George F.M. Walters built the Ordinary in 1850, or at some point between 1856-61, depending on the source. Gen. George A. McCall, head of the Pennsylvania Reserves, established his divisional headquarters there in October 1861. After McCall left Langley with the Reserves in March 1862, the Union Army took over the building for use as a hospital.
Owner Doug DeLuca of Federal Home Co., and his business partner, Matt Bronczek, helped to save the Langley Ordinary from almost certain destruction. At the time that Doug bought the property, the structure was riddled with mold and water damage. Three days before closing in 2011, two large trees fell on the house and crashed through the attic and second floor ceiling. (See here.) Doug and Matt worked tirelessly to restore and renovate the house. Thanks to their efforts, the Langley Ordinary survives.
|The restored Langley Ordinary sits along Georgetown Pike (VA-193) near the intersection with Chain Bridge Rd. The property, along with a few others, forms part of the Langley Fork Historic District in McLean, Virginia.|
Keith asked if I would like to attend the event at the Ordinary with his reenactment group. I gladly accepted his invitation, and on Saturday afternoon Keith dropped off a uniform for me. Dressed as an artillery corporal (a promotion already?), I headed off to the Langley Ordinary to help with the living history side of the event. This was my first time doing any type of reenacting, unless you count those summer days as a kid when I ran around with plastic guns playing war.
|A view from the front porch of the Ordinary. As I stood here, I imagined the Union officers and enlisted men who once walked across this very spot over 150 years ago.|
|The stairwell at the Langley Ordinary. Doug preserved much of the original flooring throughout the house.|
|A view of the attic, which likely served as sick ward for Union soldiers from nearby posts.|
|Acting as the No. 5 man on the gun crew, I advance the round to the No. 2 man in preparation for firing.|
|The crew fires the replica 10-pounder Parrott. Langley had not heard such sounds for well over 150 years. All told, the crew fired four blank rounds for the benefit of the guests at Doug's event.|
|The gun crew poses in front of Langley Ordinary. I am standing to the far left in the first row. Keith Foote is just to my left.|
Sources & Notes
Harry English, "The Langley Ordinary," Echoes of History, Vol. 1-5, 1970 (on file with author); Scott Sowers, "Restoring ‘Langley Ordinary’ a project of passion for builder Doug DeLuca," Washington Post, June 27, 2013; Scott Trompeter, "Local Builders Restore, Modernize Antebellum Langley Ordinary," Inside NOVA, May 1, 2013.
Doug has put the Langley Ordinary up for sale. Information about purchasing the property can be found here.
Keith has written a history of Cooper's Battery entitled "Mark the Lines of Your Weary Marches." A signed copy can be purchased for $30 plus shipping. Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 570-975-5034.