Tysons, VA

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Wednesday (Jan. 6)

  • Wolf Trap Virtual Job Fair (Online) — 4-6 p.m. — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will hold a virtual job fair for people who might be interested in its open usher and maintenance positions for the 2021 performance season. Register for the webinar in advance with this link.
  • McLean Police District Town Hall (Online) — 5 p.m. — The McLean District Police Station will hold a virtual town hall to discuss the Fairfax County Police Department’s new data dashboard, which provides information on arrests, citations, and department policies. The meeting can be accessed through this Zoom link, and questions can be sent to [email protected]
  • General Assembly Town Hall (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — State Sen. Dick Saslaw and Del. Marcus Simon will give a preview of what to expect from the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming 2021 session, which will convene on Jan. 13. Questions and comments can be submitted in advance through this link, and a link to the Zoom chat can be found on the City of Falls Church website.
  • Hunter Mill COVID-19 Town Hall (Online) — 7 p.m. — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting a virtual town hall with Fairfax County Health Department Director Gloria Addo-Ayensu to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and local vaccine distribution plans. Questions should be sent in advance to [email protected] with “Jan 6. Town Hall” in the subject line. The meeting can be accessed through WebEx and will be streamed on YouTube.

Thursday (Jan. 7)

  • The New Yorker Discussion Group (Online) — 2-3 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library hosts a talk about Joshua Rothman’s article “What If You Could Do It All Over?” from the December 2020 issue of The New Yorker. Contact Pete Sullivan at [email protected] for the Zoom invite or more information.
  • A Song and a Slice: Civic Duty — 8 p.m. at Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave. E) — The D.C.-native rock band Civic Duty will perform at Jammin’ Java in Vienna. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with tickets costing $7 for general admission or $10 for the lobby. Customers are asked to adhere to social distancing protocols and wear masks when not consuming food or drinks.

Friday (Jan. 8)

  • Teen Game Night — 7-9 p.m. at the Old Firehouse (1440 Chain Bridge Rd.) — Teens can come to the Old Firehouse Center in McLean to play board and party games with chances to win prizes. Admission is $20 for McLean Community Center district residents and $25 for everyone else. MCC recommends pre-registering by contacting the OFC at 703-448-8336 or online.

Saturday (Jan. 9)

  • More to the Movement (Online) — 10 a.m. — Library of Congress American women’s history specialist Elizabeth A. Novara will give a presentation on women of color in the suffrage movement to the McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for its January meeting. All are invited. Email AAUW McLean for the Zoom link.

Photo via Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts/Facebook

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met with the Fairfax County History Commission on Tuesday (Dec. 8) to discuss Confederacy-associated street and place names across the county.

This project began over the summer when the board directed the commission to create an inventory of places and structures within the county that have ties to the Confederacy after Black Lives Matter protests spread around the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd.

The resulting report identified more than 26,000 streets and places, leading the board to narrow its focus to 650 well-known Confederate officers and locally-known Confederates. After researching those names, the Commission found 150 assets to have confirmed Confederacy-associated names, according to the presentation by Anne Stuntz, the chairwoman of the history commission.

Hunter Mill District has four identified sites: the Lee Manor Subdivision, Fort Lee Street, Mosby’s Landing Condominium Complex, and Wade Hampton Drive.

Providence District encompasses 44 sites, the most of the county’s nine magisterial districts. The list includes Lee Highway, Pender Drive, Oak Marr Park, and the Stonewall Manor subdivision.

The commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors create a public dialogue on the issue through public meetings and community gatherings before deliberating and taking definitive action on the Confederate names. The commission also recommended archiving the extensive project research in the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadney said that the Commonwealth Transportation Board would require public input and a formal request from the Board of Supervisors if the county decides to petition to change the name of Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway.

In response to the Confederate names project, the history commission is collaborating with local African American organizations, including religious, social, and community groups, on a 2021 initiative to compile research materials on African American communities in Fairfax County.

