Historic Blenheim/Civil War Interpretive Center

Historic Blenheim/Civil War Interpretive Center Official Page of Historic Blenheim & the Civil War Interpretive Center, administered by City of Fairfax Office of Historic Resources. 3610 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax VA 22030 As of July 14 2020 - Interpretive Center ONLY - Open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 3 pm.
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Historic House remains closed. Front Desk: (703) 591-0560 Historic Blenheim - built c. 1858 by secessionist Albert Willcoxon - is known for its exceptional collection of Union soldiers' Civil War graffiti. To date, over 110 of these soldiers, hailing from 7 states, have been indentified. The Civil War Interpretive Center illustrates the lives of the Union soldiers who came through the house, as well as the effect of war in Fairfax. A life scale reproduction of the inaccessible attic, showcasing many of the best signatures, is a highlight of the gallery. House tour currently suspended (A free, guided tour of the first floor of the house and grounds is available at 1 pm Tuesday - Saturday.) Historic Blenheim offers several programs with a Civil War focus throughout the year. Our premier program is Civil War Day, a living history event, annually held the last Saturday in April. . Group tours for students, scouts and adults are available by advanced reservation - please call (703) 591-6728 for more details. The modern Interpretive Center is available for rental. Rentals are administered by the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation department. Please call (703) 385-7858 for rental information, or see http://fairfaxva.gov/parksrec/BlenheimReservation.asp

Operating as usual

We are thrilled to announce we are recipients of a grant for $19,976 from the National Park Service’s National Center fo...
08/05/2020
NCPTT | Trump Administration Invests $202,660 in Preservation Technology and Training Grants

We are thrilled to announce we are recipients of a grant for $19,976 from the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology. The grant will be used for assessing and preserving the Union soldier graffiti on the walls of the Historic Blenheim House with the latest multi-spectral imaging technology.

Trump Administration Invests $202,660 in Preservation Technology and Training Grants Posted by Mary Striegel On August 4, 2020 · In Grants, News Cibula Slave house, Prince George County, Virginia WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration announced today $202,660 in grants for projects to develop or a...

Our Interpretive Center is open again! New hours Tuesday- Saturday , 11-3. Our historic Blenheim house is still not open...
07/14/2020

Our Interpretive Center is open again! New hours Tuesday- Saturday , 11-3. Our historic Blenheim house is still not open to the public , but see the attic replica in the Center to view our famous Union soldier graffiti! City of Fairfax Government

We're ready for Tuesday July 14!
07/10/2020

We're ready for Tuesday July 14!

The enslaved residents of Fairfax County knew they were emancipated January 1, 1863, long before those in Galveston Texa...
06/19/2020

The enslaved residents of Fairfax County knew they were emancipated January 1, 1863, long before those in Galveston Texas (who did not hear the news until June 19, 1865.) A number of Fairfax born African-American men went on to enlist in the Union Army. Here is the service record of Thomas Bailey, a coachman, who mustered in on Mason's Island (now Theodore Roosevelt Island) in June of 1863. Image from U.S. Colored Troops, Company Descriptive Book 1865 - courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration - and shown in "The Fairfax Story" at Fairfax Museum. #Juneteenth

05/29/2020

As Northern Virginia enters Phase One, our buildings are still closed but our grounds and pathways remain open for walking. Note that driveway gates are locked when staff is not onsite (including evenings and weekends) but parking is allowed in the surrounding neighborhood.

05/15/2020
Making HardTack

Check out this how-to for making Civil War style HardTack.

Just like our graffiti, primary source documents - such as personal journals - are crucial artifacts for historians stud...
05/05/2020
Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

Just like our graffiti, primary source documents - such as personal journals - are crucial artifacts for historians studying past events. Did you know Anne Frank's diary, which just started out as a way to express her teenage life, became so much more for a reason?

"In March 1944, Anne heard a radio broadcast from the Dutch minister for education, art and science, who was in exile in London along with other members of the Dutch government. “History cannot be written on the basis of official decisions and documents alone,” he said. “What we really need are ordinary documents—a diary, letters.” Anne wrote about the broadcast in her diary and decided to edit and rewrite it with an aim for publication. " - history.com

This is the time of year we would be welcoming in students at our sites for Spring Field trips, including students from Daniels RunElementary, and we miss interacting with these students. We love what this teacher is doing to have students journal during this time - we hope to read about your thoughts and experiences in the future.

Primary source documents - such as personal journals - are crucial artifacts for historians studying past events. Did you know Anne Frank's diary, which just started out as a way to express her teenage life, became so much more for a reason?

