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.
Saturday, January 26 - Historic Blenheim
"The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865"
LeRoy Wiley Gresham was born in 1847 to an affluent slave-holding family. After a horrific leg injury at age 12 he began keeping a diary in 1860 just as secession and the Civil War began tearing the country apart. He wrote even as his health deteriorated past the end of the war. He died in 1865.
The diary is published for the first time and editor Janet Croom captures the spirit and the character of a young privileged white teenager witnessing the demise of the South and a crumbling way of life even as his own as his body fails him.
Book sales and signings will be offered after the presentation.
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.
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.