The county supervisors shared their appreciation for the history commission’s extensive and intricate research. They also mostly agreed that the first priority should be renaming highways, and from there, they could start a community process for renaming secondary and neighborhood streets.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk expressed concern regarding the history of his district’s name.

“I was hoping that there’d be something more definitive about Lee District, in terms of where its name originated, but it appears that we still have the same set of ambiguity,” Lusk said. “We will have to have a community conversation about this name of this district.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity warned against rushing into the name change process in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the need for “robust community participation” before moving forward.

Image via the Fairfax County History Commission

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The results of a recent survey on whether to rename Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School triggered surprise, anger, and tears during a Falls Church City Public Schools School Board meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 17).

A majority of respondents — 56% overall — support keeping the names Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, two key historical figures from Virginia who publicly supported an end to slavery, while privately enslaving Black people. For George Mason, 26% support a name change, and for Thomas Jefferson, that population is 23%. The rest had no opinion.

K12 Insight, a consultant hired by the school board, surveyed parents, staff members, students in grades 6-12, and community members from Oct. 14 to 28 to gauge whether they want to see new names for the schools. For both schools, three-quarters of the community members who responded wanted to keep the names, and the margins were smaller for parents, students, and staff.

The discussion to rename the schools began on June 30. With the survey results back, school board members have scheduled a vote on whether to move forward with the name changes for Dec. 8.

Those who support changing the names cited the fact that the men participated in slavery and urged the school to embrace social change and support students who may feel marginalized.

Those who voted to keep the names responded that slavery was a norm at the time that should not disqualify these men from being honored.

School Board member Lawrence Webb, the only Black person on the board, said during a work session on Tuesday that he was surprised by the results of the survey.

“There are a lot of folks who are progressive and supportive of community relations,” he said. “I’m sort of bothered by how folks have couched this conversation of ‘This is something that was acceptable at the time.'”

Webb disagreed with those who characterized a school name change as a waste of resources. The amount of money would be “nominal,” and for George Mason, the timing would coincide with an ongoing project to build a brand new high school.

According to FCCPS, renaming George Mason would cost an estimated $96,760, and renaming Thomas Jefferson would cost around $13,500. The K12 Insight survey cost $8,500. Read More

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Mosby’s Raiders led a guerrilla campaign against Union supply and communications lines throughout Northern Virginia during the Civil War. Today, Mosby Woods Elementary School honors the group’s commander, John S. Mosby, but that could change.

A public hearing on potentially renaming Mosby Woods Elementary School is scheduled for the Wednesday, Oct. 7, school board meeting. The change was proposed by Providence School Board representative Karl Frisch and at-large member Karen Keys-Gamarra.

Like countless other discussions about renaming or removing honors to the Confederacy or Confederate soldiers, there’s been vocal support and opposition to the change. Feedback emailed to the School Board fell along the now-familiar arguments that the outdated name does not represent diversity of the school district, or that Confederate leaders should be judged by contemporary rather than modern standards.

“As the parent of a 5th grader who has been at Mosby Woods since kindergarten, I strongly support changing the name,” one anonymous parent said in an email to the School Board. “We are long overdue to remove honorifics for those who fought to separate and destroy our nation.”

Potential name replacements included Mosaic Elementary School — in relation to the nearby Mosaic District — or renaming the school to honor recently deceased Chadwick Boseman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the less-recently deceased Alexander Hamilton.

Others made the case that Mosby was less of a cut-and-dry case, as Mosby himself wasn’t a dyed-in-the-wool secessionist the way Confederates like Jubal Early were.

“I understand and support the current movement to remove Confederate monuments, memorials, and public buildings named for Confederate leaders,” the emailer wrote. “However, I would note that the case of John Mosby is not as clear-cut as many of the others, and I would urge people to read up on this person before jumping to a conclusion. John Mosby was against slavery and secession. Although he personally opposed the Confederacy’s positions, he joined the war out of a sense of patriotism and loyalty to the state of Virginia.”

