Historic Blenheim and the Civil War Interpretive Center

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 Historic Blenheim House, c. 1859

  Location: 3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030. Map Directions to Historic Blenheim
Hours: Civil War Interpretive Center and Gallery: 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday. The house is available for view Tuesday through Saturday during a 1 pm guided tour. Check back for holiday closings.   No admission fee except for Fairfax History Day and group tours.**

Historic Blenheim is a c. 1859 central-hall plan Greek Revival-style brick farmhouse built by Albert Willcoxon just prior to the Civil War (1861-65). It is nationally significant for the voluminous quantity and quality of examples of Civil War inscriptions. More than 122 signatures, pictographs, games, and thoughts were left on the house walls by Union soldiers during their occupation of the Fairfax Court House area in 1862-63. This "diary on walls" provides insight into typical soldier life and extends to the effect of this war on local residents--such as the Willcoxon family--and free and enslaved people of African descent.

 

NEXT PROGRAM: 

                         

Saturday, March 23 - Historic Blenheim

"A Cruel Life in and Uncivil TIme: Julia Wilbur's Struggle for Freedom"

Author Paula Tarnapol Whitacre has written an historical narrative of Julia Wilbur, a 47-year-old single woman from Poughkeepsie, and Rochester, New York who as an abolitionist moved to Alexandria, Virginia in 1862 to aid recently escaped slaves  and hospitalized Union soldiers.  Following the Civil War Wilbur moved to Washington, D.C. to work and became involved in the women's suffrage movement.  Though Wilbur's diaries and historical documents Ms. Whitacre has woven together s story of this strong, independent woman who put her beliefs into action.  Book sales and signings will be offered after the presentation.  Free event.

 

 

Guided Tour of Historic House: Please Note:  A guided tour of the house is at 1pm! Our gallery with replica attic in the Civil War Interpretive Center is open from 10am to 3pm. 

 *The house is only available for view during the Tuesday through Saturday 1 pm guided tour.  At this time the tour is of the first floor of the historic house and historic features around the site. Meet in the Civil War Interpretive Center.  The Historic House is accessible for handicapped visitors.  Phone: 703.591.0560.

**Group Tours: Private guided tours for adult groups and educational programs for students are available for a fee ($). All tours for 8 or more people are tailored for group needs, educational standards, and interests. Tours require advanced reservations. To arrange group educational programs or tours of historic Blenheim call Andrea Loewenwarter at 703.591.0560 or 6728.  

Outside of Civil Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim including patio and pergola

Civil War Interpretive Center

In the Civil War Interpretive Gallery (2008), wall inscriptions and pictographs from the house are reproduced with full-scaled photographs in the replica attic. Click here for virtual tour.  (Then double click on 19. Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim.) The gallery also includes an illustrated timeline of Civil War events, artifacts that interpret the everyday soldier, biographies of several of the wall signers, and temporary displays. 

Civil War charcoal drawing of cannon on attic wall of Historic Blenheim house.Theodor Raefle, Blenheim Attic

           Cannon drawing in Attic    Soldiers' Signatures in Attic 

 

Along with the featured gallery in the Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim, we also hold monthly Civil War Programs in our center and feature short videos on local Fairfax Civil War topics. The gift shop stocks books, children's toys and games, replica items, and souvenirs related to the Civil War and Fairfax history.

Historic Blenheim is a member of the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail.  However, please call individual sites to make sure opening times are still accurate.  Brochure of Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail.  We are also a member of the Virginia Civil War Trails. Brochures are available in both the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center and in the Civil War Interpretive Center. 

 

The Civil War Interpretive Center is available for rentals for private use. For information call 703.385.7858 or  Click here for rental properties information .

                                                                    

On the grounds of the Historic Blenheim estate is Grandma's Cottage, which dates to c. 1840. It was occupied for much of its history by Margaret Conn Willcoxon Farr, the sister of Albert Willcoxon, owner of the Willcoxon farm (later named "Blenheim").  Margaret Farr is buried in the Blenheim cemetery along with her husband, brother, parents, and grandmother.

The cottage is importantthe ca. 1840 Grandma's Cottage with attachedlog cabin addition.  This white clapboard house was moved to the Histopric Blenheim site in 2001.  It had ben owned by Magaret Willcoxon Farr, sister of Alber Willcoxon. for its combination of log-wall construction and rare hewn timber framing with brick infill between the studs in the c. 1940 left portion of the house.  A log cabin, of unknown date was connected to the 2-story house in 1867. It has been moved twice: in 1962 from its original location at the corner of Old Lee Highway and Route 236/Main Street to Old Lee Highway near Layton Hall Drive, from which it was moved to the Blenheim estate in 2001 after being donated to the city by local descendants of Margaret Farr.

 

The City of Fairfax is committed to the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation for any type of disability, call:  703-385-8414 or 703-591-0560.

Blenheim Attic Drawing of Cannon by Union Soldier