"In March 1944, Anne heard a radio broadcast from the Dutch minister for education, art and science, who was in exile in London along with other members of the Dutch government. “History cannot be written on the basis of official decisions and documents alone,” he said. “What we really need are ordinary documents—a diary, letters.” Anne wrote about the broadcast in her diary and decided to edit and rewrite it with an aim for publication. " - history.com

This is the time of year we would be welcoming in students at our sites for Spring Field trips, including students from Daniels RunElementary, and we miss interacting with these students. We love what this teacher is doing to have students journal during this time - we hope to read about your thoughts and experiences in the future.

05/01/2020

Out of the mouths of soldiers - and on to the walls ! Live streaming soldier cartoons.

Shoes Fetish and Foxes--What has that to do with Historic Blenheim?Hi!  This is Andrea at Historic Blenheim. We thought ...
04/22/2020

Shoes Fetish and Foxes--What has that to do with Historic Blenheim?

Hi! This is Andrea at Historic Blenheim. We thought we would treat you to some stories of our site until you can come back and visit us again. We sure do miss you.

Shoes have been disappearing from the neighborhoods surrounding Historic Blenheim. When this happened to my son (1/2 of 3 pair of shoes) a notice was put out to our civic association page and neighbors replied: It's the foxes!
A few days later some shoes were spotted below a fox hole at Historic Blenheim near the bike path. In between 4 fox holes were 12 shoes--only one was a full pair. Gardening gloves were also found. I placed these by the path and neighbors were told they were ready for pickup.
So what is it with these foxes taking shoes? Apparently, fox often gather such items for kits as toys! I saw a kit yesterday, but it was camera shy.

But wait, we have house history with shoes and foxes! In 2014, shoes and mostly clothing items (ok, also an old beer bottle and a Union cavalry spur) ) were found in a wall beside a parlor chimney! What was unusual about the shoes was there was only one of each of the three pair, and they were quite tattered and torn! What was this about?

There is a centuries-old tradition, particularly in England, of concealing shoes in the walls of homes. In the United States, the practice has been discovered mostly in New England. The Northhampton Museums in England keep an international index of concealed walls found in structures! Their explanation for this practice is that the shoes were stored for good luck to prevent evil spirits from entering the home. The Willcoxon family were of British ancestry, so WHO KNOWS? We believe they were put in the wall about 1890, based on the age of the shoes.

Oh, yes, the other Fox! In the 1930s the Fox family was living in the house and were farming the land for the Willcoxons. Then a young boy, Stewart Fox added his name to the signatures on the walls in the attic.. Interestingly, his mother was descended from the McLean family whose farm was part of the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run. For safety they moved to what is now know as Appomattox! It was in his house where the official surrender of the Confederate Army on April, 1865 occurred.
So concludes Historic Blenheim's Shoe and Fox connections!
Questions? Remarks. Please let us know!

04/08/2020

Graffiti, Grub and Go!

04/02/2020
Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

Check out this Facebook Live from the Fairfax Museum tomorrow am!

Join us 11 am Friday:
Facebook Live sneak peek of the exhibit
“A Material World: Newspaper Photographs of the 1980s”

03/17/2020

UPDATE

All City of Fairfax Historic Sites are closed to the public through March 29. Further opening/closing decisions will be determined by the City prior to March 29.

Based on CDC guidance on group events, all of our public events through April have been cancelled. This includes Fairfax History Day, which will next be held April 24, 2021.

Please stay up to date on news via the City of Fairfax website: www.fairfaxva.gov

Yesterday we welcomed a new planting- a beautiful Copper Beech ! A gift from the Garden Club of Fairfax, in honor of The...
03/12/2020

Yesterday we welcomed a new planting- a beautiful Copper Beech ! A gift from the Garden Club of Fairfax, in honor of The Garden Club of Virginia's centennial, and dedicated to Barbara Scott (last Willcoxon family member resident of Blenheim), who was Garden club of Fairfax President '73-'75.

Having fun at Christmas in Camp! Come on out for the final hour- open until 4 pm.
12/08/2019

Having fun at Christmas in Camp! Come on out for the final hour- open until 4 pm.

11/21/2019

Our monthly programs are great - and we thank author Lisa G. Samia for this short video of her experience as our October presenter! Video by Seharut Suankeow .

11/02/2019

We are CLOSED to regular visitation today as we host the Graffiti Conference.

Reminder - Today at 2!
10/26/2019

Reminder - Today at 2!

Saturday Oct 26, 2 pm, FREE - "The Nameless and Faceless of the Civil War." Author Lisa Samia will read from her collection of poems and essays on historical representations of Civil War events and everyday soldiers through the narrative of poetry. Book sales and signing will be offered after the presentation.