Despite Mosby’s recorded opposition to slavery, he did own a slave during the war. Mosby joined President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration in the years after the war and became a vocal opponent to the Lost Cause mythos.

If the change is approved, the Superintendent will return with a recommendation for a new name. Comments on the name change can be emailed to [email protected]

Image via FCPS

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A lone brick house at the northern entrance to Tysons since the 1940s could soon become a new trio of homes.

The house, visible to anyone traveling south into Tysons on Leesburg Pike, will be demolished with three new single-family houses built on the site. The property sits directly across Jarrett Valley Drive from the McLean Islamic Center and has belonged to the same family over several generations — long predating the surrounding Carrington neighborhood built in 2000.

The permit for rezoning was reviewed at a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday) due to the new houses’ proximity to the nearby roads. Part of the development plan includes a sound wall separating the homes from the nearby roads to screen some of the traffic noise.

There were no public speakers on the item, except one particularly loud cat who was not listed as a public speaker. The new development was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Photo via Google Maps, aerial photography via Fairfax County

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In contrast to Tysons, where the skyline is evolving, McLean is more well-known for its established neighborhoods that include historic mansions and estates.

Given McLean’s proximity to the nation’s capital, there have been several noteworthy community members who decided to take up residency at these prominent homes.

According to various sites, like the Washington Post, many of the D.C. area’s most expensive properties are located in McLean. The average home in McLean is around a million dollars, according to Zillow.

The Merrywood mansion, built-in 1919, is known as Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home and is valued at around $50 million today.

The home was designed by the same architect that was responsible for the White House, according to Curbed. Amenities includes nine bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms, a pool, an elevator, a library and a grand fireplace.

Another nearby property which was owned by the Kennedy family is Hickory Hill. Though it is usually given more historical merit than anything else, according to Architectural Digest, its origins are thought to date back to around 1870.

While he doesn’t own the home, former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden also rents a multi-million dollar mansion in the McLean area.

Per month, the property costs the Biden family around $20,000, Reuters reported, adding that the property was purchased for $4.25 million in 2016.

According to the Fairfax County Times, two of Virginia’s most expensive homes can be found in McLean — one of which is found at 801 Turkey Run Road. The property is valued at a little under $10 million, according to Zillow. It is unclear if the home has any historical or noteworthy ties.

On the upper end of private properties, for a price tag of $75 million, a home hidden behind clever landscaping at 409 Chain Bridge Road, includes 12 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms, according to Homes of the Rich.

The property — called The Falls — was built in 2000 by AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey. features of the property include wine cellars, an outdoor swimming pool, a private tennis court and ample living space. A guest home adjacent to the house was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

At 1173 Dolley Madison Blvd, sits another home worth over $5 million, according to Zillo. The six-bedroom, 10-bathroom house sits on just over an acre of land but offers sweeping stairways, bright windows and even a personal movie theatre.

During holidays and other times of the year, groups like the McLean Woman’s Club offer tours of some of the estates to raise money for charity but the group only shows off a few of McLean’s larger properties. There is no guarantee that these will be homes of prominent figures, though.

Catherine Douglas Moran contributed to this report. 

Photo via Woman’s Club of McLean/Facebook

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The 1960s are making a comeback at Historic Vienna’s upcoming time-traveling exhibit.

People can check out the exhibit starting Sunday (March 1). Historic Vienna is set to host a grand opening celebration a week later, on March 8 from 2-4 p.m., according to the website.

The exhibit will be located at the Freeman Store & Museum (131 Church Street NE) and will include a U-2 pilot suit worn by Lt. Col. Sam Crouse, vintage toys and movie posters from films such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” the event page said.

More serious topics such as segregation, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement will also be addressed at the museum, according to the website.

“HVI encourages visitors to add a personal — and local — touch to the exhibit by sharing their story,” the webpage said, adding that people will be able to post on a message board about their own experiences surrounding the decade.

Typically, the Freeman Store & Museum is open from noon to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday.

Photo via Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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Historians from Herndon and Vienna are working together on a project that would allow telegraph messages to be sent back and forth between the towns.

