Thursday, February 7, 2013

Langley Gets Its Marker Back (And Some Parking Spots Too)

Langley, Virginia saw its fair share of activity during the first fall and winter of the Civil War.  I've written extensively about Camp Pierpont, which played home to the Pennsylvania Reserves from October 1861 to March 1862.  This encampment covered the rolling farmland along the Leesburg-Georgetown Turnpike (today's Georgetown Pike, or VA-193) near Langley.  Gen. George A. McCall, commander of the Reserves, used the Langley Ordinary as his divisional headquarters.  Today, the area around Georgetown Pike and Chain Bridge Road in Langley is designated as the Langley Fork Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

A couple years ago, I wrote a walking tour for those interested in seeing the Civil War-related sites in Langley, which is part of present-day McLean.  The on-line Historical Marker Database indicated that a Langley Fork state marker was located along Georgetown Pike next to the village. I searched for that marker in vain when I was doing on-the-ground research for the tour and concluded that it must have been removed.  I am glad to report that the marker is now re-installed along the pike.  The state also built a pull-off area next to the marker, complete with twenty-two parking spots. The money came from a $300,000 federal transportation grant, which was administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation.  Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Park Authority each chipped in $75,000 for the project.  The full story can be found here, in the McLean Connection.

The newly re-installed Langley Fork historical marker, which was originally placed along Georgetown Pike in 1998.
A view of the marker and pull-off, looking west.  The Georgetown Pike runs to the left of the photograph.  Langley Fork is located at the top of the distant hill.  The pull-off will be landscaped once the weather turns warmer.
The pull-off will make viewing the marker a little easier, but be warned that competition for those new spots will be fierce.  Clemyjontri, the ever-popular children's park, is right across the street, and parents frequently experience a shortage of parking spaces there on weekends.  Families with eager youngsters are likely to take the spots at the pull-off, so it is probably best to come early on weekends, or during a weekday.  (In fact, the parking lot has a lot more to do with Clemyjontri than heritage tourism.)  The pull-off is also a good place to leave your car if you want to walk around the historic district.  And, of course, I view the location as the perfect spot to install a new marker on Camp Pierpont and the Pennsylvania Reserves!


This Monday I submitted an update to the Historical Marker Database indicating the new pull-off.  Click here to see the entry, including some photographs of the various buildings in Langley.


Anonymous said...

Trust me, those paved parking spots were not built for the historical marker, important as it is. They were built specifically for the overflow for Clemyjontri.

Any parent who has tried to find a spot there after 9AM on a Saturday knows what I'm talking about.

Great site as always.

Ron Baumgarten said...

I agree that the park was a major motivating factor, although at least visitors looking for history can find a spot or two during the off-season, on a weekday, or at 8 am on a Saturday. As a parent who also has looked for spots at Clemyjontri, I've been there too! Good thing the county opted on 22 as opposed to the original 5 spots. Thanks for reading.