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 Summer 2018
INK Spring 2018
INK Fall 2017

Historic Vienna’s ANTIQUES MARKET Saturday September 8, 2018

Historic Vienna Inc. will be hosting an ANTIQUES MARKET at the Freeman Store & Museum (located at 131 Church Street NE) on Saturday September 8, 2018 from 10am to 4pm. This is a Family Friendly event featuring antiques for SALE and for EVALUATION, food & drinks (provided by Vienna American Legion Post, the Pure Pasty Co. and other local merchants) and games & music.

We will have expert appraisers on-site specializing in jewelry, gold, silver, coins, watches, stamps and general items. Bring in your antique for a verbal evaluation. Cost for this service is $10 per item (HVI members $8).
Reservations and Pre-Payment are a MUST.
Please call 703-938-5187 or email historicviennava@gmail.com to schedule a time slot for your antique evaluation.
Deadline for reservations is 9/1/18.
We hope to see you there!
Appraisal Event 2018

Click link below for printable summary flyer for Antiques Market
Vienna Antiques Market

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.

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

 

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

VIENNA’S LITTLE LIBRARY celebrates 120 YEARS!  SATURDAY OCTOBER 14, 2017.

The one-room library building, now located on Mill Street in Vienna, was the Town’s first public library, constructed in 1897 by local resident Edward R. Pierce at Library Lane and Maple Avenue. It was moved in 1912 to Center Street and Maple Avenue, and in 1969 to its present location where it is maintained as a museum by Historic Vienna.

The celebration included remarks by local dignitaries and former Little Library patrons, presentation of proclamations honoring the anniversary, musical entertainment, games for children and adults, and souvenirs and refreshments for everyone.

Historic Vienna Inc. also honored the history of this beautiful and important building during this year’s Vienna Halloween Parade.

 

Dr. Robert Amsler receives Town of Vienna Volunteer Recognition award on April 18, 2017!

 

Congratulations to Dr. Amsler for this well deserved award.  “In honor of your service to the community as an outstanding volunteer who has generously and enthusiastically given your time and resources to assist others.”

Dr. Amsler Volunteer Award from Town of Vienna

 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.

Little Library 1950-51

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.

 

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!

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 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.

Civil War letter written at Gettysburg – 150 years ago!

 To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg, the following is a four-page letter, written by Pvt. Joseph T. Betts, Musician, Anderson Zouaves, 62nd N.Y. Vol. Provided by Historic Vienna Inc. volunteer Jon Vrana.

Gettysburg   July 2nd, 1863

Dear Mother & Father,

I am writing you this letter on the Picket line on Round Top, we expect to be called in the fight every moment. The first days fight was tremendous, the men was slaughtered by thousands, and maybe before the day is through I may be numbered among the dead but I hope providence may deal with me more lenient, the fighting is something terrible. Four of my company was killed within five feet of me this morning and I was not harmed. I am at present writing 500 feet of the front line expecting every moment to go to the front. The Louisiana Tigers are devils and they show no mercy when they find a wounded soldier on the field they jab the Bayonett through him so to be sure he is dead. Oh I tell you it is awful dead and dying all around you bullets and shells is hitting like hail all around. The Artillery are doing great damage. I saw one officer after he had his death fire the Cannon off and then drop down dead. I hope the war will soon be over so I can be home with you once more only think Grandfather survived the Revolution. Father the War of 1812 and now I have come through Bull Run Harpers Ferry Fredericksbrugh Chancellorsville Fair Oaks and I could not mention the Battles I have been through out a scratch and have been captured by Mosbys Men and got away again. I tell you I have had a great many narrow escapes, and hope I may come through this one safe and sound. The din and groans of the dying is something terrible. We are now called to advance to the fighting is all along the fields good by from your ever Loving and affectionate Son

Joseph T. Betts  –   Anderson Zouaves 62nd N.Y. Vol   –   Battlefield Gettysburgh


This letter is from the Lewis and Lynn Hilder Collection.
Learn more about the Gettysburg Stone Sentinels.