As the Herndon Depot Museum prepares to debut its new telegraph exhibit on March 1, they are hoping to bring Historic Vienna on board as well, according to Barbara Glakas, a Herndon Historical Society spokesperson, told Reston Now.

Though Herndon is on schedule to open up its public exhibit, Anne Stuntz with Historic Vienna said Vienna is not as far along with the plans, a town spokesperson said.

The Herndon exhibit will feature one working telegraph machine and antique telegraph parts, such as a telegraph key and a telegraph sounder. Visitors will also be able to learn how the code worked and try it out for themselves, according to Glakas.

It is unclear when the Vienna telegraph machine will be set up or if the display will resemble that of the Herndon exhibit.

Photo via Historic Vienna/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Wednesday (Feb. 19)

Thursday (Feb. 20)

  • b8ta Grand Opening — 7 to 9 p.m. at b8ta Tysons Corner (8086 Tysons Corner Center) —  A new store in Tysons Corner Center offers people the change to celebrate b8ta’s grand opening with champagne and appetizers. This event is free but RSVP is suggested.
  • WIT Connect — 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Valo Park Drive (7950 Jones Branch Drive) — This event from Women in Technology will allow people to learn about how technology is changing healthcare. Networking begins at 6 p.m. and the conference starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at $45.

Friday (Feb. 21)

  • Storytime and Crafts with Local Children’s Author, Shelby! — 10 to 10:30 a.m. at Famille Cafe (700A W. Broad Street) — Families and kids can come and meet Shelby Hoefling, the author of recently published “Grandma’s in the Phone!” After the meet and greet, kids will be able to make crafts as well.

Saturday (Feb. 22)

  • Black History Forum — 2 p.m. at Justice High School (3301 Peace Valley Lane) —  This event will feature Alexandria’s first African-American Poet Laureate, KaNikki Jakarta. People will also be able to watch a trivia competition highlighting African-American Achievements in history, according to the website.

Sunday (Feb. 23)

  • Live Music with Blue Book Value — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Famille Cafe (700A W. Broad Street) — This NoVA band is known for their rock n’ roll, according to the event listing. They’ll be hosting a free performance for people hoping to enjoy some live entertainment.
  • Jazz Worship & Pancake Brunch — 10 a.m. Lewinsville Presbyterian Church (1724 Chain Bridge Road) — Everyone, regardless of church affiliation, is welcome to enjoy Jazz Worship Service and a Shrove Pancake Brunch. Breakfast quiches, casseroles and crepes will also be served.

Photo via Famille Cafe/Facebook

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People will have the chance to take a sneak peek at historic and luxurious homes around McLean in a few days.

The Woman’s Club of McLean is hosting its annual Holiday Home Tour with several properties near Ballantrae Farm this Thursday (Dec. 5). Tours will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., starting at the Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd).

This year’s event will highlight a roughly six-acre estate, along with two nearby homes.

The main estate was built in 1925 and has been renovated since. The surrounding grounds feature tennis courts, a swimming pool, a soccer field and a treehouse, according to a press release, which added that guests will also be able to see the Little Ballantrae farmhouse located on the property.

The two other homes included with the tour sit on Benjamin Street and were built around 2010.

The homes provide an example of “casual elegance with a nod to traditional southern living,” the owner said.

The yard attached to the properties also qualifies as a National Wildlife Sanctuary, according to a press release.

After guests tour the homes, they can return to the church to shop from a selection of local holiday vendors featuring crafts, freshly baked goods and holiday decorations.

Tickets cost $30 online and in advance or $35 a the door. If people want to purchase tickets in person beforehand, they can visit Mesmeralda’s (1339 Chain Bridge Road), Karin’s Florist (527 E. Maple Ave) or Great Dogs of Great Falls (9859 Old Georgetown Pike). All proceeds will benefit local charities and the Woman’s Club of McLean.

A shuttle to the homes is included in the ticket price for admission.

Photos via Woman’s Club of McLean

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