Hop on the bus and come along for the ride. We make stops along the way at historic mansions, churches and towns throughout Northern Virginia. You can get off and stay awhile at any location. We will circle back around to pick you up when you are done. Your ticket is good forever. If you can't see them all today, don't worry, they will be here tomorrow and for centuries to come.
We will start today with the Northern Virginia Historic Churches Tour. These churches are small gems found throughout Fairfax Station, and Lorton. They aren't the large and lavish cathedrals that you find in Europe but they have charm and loads of local history.
Our first stop on the tour is the "Mother Church of Northern Virginia" formally called Pohick Church. This church is still an active Episcopal Church in Lorton Virginia. First established in 1732 the church outgrew its original building and so three famous Virginian's, George Washington and his peers, George Mason and George William Fairfax (George was obviously the name of the time) supervised the construction of a new larger brick church. Finished just before the start of the Revolutionary War the church was the first brick church constructed in the area and even though it survived the Revolutionary War the Civil War brought destruction to the interior of the church. Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners the church under went restoration beginning in 1874 and today stands as a testament to the history of the area.
Take a few minutes and look around and then when you are ready jump back on the bus for a quick run down the road to Cranford Methodist Church.
The site where Cranford Methodist Church now stands is the site of the original Pohick Church. See the connection to the first stop on the tour? After the original church was abandoned it fell into disrepair and the Methodist Church acquired the land. In 1857 they built what was then called Lewis Chapel. As the congregation grew they original chapel and in 1900 constructed the new white clapboard church on the same property. However Lewis Chapel and Cranford Methodist Church were on the same property but not connected. In 1953 the chapel was moved and the two were joined together into one church and education annex. As you walk around the church grounds you will find a wide walkway of brick thought to be from bricks from the Pohick Church less than a mile up the road.
If you step back on the bus we will make one more stop today on our tour before we head for lunch at one of the bus drivers favorite "dives." As we leave Cranford Methodist Church and head towards Fairfax Station you may want to take a moment and look through your tour book to read a little bit about Lorton and how the area has undergone a major change in the last 10 years. Previously the site of a federal prison complex, Lorton is an area that thousands call home and where a Lorton Workhouse Arts Center will occupy old prison buildings.
Now we are at our final stop for today the lovely St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax Station built between 1858-1860. How many of you have heard of Clara Barton? During the Civil War the church was used as a field hospital for casualties of the war and Clara Barton was one of the nurses working in the hospital. It is said that while she served in the field hospital at St Mary of Sorrows she wrote the plan that would later become the Red Cross. Except for the church bell the church is built entirely of lumber taken from the forests that used to surround the area. Today the church is a popular place for weddings and masses and is a landmark in Fairfax Station.
Now who is hungry? Great we are going to stop at one of our local popular "dives" Five Guys for some of the best hamburgers and fries you could ask for.
Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hold on to your ticket. We will be continuing the tour after we all have a little rest.
©2008 Cindy Jones. All rights reserved
Original Photos ©2008 Cindy Jones