3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030
Public Visitation Hours:
NEW HOURS BEGINNING JAN. 2014: 10am to 3pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Guided Tours at 1 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sundays, Mondays. FREE.
Take a trip back in time to 19th-century Virginia in the heart of metropolitan Washington. The 12-acre site features historic buildings and beautiful vistas that transport visitors to Fairfax of yesteryear. The modern Civil War Interpretive Center furthers the Civil War interpretation through its gallery and program space. The site is used for educational tours and programs, lectures by prominent scholars, Civil War living history events, and demonstrations.
The Historic Blenheim home is a central-hall plan brick farmhouse built by Albert Willcoxon (c. 1859) just prior to the Civil War (1861-65). It is nationally significant for the more than 120 signatures, art, games, thoughts, and poetry left on the house walls by Union soldiers during their occupation of the Fairfax Court House area in 1862-63. The house contains one of the most voluminous and best-preserved examples of Civil War inscriptions in the nation, a "diary on walls" providing insight into typical soldier life during the Civil War as well as the effect of the war on local residents such as the Willcoxon family. House inscriptions and pictographs are also reproduced and discussed in detail in the replica attic with full-scale images in the Civil War Interpretive Center. The house is open for tours of the first floor at 1 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Historic Blenheim is a member of the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti trail. Please click here to download a brochure.
The Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim further interprets the site's history and the Civil War in the greater Fairfax area. It features an exhibition gallery with illustrated timeline of Civil War events, temporary displays and exhibits, and the replica of the house's graffiti filled attic attic. The Assembly Hall accommodates 90 people and hosts monthly Civil War Programs. The gift shop stocks books, original signed art prints, children's toys and games, replica items, and souvenirs related to the Civil War and Fairfax history. The Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim is available for rental for private use; for information, call 703.385.7858 or visit the Parks and Recreation Blenheim Reservation page.
Also on the grounds is Grandma's Cottage, which dates to c. 1840. It was occupied for much of its history by Margaret Conn Willcoxon Farr, the sister of Albert Willcoxon, owner of the Willcoxon farm (later named "Blenheim"). Margaret Farr is buried in the Blenheim cemetery along with her husband, brother, parents, and grandmother. The cottage is important for its combination of log-wall construction and rare hewn timber framing with brick infill between the studs in the oldest portion of the house. The 1867 addition is a log cabin. It has been moved twice: in 1962 from its original location at the corner of Old Lee Highway and Route 236/Main Street to Old Lee Highway near Layton Hall Drive, from which it was moved to the Blenheim estate in 2001. Click here for video of its most recent move in 2001.
Volunteers are needed and welcome. Download Volunteer Application form here. Volunteer Application. Next volunteer training session is January 11--call Susan Gray 703 385-8415.