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!

The Freeman Store and Museum Will Be Closed In January and February

The Freeman Store and Museum will be closed in January and February!

During our winter break, we will be doing our store inventory. We will also be cleaning and maintaining the building to prepare for another year of local history!

However, we will be happy to open the store and museum during January and February by appointment! Please call us at (703) 938-5187 for more information or to set up an appointment.

Thank you so very much for your support in 2015!

Our Oertel painting been successfully restored!

Johannes Adam Simon Oertel’s painting “The Raid” is an important piece of art in the Freeman Store and Museum’s collection.  It has recently been professionally restored to its former glory!

We are seeking donations to help offset the cost for the excellent restoration of this fine work of art.  Please call the Freeman Store at (703) 938-5187 if you are interested in making a tax exempt donation to this effort.

Photograph of “The Raid” painting by Johannes Oertel pre-restoration:

The Raid by Oertel

 

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 annual book sale – Saturday mornings in May and early June
  • Book Sale – June 8 through June 10, 2012
  • 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.

Summer Activities on the Green and at the Freeman Store

Visitors to the Town Green, located between Maple Avenue and the rear of the Freeman Store, are reminded that the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  When you run in to buy a soda or some candy, please take the time to appreciate that you are stepping back into another era, where an actual Storekeeper reaches into a glass display jar to pull out a candy stick or a jawbreaker, where you can explain to a child how a crank-operated, wall-mounted telephone works and where a family really did “live above the store.”  Our “Roads To Rails To Trails:” exhibit continues through the summer months, as does a mini-exhibit on the War of 1812 and our Museum Rooms offer a look into the past with period decorations and displays.

The concert schedule for the Town Green offers something for everyone – blues, military bands and choruses, jazz, country, bluegrass, rock.  Starting times are usually 6:30, music lovers are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets (but no alcohol and pets are discouraged).  A full schedule of concerts is available on the Town website.

The End Of An Era: On Mayo Stuntz’s Passing

Mayo Stuntz portrait

Historic Vienna Remembers Local Historian Mayo S. Stuntz
by Laine Hyde, Historic Vienna Inc. Secretary

Among the small number of video histories collected by Historic Vienna, Inc. is a tape of a one-hour interview with Mayo Stuntz.  Despite a career in government and private enterprises, Mayo – he was one of those “one name suffices to identify him” people – was usually known primarily as  Historian.    Together with his wife Connie, he produced numerous books on Vienna and other local subjects; primary among these was “This Was Vienna, Virginia: Facts and Photos,” considered an invaluable historical resource.

Mayo was born in the heart – the very heart – of the Town, in a home at the intersection of Old Courthouse Road and Maple Avenue.  This would explain not only why in recent years a “Happy Birthday, Mayo” sign would appear in October in front of JiffyLube but also how he came to know from personal, life-long experience, the history of his home town.  He was there.  He went to Vienna Elementary, walking home for lunch.   The family moved all the way to the edge of Vienna and he spent most of his life living in that home, eventually raising a new generation there.  A list of “served on” would include the Fairfax History Commission and the little group which advised the Town on the restoration of the Freeman House and eventually became Historic Vienna, Inc.  He lived to see the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.  Throughout his life and most particularly in retirement, he was always willing – enthusiastically willing – to share his memories, his experience and his love of history with groups or individuals.

Mayo Stuntz died on May 9 at the age of 97.  His contributions live on.

Official Obituary: Mayo S. Stuntz, Sr. (Age 97)
Passed away on May 9, 2013.  Born in Vienna, VA in 1915, attended Cornell University, served in the U.S.Army in the Pacific (Lt. Col, Ret.), had a 25 year career in the Central Intelligence Agency, and was a well-known local historian and co-author.  Beloved husband of 66 years of Constance Pendleton Stuntz.  Father of Anne (Brad Swanson), Reid (Linda), and Mayo Jr. (Elizabeth).

Grandfather of Allison Schulte (Ben), James (Mollie O’Rourke), Katie, Joe (Michelle), Grace, Jay Swanson, Charles Swanson and Steve Swanson.  Great Grandfather of Audrey Rose Schulte.
The family will receive visitors on Wednesday, May 15 from 2-4PM and from 6-8PM at the Money and King Funeral Home in Vienna, VA. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 16 at 1PM at the Vienna Presbyterian Church.  Interment will be at 4PM at the Flint Hill Cemetery, Oakton, VA.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Vienna Presbyterian Church or Historic Vienna, Inc. in Vienna, VA.

Spring Membership Meeting: The W&OD Railroad’s Civil War History

Time: 7:00 PM
Date: Thursday, March 28
Location: Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180

The Spring Membership Meeting of Historic Vienna, Inc. will be held on Thursday, March 28, at 7 PM at the Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180 (330 Center Street North, Vienna).  Following a brief business meeting and announcements, the Speaker for the evening will be local historian and reenactor Jon Vrana.  The Social Hall entrance is on the second floor.  Please drive around the building and park at the upper level.

Mr. Vrana is currently President of the Burke Historical Society, Board Member of the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, and has served on the Fairfax County Sesquicentennial Committee.  He has vast experience as a living history civilian and military reenactor and has appeared as Senator Justin Morrill, Capt. Samuel Means, Henry Thomas Harrison and Col. Silas Burke.

At the HVI Membership Meeting, Mr. Vrana will discuss the history of the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad and others which ran through Vienna from 1855 to 1968.  The exhibit “Roads to Rails to Trails” is currently open in the Freeman Store exhibit room and includes photographs, drawings, maps, artifacts, replicas and displays, illustrating the evolution through the years to what we now know as the W & OD Trail, a Northern Virginia Park Authority property enjoyed by 2 million visitors each year.  If you have ever walked, jogged or biked on the W & OD or if you are a lover of trains, Mr. Vrana’s lecture and the exhibit will be of interest and we encourage you to attend.

HVI’s Membership Meetings are free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.

Please call (703) 994-9054 for more information!

Exhibit Closing Soon: Vienna Awakens to War, 1861-1865

Vienna Awakens to War 1861-1865 is open for visitors at the Freeman House (originally Lydecker’s store during the war) from 12:00-4:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. The exhibit has been extended through the end of 2012 due to its popularity.

This exhibit takes a look at the War Between the States through artifacts loaned by members of the Vienna community, some of which have been passed down through many generations of family members and others lovingly collected by the current owners.  The exhibit, designed and mounted by Historic Vienna Inc. volunteers, includes reproductions of Union and Confederate uniforms and a dress of the period, bullets and ammunition, a genuine Colt revolver, buttons, currency, a Confederate war bond, original 1861 Harper’s Weekly pages on the Battle of Vienna and on the use of an observation balloon between Vienna and Falls Church, artifacts on camp life and domestic life such as children’s games and cooking utensils, a beautiful period doll, an officer’s writing desk, and many other photographs and memorabilia.  It is most fitting that this exhibit be shown at the Freeman House, as it was occupied by troops during the war.

As we continue to remember the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, it is crucial for all of us to understand what happened in our area and in our nation during this time.

Please visit and enjoy this free exhibit before it closes! Color brochures have been provided by Visit Fairfax and The Fairfax County Sesquicentennial Committee and are available at our exhibit. This brochure highlights all of the major events that happened in our county during the war.