Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A "New" Bookstore for History Enthusiasts

Last fall the Old Book Company of McLean closed its doors. As an avid bibliophile, I was saddened to see this top-notch, independent used book store go out of business. I spent many Saturday afternoons browsing through the Civil War collection there. And owner Phil Hanson even helped me to assess the edition and value of a soldier's memoir I had purchased on-line. Lucky for us, Phil has taken his talents and gone to work with the Claude Moore Colonial Farm's Book Shop in McLean, Virginia.

A few weekends ago I dropped by the store, which is hidden at the end of Colonial Farm Road beyond the entrance to the historic site. (I was tempted to keep the location a secret all to myself, but I promised that I would spread the word!) Phil helped to renovate and re-organize the shop, and he even moved some of his inventory there. Endless shelves of U.S. history books line the walls. Offerings include numerous antebellum, Civil War, and 19th century Indian War volumes. The day I visited, I bought a 1947 first edition of Roy Meredith's The Face of Robert E. Lee. Book lovers will also find written works on any other topic imaginable.

Behind the front desk sit collectible and antique editions.
Looking at the Civil War section. I have a feeling I will be spending some time here.

The shop promises to become a bit of a destination if all goes well. Guests will find plenty of room to walk around and browse, or just sit and peruse a book from the shelves. Coffee is available for those who prefer to sip on a cup of Joe while looking. Phil also tells me that special events are planned for the future, and I'll be sure to make the details available on the blog's Facebook page. In a day when book stores are disappearing as fast as people are converting to e-readers, it is comforting to find such a special place for people who still appreciate their books the old fashioned way. The next time you are in the McLean area, I'd urge you to pay the shop a visit. You won't be disappointed.


Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Address: 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA (really at the end of Colonial Farm Road near CIA HQ)

The store accepts books in exchange for tax deductions. No store credits.


Diane said...

As to your comment about bookstores disappearing, some are hanging on despite the ereaders. Perhaps if you would look beyond McLean, you just may find some bookstores still hanging on in Alexandria. Book Bank, Already Read Used Books, and ReReads still exist. You should take the time to consider promoting them also on your blog. Book Bank market is collectable books, Already Read has a good collection of military books, and ReReads carries a nice general selection.
Best regards, Diane, Already Read Used Books, 2501 Duke Street Alexandria, VA

Ron Baumgarten said...

Thanks for the additional information. No slight intended -- I am always looking for new used bookstores, whether in my backyard or not. I had been frequenting the Old Book Co. for several years, and I was happy to discover the connection to the Claude Moore store.

Unknown said...

Are you still in touch with Phil Hanson ?

Ron Baumgarten said...

Funny you should ask, as I was just thinking about what happened to him the other day. Unfortunately, the Claude Moore Farm is closed down and the bookstore exists no longer. I never had a chance to talk to Phil before the store was closed. Good luck in your search!