graduating high school, he moved to the Washington, DC area in 1946 where he met his wife, Lois of 53 years. He loved his career with the CIA where he loyally served for 38 years. After retirement he remained the best of friends with many co-workers. Giving freely of himself he volunteered in the community and his church. He served on the Historic Vienna Board and played the role of Santa Claus for many years at the Freeman Store. He was instrumental in introducing kid”s softball to Vienna, which was a reflection of his love for baseball. Dad enjoyed Bluegrass Music. Stories of trains, life”s hardships and victories, and love of God were lyrics he loved to dwell on. A faithful member of the Capital Baptist Church, he looked forward to his weekly bible study. Dad lived by example, impacting many lives. With God”s promise we are rejoicing in his departure, although he will be dearly missed. Dad was preceded in death by wife, Lois and daughter, Susan. He is survived by his children, Linda Wilborn (Thom), Kathy Robinson (Johnny), Vicki Bell (Tom) and Billy Lancaster (Melanie); grandchildren, Susan Wright, Franklin and Jim Nichols, Amy Bolin, Katy DeCarli, Vicki Moe, Johnny and Davey Robinson, Tommy, Matt, and Josh Bell, Cindy, Sara, and Billy Lancaster; and 10 great-grandchildren. Mr. Lancaster”s Life Celebration will be held at Money and King Funeral Home, 171 W. Maple Ave., Vienna, VA on Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Capital Baptist Church, 3504 Gallows Rd., Annandale, VA on Friday, July 23 at 11 a.m. Interment National Memorial Park. Online condolences and fond memories may be offered to the family at: www.moneyandking.comwww.moneyandking.com.
Guided tours Saturdays – 2 PM
Throughout the summer, a guided tour of the Freeman Store and Museum will be offered every Saturday at 2PM in the Freeman Store. Free.
Stories and Sprinklers
Each Wednesday from June 29 through August 3, Historic Vienna will continue the Stories and Sprinkles program for children at the Little Library. The program will begin at 1:00 PM, and, after the stories at 1:30, the kids of any age can enjoy a run through the sprinklers on the lawn of the Vienna Town Green. There are picnic tables on the rear patio of the Freeman Store and shaded lawns for picnics. Free and open to the public, call 703 938 5187 or 703 255 6360 for more information.
We have TWO VERY INTERESTING EXHIBITS currently at the Freeman Store & Museum, 131 Church Street NE. “The History of Agriculture in Vienna and Northern Virginia” tells the story of the evolution of local farming, from tobacco in the 18th century to wheat and more variety in the 19th.
We were still well-known for our dairy farms and orchards in the first half of the 20th century. And did you know that a Vienna poultry farm provided all of the Eisenhower White House’s fresh eggs? The exhibit includes maps, photographs, and period artifacts.
The new FABULOUS hallway exhibit, “The Road to Women’s Rights” is a series of exhibit modules describing the suffragist movement. Individual modules will be on display for a six-month period through 2020.
If you missed Jon Vrana’s (noted local history dramatist and longtime U.S. Department of Agriculture employee) informative talk on March 15, in Council Chambers at Vienna Town Hall, please come to our Agriculture Exhibit at the Freeman Store’s Museum to learn more history about our area. Discover how Vienna has changed over the centuries, going from large tobacco plantations to what we see today.
What’s available at the Freeman Store??
FOR HER: Meditative coloring books, Blenko glassware, obsidian wind chimes, beeswax candles and antique salt cellars adorned with unique buttons. FOR HIM: Wood bottle stoppers, hats, classic games, history books.
FOR the Youngsters: Silly Sticks!, toys & games, Wooden play villages, one-of-a kind stuffed animals
FOR EVERYONE: Sweatshirt Throw Blankets, wood cheese boards & vases, jams and gift books.
As always, we offer our ever popular Vienna ornaments, pottery & tea towels, books & puzzles and old fashioned candy.
Shop Local. Shop Vienna. Shop the Freeman Store.
PLEASE NOTE! – Farming in Vienna and the surrounding area related request. If you have any old photographs of early local Vienna or Virginia farms, please contact Historic Vienna so that we can scan them and add them to our exhibit.
We thank you for visiting Santa Claus over the holidays in 2015 and hope that the season was the best!
- Historic Vienna, Inc. 2015 Holiday Ornament. HVI is pleased to announce the 16th in our series of Rachel M. Peden holiday ornaments. It is our first two-sided ornament: One face of the ornament is the original Vienna Volunteer Fire Department building,
- the second is Worthington’s and The Full Cry Shop.
The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1903. Its original apparatus was stored under the porch of the Freeman Store. From 1930 to 1958, VVVFD occupied the building on Church Street; it then moved to its present location. Two popular stores, Worthington’s and The Full Cry Shop were subsequent occupants of the building. The site is currently occupied by Bazin’s and Anytime Fitness on Church Street. Ms. Peden’s handcrafted and handpainted ornaments have amazing detail and all are available for $19.50 each. For information call (703) 938-5187. Speaking of our ornaments, aside from making great decorations on a Christmas tree, or on a stand or even lined up on a shelf, many of the 16 ornaments are pretty close to N-scale (that means something if you have model trains) and would make a neat village on a layout or on a piece of green felt under a tree – and they are a lot less expensive than those ceramic houses people buy. True, they don’t light up, but that’s no big deal. Further, since there are now six (seven if you include the railroad station) of buildings that were or are still on Church Street, you can now set up a really neat representation of Vienna’s original Main Street. Add the Town Hall, two schools and Bowman House and you’ve almost got an entire village. Stop by a hobby store or go on line and pick up some ‘vintage’ N-scale figures, vehicles and such and you’ve got. . . .Historic Vienna! ‘It takes great ornaments to make a village.’
Shop Local. Shop Vienna. Shop the Freeman Store! The Freeman Store & Museum at 131 Church St NE has a large selection of new and unique gifts, Vienna themed and Virginia made items. Classic children’s toys, books and gifts, a variety of fascinating local history books, jams & preserves, pottery, tea towels, blankets and notecards. We have a beautiful meditative coloring book, vintage pieces, coasters, souvenirs and our new fleece blankets with our exclusive Vienna design. Stop by the Freeman Store and chat with the friendly storekeepers. Enjoy the uniqueness of the museum rooms and get an early start on all your shopping needs for the holidays and all your special occasions. For information call (703) 938-5187 or visit www.historicviennainc.org
For Sale – Special Vintage items and used books
OPEN – Freeman Store, Museum with exhibit on the Country Store
New Picnic Sets At The Freeman Store!
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 email@example.com. Be sure to read our project forms closely first!
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!