Calendar of Upcoming Local Events

ATTENTION!  Freeman Store & Museum is CLOSED TODAY

Wednesday March 21 due to the weather. 

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 Inc. mailing address – P.O. Box 53, Vienna, VA 22183

Historic Vienna Quick Calendar: (please SCROLL DOWN to see details for events – also click link directly below for PDF)

Calendar of events 2018 Mar to Dec

HISTORIC VIENNA INK!!!  Click link NOW to read Fall 2017 Newsletter:

Historic Vienna INK – NEWSLETTER Fall 2017

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Historic Vienna Inc.’s 2018 main exhibit, located on the second floor, is entitled Home Front – The Great War and Vienna.  The exhibit features information, images, models, and artifacts, including uniforms, equipment, and documents, from “the war  to end all wars.” The exhibit includes a diorama of the fearsome trenches that were ubiquitous on World War I battlefields as well as a graphic display of awards and decorations.

“Vienna didn’t have an awful lot to do with the war,” notes another HVI curator, Mike Berger. “Seventy-three men with a Vienna address fought in the war,” which the United States did not enter until 1917.  However, the names of two Vienna soldiers who lost their  lives in World War I will ring familiar to those living in the community today. The exhibit tells how George Dyer and Clarence Gunnell, for whom the local American Legion Post is named, lost their lives.

Women’s Suffrage exhibit has received another brand new look this year and is now focused on The Women’s Rights Movement through Cartoons.  The exhibit features more than 50 political cartoons and other images collected from newspapers, postcards and other publications from the 1850’s onward.

The cartoons focus on the right to vote as well as other women’s rights related to parental custody, property, employment and income, divorce, economic health of the family and birth control.

Annual exhibits related to the women’s rights movement will continue at the Freeman Store through 2020, which will mark the 100th anniversary of adoption of the Constitutional amendment allowing women to vote.

HVI’s 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.  Prices are marked very low so that we can sell more books and bring more funding in for exhibits, events and operations.

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 cellar of the Freeman Store during store hours, Wednesday through Sunday, Noon to 4 PM. A large variety books are offered at very reasonable prices.


Beautiful gifts are always available at our store:

Carruth Studio Sculptures

Cavallini & Co Postcards

WWI Reproduction Postcards


Rachel Peden’s 2017 hand painted ornament of Vienna’s Green Hedges School.  We sell many of Rachel’s ornaments which can be displayed on a Christmas Tree or anywhere, anytime around the house!

Green Hedges 2017 HVI Ornament

Our beloved Vienna Train Mural printed in small scale on a coffee mug

Vienna Train Mural mug


Vintage Tea Towels – Cavallini & Company

Miss Match Hop Scotch Game

Please support Historic Vienna Inc. using Amazonsmile !

Amazon Smile LINK

When you purchase any eligible item on Amazon, 0.5% of the item price is donated to our 501c3 Non-profit organization.

The Latest . . . . Reading, Relaxing & Fun ideas are available at the Freeman Store.  Please drop by and make your summer happier with one of these items.

also  . . . . . . EXCELLENT Children’s books for sale in our store!

 Our Historic Vienna Inc. board, storekeepers and friends thank all of our supporters for helping us to have a very successful and exciting 2017 so far.  We look forward to serving our community again every year by sharing history and sponsoring events that will be enjoyable for all.

HVI Memberships are from January 1 to December 31. Please renew if you are a member or join our group in order to promote history and support Historic Vienna Inc. Annual Memberships: Individual – $20, Family – $25 & Group or Corporate – $35


The one-room library building, now located on Mill Street in Vienna, was the Town’s first public library, constructed in 1897 by local resident Edward R. Pierce at Library Lane and Maple Avenue. It was moved in 1912 to Center Street and Maple Avenue, and in 1969 to its present location where it is maintained as a museum by Historic Vienna.

The celebration included remarks by local dignitaries and former Little Library patrons, presentation of proclamations honoring the anniversary, musical entertainment, games for children and adults, and souvenirs and refreshments for everyone.

Historic Vienna Inc. also honored the history of this beautiful and important building during this year’s Vienna Halloween Parade.


BEAUTIFUL 2016 Christmas cards by McLean, VA artist Erik Hottenstein:

Erik Hottenstein 2016 Freeman Store Christmas card

Erik Hottenstein 2016 Freeman Store Christmas card

Rachel Peden handcrafted ornament – – – VIENNA ARTS CENTER!

Vienna Arts Center 2016 Ornament

Vienna Arts Center 2016 Ornament

Dr. Robert Amsler receives Town of Vienna Volunteer Recognition award on April 18, 2017!

Congratulations to Dr. Amsler for this well deserved award.  “In honor of your service to the community as an outstanding volunteer who has generously and enthusiastically given your time and resources to assist others.”

Dr. Amsler Volunteer Award from Town of Vienna

 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.

Little Library 1950-51

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).

Little Library Interior #1

Little Library Interior #1

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.

Little Library Interior #2

Little Library Interior #2

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.


Passing of Historic Vienna Inc. Board Member Frank Lancaster – July 16, 2016

Passing of Frank Lancaster

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.

Historic Vienna Interview of Frank Lancaster

Frank Lancaster

Frank Lancaster

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.


EVENT COMPLETE!! Afternoon Tea – Aug. 10, 2017 – 3-5 PM

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.  The tea will be held on Thursday August 10 in the parlor at the Freeman Store and Museum.  $30 per person, advance reservations required. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED – Please call 703-938-5187.

