Monday, November 1, 2010

Salona Marker Dedication and Visit

This past Sunday my friend Ken and I attended Fairfax County's dedication of the Salona marker. The DuVal family graciously agreed to open their well-preserved home and property to attendees of the event.  Readers will recall that I have blogged frequently about Salona, the site of General "Baldy" Smith's headquarters during the winter of 1861-62. (See, for example, here, here, and here.)  Little Mac himself paid a visit when touring the lines.  (And Salona was also the site where President Madison stayed when fleeing the British in 1814.) At the time of the Civil War, the estate was owned by the Smoot family, whose descendants I had a chance to meet at the reception.  Visiting the home and grounds on a crisp autumn day was like a trip back to the 19th century -- Old Virginia certainly lives on in this corner of McLean.   Enjoy the photos!

The Salona marker is "unveiled," Sunday, October 31, 2010.  The uncovered marker was installed back in the summer. For the ceremony, it was draped with a cloth bearing the seal of Fairfax County.

Front of the Salona house.  I was very excited to be able to visit the house, which is on private property and largely obscured by trees.

National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Historic Landmark markers on the front of the Salona home.

A marker on the origins of the house, affixed to the front wall.
A marker on the front of the house commemorating President Madison's stay, installed by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Back side of the Salona house.
Property behind the Salona home.  Troops from the Vermont Brigade were camped around this area.

Close-up view of back entrance to the house.
Mr. DuVal had on display a binder of several wartime photos of Salona, including scenes of Camp Griffin.  He informed me that he had acquired these copies from the Vermont Historical Society.  On a side note, I learned from Carole Herrick, the Fairfax County History Commissioner who led today's ceremony, that a Civil War Trails sign on the Battle of Lewinsville is in the planning stages. I look forward to the installation of yet another marker commemorating the Civil War history around McLean, just in time for the Sesquicentennial.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron, thanks for the honorable mention and for letting me know about the event. It was indeed incredibly gracious of the DuVal family to open their home. By the way, did you see that the County is holding a meeting soon to get community input on the development of the Salona property into a park? Here is a link. There is also an article about it in the local newspaper we received today. Cheers! Ken.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Ken, Glad you were able to come. It certainly was a great opportunity to be able to visit this historic property. I saw the article in the "McLean Connection" about the hearing. Not sure I will be able to attend, but perhaps I can submit written comments. I have skimmed the plan before, and am not quite sure I am in love with the idea of the athletic fields fronting Rt. 123. That begs the question of what else those fields would be used for. The plans for the backside of the property seemed more appropriate for the historic and cultural nature of Salona. In any event, I am just glad to see this vestige of the rural character that our area once had will be preserved.

Anonymous said...

I have not studied the proposal for the Salona site in any detail, but am also a bit skeptical of having the athletic fields. On the one hand, I know the county has a real shortage of fields, but it just doesn't feel right to put them at that spot. It seems like maybe more could be done at Langley Fork Park or Lewinsville park in terms of athletic fields. On the other hand, since the county already has a park dedicated to Fairfax's agricultural heritage, which is Frying Pan Park, and since Claude Moore Colonial Farm is right here in Langley, I can't see the County going for an agricultural theme for Salona as Mr. DuVal suggested. The County also uses the Sully Historic Site for Civil War activities, so making Salona strictly Civil War-themed would probably be a tough sell because of that, too. At a minimum though, hopefully the County will indeed save at least one of the large meadows in front of the house, which are so beautiful. Ken.