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HVI’s Country Store Exhibit Celebrates Our Heritage

Visitors to the Freeman Store often comment that they feel as if they have “stepped back in time” or found themselves in “another era,” with the wood floors, wood and glass display cabinets, merchandise displayed on open wood shelving, and goods-for-sale nearby to museum displays featuring bolts of cloth, millinery and crockery.   On a wintery day, the wood stove with a rocker and checkerboard close by gives a feeling of warmth and coziness, while the vintage chest Coke cooler is a welcome sight during warm summer afternoons.  One of several general stores located in Vienna before the days of chains and “big boxes,” the Freeman Store remains a slice of living history.

Using the Freeman Store as backdrop, HVI has a new exhibit, “The History of the Country Store,” open now during Store hours (Wednesday thru Sunday, 12 noon to 4 pm).  On entering the store, visitors will immediately see that the exhibit has made use of the store itself for staging and presenting artifacts, examples of merchandise which would have been offered  in bygone days.  Continuing on through the second floor exhibit rooms are displays and explanatory materials giving a full picture of the role of the country store, including general mercantile (pots and pans, horse collars and school books), voting precinct, dry goods (clothing and shoes for the whole family), feed, grain and seeds, all manner of hardware from farm implements to hand tools and nails, and in many cases (including the Freeman Store) a post office and general gathering place.  The general store served as a grocery, including canned goods, eggs, fresh meat, and seasonal local produce.  Purchases could be made by cash, a credit “tab,” or by barter, a frequent method of purchase for local farmers, who would bring in garden produce or dairy products in exchange for commodities such as sugar, salt or other store merchandise.  Health concerns were addressed as well, with “medicines” guaranteed to cure everything from headache to baldness, toothaches to forgetfulness.

Abraham Lydecker potrayed by HVI Board Member Jon Vrana
Abraham Lydecker potrayed by HVI Board Member Jon Vrana
Abraham Lydecker 2014
Abraham Lydecker 2014
Coffee Mill 1898
Coffee Mill 1898

 

photo 3

Opening of Country Store Exhibit
Opening of Country Store Exhibit
Country Store Exhibit #1
Country Store Exhibit #1
Country Store Exhibit #2
Country Store Exhibit #2
Country Store Exhibit #3
Country Store Exhibit #3
Country Store Exhibit #4
Country Store Exhibit #4
Country Store Exhibit #5
Country Store Exhibit #5
Country Store Exhibit #6
Country Store Exhibit #6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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