Calendar of Upcoming Local Events

 

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 Quick Calendar List: (please SCROLL DOWN to see details for events)

43rd Annual Walk on the Hill, an annual event in the Windover Heights neighborhood on Sunday, April 30, from 2-5PM, is our next major Vienna event for Historic Vienna and will include the Green Expo. Tour the beautiful gardens of 50 homes, enjoy live music and refreshments in a historic neighborhood.  This event is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Learn more about efforts of the Community Enhancement Commission to make Vienna more sustainable at the Green Expo. You can visit a home with solar panels purchased through the Solarize Vienna 2015 program, discuss the system with the homeowner, and learn about Solarize Vienna 2017.  More information, including a self-guided walking tour and event brochure, is available at the Freeman Store or from the Town of Vienna website:

https://www.viennava.gov/index.aspx?nid=840

The annual Plant Sale and Garden Faire will be held on the lawn of the Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church Street, NE in Vienna at 8 and 9AM, respectively, Saturday, May 6. Vienna’s historic Little Library will be open on Sunday, May 7.

Vienna, Virginia’s biggest event of May will be Viva Vienna, with carnival rides beginning on Saturday, May 28, and all of Church Street full of vendors on Sunday and Monday, May 29 and 30.

The Freeman Store and Museum at 131 Church Street, NE in Vienna, Virginia is open Wednesday through Sunday from 2-4PM, offering a terrific selection of gifts, games, books and old-fashioned candies, as well as our continuing exhibits on the American Suffrage Movement, and Vienna’s History Through Time. The Used Book Cellar is open whenever the Store is open. Enjoy browsing through books, DVD’s, Books on CD’s and vintage prints covering many topics. All profits support Historic Vienna, Inc. events and museum exhibits. Used book donations are welcome; bags or boxes can be placed on the Freeman Store porch or brought into the store. Text books, encyclopedias, magazines, dictionaries and romance novels are not accepted.

In June Vienna Virginia’s Little Library will be open Sunday, June 4.

On Friday, June 16, Vienna will recognize Fairfax County Virginia’s 275th Anniversary and will hold the summer’s first Chillin’ on Church from 6:30-9:30PM. Saturday.

June 17, will be History Day in Fairfax City, and, on Wednesday, June 28, the first of the summer’s Stories and Sprinklers will be held on the lawn behind Vienna’s Little Library at 1:30PM. Kids will listen to a children’s story then, with parent permission, run through the sprinklers on the Vienna Town Green.

HVI’s new 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.

HVI’s newest exhibit, “Vienna’s History Through Time,” celebrates the Vienna area’s contribution to local history as Fairfax County celebrates its 275th birthday.  Through a series of photographs, newspapers, historic artifacts, and stories, local events and time periods will be highlighted. Stories of the first county court house, the Virginia secession vote, the local oil strike, and other common and not so common events. If you have any Vienna area artifacts that would help us tell this story, please email Museum Chair Jon Vrana at jvrana@gmail.com and describe what you would like to loan (or donate) for the exhibit.

Our Historic Vienna Inc. board, storekeepers and friends thank all of our supporters for helping us to have a very successful and exciting 2016.  We look forward to serving our community again in the new 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

May Plant Sale in the Side Yard request from Ayr Hill Garden Club, May 6, 8:00 a.m. – 12 noon.

Fairfax County 275th Anniversary is in 2017! 

Mark your calendars for July 17, 2017, when the county will hold a special event at the Massey Building.

Historic Vienna welcomes new board member GLORIA RUNYON!  We are happy to have you and look forward to fun and rewarding times together.

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

Erik Hottenstein 2016 Freeman Store Christmas card

Erik Hottenstein 2016 Freeman Store Christmas card

New Rachel Peden handcrafted ornament – – – VIENNA ARTS CENTER!

Vienna Arts Center 2016 Ornament

Vienna Arts Center 2016 Ornament

 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.

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.

Roger B. Neighborgall – Historic Vienna Friend and supporter passes on.

We at Historic Vienna will miss Roger very much. He was very supportive of our programs and an important inspiration to all.  His devotion to helping others and improving our community were key and very successful missions throughout his life.

Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr.

Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr.

Roger’s obituary from Washington Post:

Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr. On his 93rd birthday, September 13, 2016, after a brief illness, Roger B. Neighborgall, Sr. of Falls Church VA died with his family by his side. A graduate of Duke University, Roger was a member of the greatest generation, a US Army Ranger who fought in Europe including the Normandy invasion and Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the war in Europe he applied his munitions expertise to help recover stolen Jewish treasure stored in German bank vaults. His military awards include the Silver and Bronze Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was recalled to service during the Korean War and spent his civilian career as an executive in the defense industry. Roger’s war experience imparted a profound love of life and a can-do determination to give back to his family, community and country. A community activist and perennial volunteer, he was active in the Lions Club, the American Legion and various city government organizations. He spoke extensively about his experiences to community and school groups, and particularly enjoyed teaching middle schoolers about the War, life, and the qualities of leadership. He was founder and President of the N. VA Tennis League and President of the Friends of the W&OD Trail. He was active in veterans’ organizations and was a USO volunteer and a greeter of Honor Flights bringing his fellow vets to visit the WWII Monument. Roger is survived by his wife of 38 years, Linda; children, Roger Jr., Lisa Mathieu (Stephen), Christa Hyland and daughter-in-law, Rebecca Neighborgall; 8 beloved grandchildren and one glorious great-granddaughter.

The family will receive friends at the National Funeral Home, 7482 Lee Hwy., Falls Church, VA 22042 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2016. A funeral mass will be held at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, 543 Beulah Rd., Vienna, VA 22180 on Saturday, September 24 at 1:00 p.m. Private interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Roger requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be directed to the US Army Ranger Assn, Ranger Assistance Fund, PO Box 52126, Ft Benning, GA 31995, note as Roger Neighborgall memorial donation, the USO, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677 or Capital Caring, 2900 Telestar Ct., Falls Church, VA 22042.

Passing of Frank Lancaster – July 16, 2016

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. Mr. Lancaster”s Life Celebration will be held at Money and King Funeral Home, 171 W. Maple Ave., Vienna, VA on Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Capital Baptist Church, 3504 Gallows Rd., Annandale, VA on Friday, July 23 at 11 a.m. Interment National Memorial Park. Online condolences and fond memories may be offered to the family at: www.moneyandking.comwww.moneyandking.com.

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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.

Antiques Appraisers at the Freeman Store (EVENT COMPLETE – APRIL 25, 2015)

The Historic Vienna, Inc. (HVI) Annual Antique Appraisal will be held Saturday, April 25, at the Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church Street, SE, Vienna, VA 22180. Hours for the event are 12:00-4:00 PM. Professional Appraisers Josephine Thrasher and James Johnson will be offering verbal appraisals on antiques of all kinds, and may be able to provided fascinating information about the items.

Appraisals are ‘by-appointment’ only. Interested persons may make an appointment by calling (703) 938-5187 or stopping by the Freeman Store. Those with appointments may bring a maximum of two items for appraisal. The cost is nominal: $10.00 per item for HVI members, $15.00 per item for non-members. Mr. Thrasher and Mr. Johnson donate their time. All funds raised go to support activities of Historic Vienna.

Historic Vienna, Inc., is the nonprofit organization established by the Vienna Town Council in 1976, to preserve and promote Vienna’s heritage through the identification, preservation, and interpretation of historically significant places, events, and persons; educate the public through permanent and revolving exhibits, outreach programs, special events and publications; and enhance a spirit of community through an awareness of Vienna’s past.

 

Historic Vienna Handmade Ornaments At The Freeman Store

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.