Saturday Oct 26, 2 pm, FREE - "The Nameless and Faceless of the Civil War."  Author Lisa Samia will read from her collec...
10/23/2019

Saturday Oct 26, 2 pm, FREE - "The Nameless and Faceless of the Civil War." Author Lisa Samia will read from her collection of poems and essays on historical representations of Civil War events and everyday soldiers through the narrative of poetry. Book sales and signing will be offered after the presentation.

10/05/2019

Thanks Historic Fairfax City, Inc. for throwing a successful Taste Of the Vine fundraiser !

Join us tomorrow, 8/24 at 2 pm - "Col. Sharpe and the Creation of the Bureau of Military Information" . Lecturer Jim And...
08/23/2019

Join us tomorrow, 8/24 at 2 pm - "Col. Sharpe and the Creation of the Bureau of Military Information" . Lecturer Jim Anderson will relate the story of how Col. Sharpe created the Bureau of Military Intelligence and formulated professional intelligence practices. FREE

07/03/2019

CLOSED
July 4
to celebrate
Independence Day!

06/27/2019
City of Fairfax Government

More about our multi-spectral testing last week!

THIS IS REALLY COOL: SOLVING OLD MYSTERIES AT BLENHEIM. These walls *literally* tell a story. (Please share.)

We were lucky to have a world-renowned researcher in the city last week; he charged the city nothing to use multispectral imaging to learn more about what lurks below some of surfaces of Blenheim. (The tool he used — again, at no charge to the city — has a price tag of $150K and had to shipped back to England the next day.)

As many of you probably know, Blenheim was used as a Union hospital during the Civil War, and many of its walls have extensive writing and grafitti from Union soldiers.

Enjoy!

Multi Spectral Imaging at Historic Blenheim
06/19/2019

Multi Spectral Imaging at Historic Blenheim

Multi Spectral Imaging at Historic Blenheim

06/19/2019

We are CLOSED to the public today for a special multi-spectral research project on our house walls.

06/15/2019

We will be CLOSED to the public Wednesday June 19 for special multispectral imaging research happening at the house. Open as usual all our other days!

Fairfax History Day was terrific on Saturday and we thank all who attended. Sharing just a few highlights - THANKS to Su...
05/02/2019

Fairfax History Day was terrific on Saturday and we thank all who attended. Sharing just a few highlights - THANKS to Susan and Tim Gibson for these pics. Mark April 25, 2020 on your calendar to join us next year!

It's a beautiful day on site to enjoy living history, music, and hay rides and more! Fairfax History Day is open until 5...
04/27/2019

It's a beautiful day on site to enjoy living history, music, and hay rides and more! Fairfax History Day is open until 5 pm - Park at Fairfax High School and come on up.

Dairy Farming was our local economic engine in the late 1800s - especially at Blenheim. Come "milk" Sadie the Cow at His...
04/26/2019

Dairy Farming was our local economic engine in the late 1800s - especially at Blenheim. Come "milk" Sadie the Cow at History Day - TOMORROW 10-5!

Quiet and spring-like onsite today - but soon our living history reenactors (soldiers and civilians spanning the whole 1...
04/24/2019

Quiet and spring-like onsite today - but soon our living history reenactors (soldiers and civilians spanning the whole 19th century) will be setting up. See you Saturday for Fairfax History Day 2019 !

Address

3610 Old Lee Hwy
Fairfax, VA
22030

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Saturday 11:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(703) 591-0560

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3610 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax VA 22030 Open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 3 pm. Interpreive Center Onyy - guided tours of house temprorarily suspended. FREE Front Desk: (703) 591-0560 Historic Blenheim - built c. 1858 by Albert Willcoxon - is known for its exceptional collection of Union soldiers' Civil War graffiti. To date, over 110 of these soldiers, hailing from 7 states, have been indentified. The Civil War Interpretive Center illustrates the lives of the Union soldiers who came through the house, as well as the effect of war in Fairfax. A life scale reproduction of the inaccessible attic, showcasing many of the best signatures, is a highlight of the gallery.

TOURS AND PROGRAMS listed below are temporarily suspensed.

A free, guided tour of the first floor of the house and grounds is available at 1 pm Tuesday - Saturday. Historic Blenheim offers several programs with a Civil War focus throughout the year.

Group tours for students, scouts and adults are available by reservation - please call (703) 591-6728 for more details. The modern Interpretive Center is available for rental. Rentals are administered by the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation department. Please call (703) 385-7858 for rental information, or see http://fairfaxva.gov/parksrec/BlenheimReservation.asp

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