Welcome to Historic Vienna Inc. and the Freeman Store & Museum

Please explore this website by using the pull-down menus and links.

Historic Vienna Inc. CALENDAR of Events 2018:

Calendar 2018

HISTORIC VIENNA INK Newsletter:
INK Winter 2018
INK Fall 2018
INK Summer 2018
INK Spring 2018

The Freeman Store is decorated for the holiday season!
Enjoy traditional decorations on our front porch and marvel at all the
beautiful hand-made decorations on the Christmas Tree in our Parlor Room.
All decorations compliments of Ayr Hill Garden Club and Historic Vienna Inc. (HVI)








The 2018 ornament by Rachel Peden is the newest in a series of collectible, hand painted wooden ornaments representing historic properties in Vienna. This year, Rachel has designed the Vienna National Bank. This handsome brick building with white columns and beautiful medallions was Vienna’s first bank. It was built in 1923 and sits at the corner of Church Street and Dominion Rd. This ornament is the 18th in a collection of ornaments sold exclusively at the Freeman Store.

Vienna National Bank

2018 EXHIBITS
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.

World War I exhibit

World War I exhibit

World War I exhibit

World War I exhibit

World War I exhibit

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.

Please learn more about Historic Vienna’s Women’s Suffrage exhibits by clicking on the links below.  VERY detailed information is available in these two Adobe Acrobat PDFs which include all the information displayed during our first two exhibits at the Freeeman Store and Museum.

HVI Origins of Women’s Rights Exhibit 1

HVI The Women’s Rights Movement in 1917 Exhibit 2

 

Suffrage Exhibit

Suffrage Exhibit

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.

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 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.

 

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), 131 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 1pm 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.

Event Complete – thanks to all participants! Country Store Exhibit at the Freeman Store and Museum

Historic Vienna, Inc. The History of the Country/General Store museum exhibit wrapped up in December of 2015.  Please come to our Farming and Agriculture exhibit which will open in early March 2016.  

The exhibit utilized artifacts, period apparel, tools, posters and other materials and told 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.

We had many visitors who enjoyed this exhibit from the USA: Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Idaho, California, and Washington, DC. Visitors from other countries include folks from 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 have been possible without the contributions of many individuals who loaned artifacts and antiques from their personal collections.  We thank them one and all!

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, 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.

 

Historic Vienna Volunteers Needed

Historic Vienna welcomes and treasures volunteers to work one time, regularly, or for special events. It is a great way to meet new people and have fun while providing a very valuable service to your organization.  Please take a moment and browse the many events and activities where we need volunteers from the list below.  If you have some time to devote, we would love to hear from you.  You can specify when, where and how much time you are willing to give.   Thanks so much for considering this–we need your help to continue to thrive!

Please consider the following opportunities for you to help our group provide quality programs and services to our community:

  • Freeman House Tours, including tours of the library and store
  • Little Library – usually open once a month on Sunday afternoons
  • Book sorting for our ongoing book sale
  • Walk on the Hill
  • Special events ( reenactments, performances on the lawn, Santa Claus visits, Viva Vienna, Stroll on Church Street, Easter Egg Roll etc.)

For more information, please call (703) 938-5187.

Closing Soon: War of 1812 Exhibit

Historic Vienna, Inc. is pleased to offer our War of 1812 exhibit at the Freeman Store and Museum!  Suzanne Traut and Benny Vuong, two local volunteers who stepped forward to help Historic Vienna share history at the Freeman House, have completed an excellent display which deserves our attention.   Learn how James and Dolley Madison fled from the city of Washington in August of 1814 and headed into Virginia to escape the advance by the British, who approached up the Chesapeake Bay and fought through Bladensburg, Maryland and then into Washington itself.  You will find complete descriptions covering many aspects of this war that happened 200 years ago.

This exhibit has increased in size recently and there is much to learn by reading each panel and viewing the graphics.  With so much happening during this period in our nation’s history, there is a perfect opportunity here for our emerging historians at our local schools to attend this exhibit and author their own understanding of this event into school projects for credit.

Signed copies of local author, Carole Herrick’s book “August 24, 1814: Washington in Flames” is available for sale in the Freeman Store.  This book accurately describes the events surrounding the attack by the British on Washington and Carole has graciously allowed us to use two maps with descriptions from her book in this exhibit.

2012 White House Ornament: Now Available!

The Storekeeper announces that in response to requests from customers, we will have a very limited number of 2012 White House Christmas Ornaments, a beautiful enameled antique car, loaded with wrapped packages.  Please note that since we are not allowed to change the price of the ornament, we will not be able to offer our 10% member discount on this item.  The price is $17.95.

While you’re thinking about the holidays…shop local at the Freeman Store!

Our Storekeeper has ordered a wonderful list of items which have begun arriving for your early holiday shopping or, if you are not yet ready to shop, for your list-making.

In addition to our usual exceptional collection of books (for children, local history, cook books), pottery and linens, we have unusual children’s toys, many harkening back to an earlier age and many suitable for stockings or small gift exchanges.  Virginia-made items include soaps, candles, preserves and jellies and jingle birds and what child (of any age) would not enjoy a selection of old-fashioned candy?

Our December issue of HVInk will include more details on Christmas Shopping at the Freeman House but it is never too early to stop in for the best selection.