Passing of Robert F. Dorr – June 12, 2016

Authors Bob Dorr & Dr. Tom Jones speaking at Vienna Town Hall in October 2011 on their book "Hell Hawks!"

Authors Bob Dorr & Dr. Tom Jones speaking at Vienna Town Hall in October 2011 on their book “Hell Hawks!”

Historic Vienna was saddened to hear that Oakton VA resident, Robert F. Dorr passed away on June 12, 2016.  Bob starting writing in 1955, was an Air Force veteran (1957-60) and a retired American diplomat (1964-89). He has authored more than 70 books and thousands of magazine articles about aviation, the Air Force, and military history.  His writings are superb and will be a lasting legacy of his contribution towards documenting the history of aviation.

Bob was a loyal supporter of Historic Vienna and we were fortunate to have him speak at the Vienna town Hall on several occasions.  Bob donated many books to Historic Vienna which we have been selling at our store.

Historic Vienna’s Annual Book Sale for 2016 – A grand Success!

With the ongoing Vienna Community Center construction, HVI needed to locate a different book sale venue. We were heartily welcomed to host our annual fundraiser at the American Legion at 330 Center Street North and we are happy to report that serious used book shoppers came to shop by the hundreds. HVI members not only attended the now traditional and popular presale event on Friday, April 1, complete with wine and cheese, provided by History 4 All’s Paula Elsey, but also volunteered to help sort and resort books, serve as cashiers, and tend customers in the Grandma’s Attic section.

Shoppers were surprised and delighted with the spacious area where nearly 950 cartons of used book cartons covered not only the tables set up in Patriot Hall, but also the hallway tables arranged in the entry hall where cashiers graciously served our buyers. Our sale coincided with the spring Patrick Henry Library sale, but shoppers were delighted to find many current and popular books. As always, Sunday’s $5.00 bag sale was tremendously popular.

Our Board offers thanks to every member who volunteered to make this sale so successful. Assistance from Boy Scouts, Madison High School History Honor Society students, and many HVI friends was exceptional and hugely appreciated.

A limited selection of used books will be available for sale at the Freeman Store and Museum. Why not stop by to take time to find a great used book?

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.

Old Tyme Garden Under Way

You may have noticed some activity of a different sort in the side yard of the Freeman Store. We’ve put on our garden gloves and are beginning to take this year’s museum exhibit on the history of agriculture of the Vienna area outdoors. Over the next few weeks, you will see efforts to get the garden ready for period crops – Indian corn, tobacco, wheat and rye, flax, and potatoes, all crops that were important to this area 100 to 200 years ago.

Later this spring, we’ll be holding a real Tom Sawyer fence whitewashing event. You’ll have your chance to come out and help whitewash the wooden fence that will surround the garden.

– Abram Lydecker, Storekeeper


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

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

Carole Herrick’s newest 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.