On September 22, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) accepted Vienna’s application and placed the Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church Street, NE, on the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Freeman Store and Museum is the only structure in Vienna to hold this highly sought after designation.
In January of this year, Town Council approved to undergo the rigorous application process for this designation, which was led by Historic Vienna, Inc. (HVI). The Freeman Store and Museum earned a place on this elite list based on its association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history (commerce, military, politics and government) and its association with the lives of significant persons in our past, including Leon Freeman, the first president of Vienna’s Volunteer Fire Department.
The timing of the Freeman Store’s designation as a historic structure is fitting as this year marks the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Built in 1859 and originally known as Lydecker Store, The Freeman Store and Museum operated as a general store until the late 1920s and then served as a residence until 1955. The building also operated as a post office and served in various capacities for both the Federal and Confederate armies during the Civil War. It was sold to the Town by Leon Freeman’s daughter Dorothy in 1969 and was restored by the Town of Vienna in 1976 as a United States Bicentennial project. Since then, the Freeman Store and Museum has been operated by HVI volunteers.
“The State’s recognition for this property is most welcome. Historic Vienna, Inc. board members have been working hard on this project for quite some time and are pleased with the outcome and the significance of this designation to the community as a whole,” said HVI President Anne Stuntz.
The DHR will forward the nomination to the National Park Service for review and listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). A decision on whether or not the Freeman Store and Museum will be placed on the NRHP is expected by the end of the year.
To view the Town’s application, visit www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Fairfax/153-0002_Freeman_Store_2011_NRHP_Draft.pdf.
To view photos of the building nomination, visit www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Fairfax/153-0002_FreemanStore.Photos.html.
For more information on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, visit www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/register.htm.
A special THANK YOU goes out to the Town of Vienna and to Kirstyn Barr, Public Information Officer, for sharing this article and the links with Historic Vienna Inc.