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

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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.

 

Special Event: Re-Enactment of the Lydecker Store Secession Vote – (EVENT COMPLETE – MAY 16, 2015)

Secession Vote Will Be Reenacted in Vienna

In May 1861, Vienna residents assembled in front of the Lydecker Store (today the Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church Street, SE), to vote on the referendum for Virginia to secede from the Union. The vote was 76 against the ordinance of secession, 44 for it.  Mr. Earnest Birdsong, the first to cast a vote said, “We are now a separate nation, my vote is for secession from the Union.” However, another, United States federal sailor Nathaniel Bosworth, said that while his allegiance was with Virginia, he believed, “The South will lose the war, and I vote to reject the ordinance.”

On May 16, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., a reenactment of the 1861 vote will take place at the exact same location, the steps of the Freeman Store and Museum. Civilians from the 19th century will cast their vote, for or against seceding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, an event that was repeated in 1861 at more than a dozen other locations in Fairfax County, as well as across Virginia. While the majority of Fairfax County and Virginia, as a whole, voted to leave the Union, Vienna voted against secession and in favor of remaining in the Union. The public is invited to attend and participate in the reenactment.

Historic Vienna Handmade Ornaments At The Freeman Store

2017 Ornament by Rachel Peden – Green Hedges School! NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Green Hedges 2017 HVI Ornament

The 2015 Historic Vienna Inc. Ornament, is the 16th in our collection. The two-sided ornament features the original Vienna Volunteer Fire Department building on Church Street on one face, and the stores that later occupied the building, Worthington’s gift shop and The Full Cry Shop, a ladies clothing store, on the other.

Worthington's & Full Cry Shop

Worthington’s & Full Cry Shop

Fire Dept 2015 ornament (reverse side of Worthington's - Full Cry)

Fire Dept 2015 ornament (reverse side of Worthington’s – Full Cry)

A FANTASTIC ORNAMENT remembering our town as it was many years ago.

 

The 2014 ornament by Rachel Peden is the 15th in a series of collectible, hand painted wooden ornaments representing historic properties in Vienna.  This year Rachel has designed a delightful version of  The Once Upon a Time Toy Store.  This year we chose the recently renovated property at 120 Church Street, NE., originally a dry goods store constructed in the 1920s.  Now the home of Cocoa Vienna chocolatiers, several generations of Vienna residents fondly remember it as “Once Upon A Time,” purveyors of dolls, toys, stuffed animals, puppets, books and dollhouses.  Ms. Peden’s handcrafted and handpainted ornaments have amazing detail and all are available for $19.50 each or a full set of 15 (including Freeman Store, Little Library, Town Hall, local schools and churches, among other Vienna related subjects such as the Vienna Inn and the Caboose) for $270.00.  All are sold exclusively at the Freeman Store. The ornament is priced at $19.50, as are all in the series, and is available exclusively at the Freeman Store.

Once Upon a Time #1Once Upon a Time #2Once Upon a Time #3

 

 Only $270.00 for the complete set of 15 different ornaments

Vienna Ornaments – Hand Made in the USA by Rachael Peden

1997 Vienna Original Library 1897

1998 Freeman House 1859

1999 Vienna Presbyterian Church 1874

2000 Railroad Caboose 1990

2001 Vienna Depot 1861

2002 Vienna Inn 1925

2003 Vienna Elementary School 1923

2004 First Baptist Church 1867

2008 Louise Archer Elementary School 1939

2009 Bowman House 1890

2010 Bouton’s Hall 1894

2011 Vienna Town Hall

 

2012 Antique Firetruck

2013 Santa

Historic Vienna 2013 Ornament

For more information call us (703) 938-5187!

Join us for Church Street Stroll!

Date: December 1
Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
Location: Church Street

Program of Events:
Church Street closes at 5:45
Santa arrives at 6:15
Santa and Mayor light the tree at 6:20

Music at the Showmobile Stage:

  • Wolftrap Elementary Singers
  • Louise Archer Elementary Singers
  • Green Hedges School Jazz Ensemble
  • Emmanuel Lutheran Church Revelation Ensemble
  • Fairfax Jubilaires
  • Vienna Community Band
  • Strolling
  • Vienna Falls Chorus of Sweet Adelines

Historic Structures will be open:

  • Freeman Store and Museum
  • Little Library
  • Caboose
  • Train Station
  • Knights of Columbus (formerly First Baptist)
  • Vienna Presbyterian’s Old Chapel

Other drop-in activities:

  • CHO Canned Food Collection (No expired food, please! Boxes Located by the Freeman Store Porch)
  • Supervised bonfires with marshmallows for roasting
  • Hot chocolate
  • Petting zoo

Co-Sponsors
Historic Vienna, Inc.
Merchants of Church Street
Town of Vienna Department of Parks & Recreation

Questions? Call us at (703) 938-5187!

EVENT COMPLETE!! Flint Hill Cemetery Tour by Historian Jim Lewis

Time: 10:00 AM
Date: Saturday, September 13

Location: Flint Hill Cemetery in Oakton

Local historian Jim Lewis will lead a tour of historic Flint Hill Cemetery in Oakton on Saturday, September 13 at 10 am.  He will share interesting aspects of the cemetery, including  stories of prominent Vienna residents and some of the 27 Civil War era military veterans, 4 of them Mosby’s Rangers, who are interred there.  Sponsored by Historic Vienna, Inc., free and open to the public, no reservations required.  Meet at Flint Hill Cemetery at the corner of Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) and Courthouse Road, next to the Church of the Brethren.  For information call 703 994 9054.

Free Private Tours of the Freeman Store and Museum

Historic Vienna, Inc. would like to remind Scout leaders, organizers of school field trips, and program/activity chairs of any group that we offer tours of the historic Freeman Store, customized to the age, size and interests of the tour group.  Our docents use anecdotes and objects from HVI’s collections to make the history of Vienna and the Freeman Store  come alive. 

The free tours are by appointment only, open to any group.  For more information, call Mike Cheselka at (703) 483-0369, or call the Freeman Store at (703) 938-9157!

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’s Exhibits Reach Thousands of History Lovers

It was only ten years ago that Historic Vienna, Inc. opened our first exhibit.  It was a small collection of framed photographs and woodblock prints and we called it “Civil War Scenes and the Freeman Family History.”  In the years since, our volunteers have mounted eight more exhibits, with topics as varied as the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, Vienna’s African American community, Jamestown’s 400th anniversary, World War II, the Civil War, Rails to Roads to Trails and the Country Store.  We have added hand crafted display cases and expanded to mini-exhibits on such things as the War of 1812 and Vienna Woods.  As each successive exhibit opens, we are not only grateful to the many history-loving and community-minded citizens who have entrusted us with the loan of their possessions, but also to the HVI volunteers who have spent hundreds of hours researching not only the factual history behind each exhibit topic, but also educating themselves in display techniques, contacting potential donors and supporters, and actually mounting the exhibits. Our Guest Books tell the story – visitors are finding us and are looking to HVI as a source for interesting, educational and challenging exhibits, right in their own backyard!