The tea is being offered in conjunction with Historic Vienna’s exhibit: The Road to Women’s Rights: The Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement. Did you know that in 1848 Lucretia Mott was proposed as the Liberty Party candidate for vice president even though she could not vote? Learn other interesting facts about women’s right to vote at the exhibit. The museum will offer a series of small exhibits that explore the women’s rights movement over the next four years. The exhibit series honors the 100th anniversary of establishment of the National Women’s Party in 1916 and the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920.

Tea with Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tea with Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Little Library Research Project

Historic Vienna Inc. has started a project to unlock the mystery of what is in the Little Library card catalog. Dr. Robert Amsler, a town resident with a PhD in computer science and research experience in the field of information science, has volunteered his expertise to create a picture of the contents of the Little Library.

Vienna's Original Library

Vienna’s Original Library

The Little Library, located on Mill Street near the historic Freeman Store, came to the location in 1969 after two prior moves in Vienna. The library was originally constructed in 1897 by a local citizen and located on land donated by local residents.

The majority of the books in the library were private donations. A card cataloging system was developed for the books and books were signed out to patrons of the library.

Sometime in the 1960’s the Little Library was closed as the Fairfax County library system came to the Town of Vienna.

We hope to find the answers to questions visitors ask about the collection, such as how many books are there, what is the oldest book, and what were the town residents reading during the life of the Little Library? We encourage visitors to the Little Library to relive some of the history of an early library. It is open March through December on the first Sunday of the month and during special events.

Become an HVI transcriber in your spare time!

Do you have time to listen to an audio tape or CD and type up the conversation on your computer? HVI has a number of tapes and CDs that would be more useful if they were transcribed. We are starting with the recollections on multiple CDs of Robert E. Babcock (1902-1990), who moved to Vienna when he was five years old, first to 420 Orchard Street NW, and then in 1923 to the family’s new Sears house on what is now Babcock Lane. Robert’s dad was Charles Babcock, a Vienna town mayor in the early 1910s. He is uncle to HVI member Larry Kenyon, whose wife Ellie encouraged Uncle Robert to create these tapes before his death. (Yay, Ellie!). They contain a wealth of information about early Vienna and about Robert’s life.

We can deliver a CD or several to your home, or you could pick it up at the Freeman Store and Museum during open hours.

Contact Anne Stuntz when you would like to get started. 703 994 9054

Excellent Book: Learn about the Kennedy family’s Hickory Hill

Carole Herrick’s latest book is Hickory Hill, McLean, Virginia, A Biography of a House and Those Who Lived There.”

Hickory Hill is a large 1870s brick house on Chain Bridge Road in McLean, best known for its ties to the John F. and Robert F. Kennedy families. But it was also owned by a variety of notable public figures, including a well-known DC dentist and a Supreme Court Justice.

Ms Herrick has detailed the life of the house and property from its prehistory days all the way up to its sale in 2009 for $8.2 million to the Dabbiere family who owns it still today and who sometimes host large scale fundraising events.

The book is full of fascinating stories about the people who lived here and the changes they made to the house over the years. Jackie and Jack Kennedy purchased it in 1955 and lived there for a time, but soon returned to Georgetown (then the White House), while Robert and Ethel Kennedy and their large family took over Hickory Hill. After RFK’s 1968 death, Ethel and the kids stayed on until 2003 when it was put on the market initially at $25 million.

You will enjoy learning about this important historic home so near to Vienna and so involved with the nation’s and the area’s history and growth.

Carole has written seven other local history books, some of which are available at the Freeman Store and Museum

 A Chronological History of McLean; Virginia,

Yesterday – 100 Recollections of McLean and Great Falls, Virginia,

Yesterday – Additional Recollections of McLean and Great Falls, Virginia,

 Images of America: McLean,

 August 24, 1814: Washington in Flames,

Ambitious Failure: Chain Bridge, The First Bridge across the Potomac River, and

 Legendary Locals: McLean


Parlor Talk by Ed Wenzel on July 24, 2016 – Free and open to the public – EVENT COMPLETE!

At 2 PM in the Parlor of the Freeman Store, Vienna’s own Ed Wenzel will talk about his new book: “Chronology of the Civil War in Fairfax County: Battles, Skirmishes, Incidents & Events of The War Between the States Occurring in Fairfax County, Virginia, 1859-1862, and Appendix (partial 1863).”

Chris Mackowski,of wrote the following about the book. Ed’s book is breathtaking in its scope, covering day-by-day the Civil War history of Fairfax County during the first two years of the war. With more than 50 maps and more than 350 photos, Ed’s exhaustive study comes in at 618 pages. The index, totaling another 200 pages, comes in its own volume.

Some of the actions and movements covered include: Blackburn’s Ford, First Manassas/Bull Run, Grigsby’s Hill, Lewinsville, Dranesville, Second Manassas/Bull Run, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Plus there are entries related to secession, troop reviews, raids and reconnaissance missions, balloon observations, quartermaster activities, the flight of refugees and contrabands, the construction of fortifications, bridge burnings, and railroad incidents and wrecks. It is non-stop activity and action.


Little Library Volunteers Needed!

The Little Library located on the Freeman House grounds is open the 1st Sunday of the month from 1 – 4 PM and during special community events. The library is a museum not a lending library but visitors may pass the time carefully reading some of the old books that have been preserved.

If you are interested in taking a turn sitting in the library and welcoming visitors the days we are open, please contact Margaret Dellinger, at or 703-409-3564. We are open this year: May 29, 30, June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4, October 1, 2, November 6, 28, and December 4, 31.