Cherry Hill Newsletter Late Spring/Summer 2022
President’s Letter It takes a tremendous amount of work to ensure that Cherry Hill Farmhouse can continue to offer innovative community activities, preserve and protect the integrity of the Farm property, and provide relevant educational programs about life in this area of Virginia in the mid-19th century around the time of the Civil War. We would like to specifically thank several individuals for their recent efforts and, of course, we recognize all of our new and longserving volunteers for the generous contribution of their time and talents.
Signs of Spring around Falls Church
The board renewed its trust in the current board by having Maureen Budetti continue as president. Diane Morse will now carry the title of vice-president but will still perform as copresident. Deane Dierksen is again our treasurer and Jennifer DeVignier is our secretary. We welcome new board members Joanne Caramanica and Ron Anzalone. We are glad to have their expertise and appreciate their ideas, their input on important issues, and their volunteering for house tours. A special thanks to Jennifer DeVignier and her husband, Greg Awad, who also shepherds barn activities, for their help in coordinating the early morning deliveries from the caterer of our teas. This is not always an easy task! Without our volunteers, we could not present these very special events! Katharine Stewart headed the effort to get out the Friends’ 2022 request for membership renewal and updated information from life members. The response was terrific! We even heard from out-of-state members. Thanks for your continued efforts in this multi-stepped process and also for serving as our representative to the Falls Church Arts and Humanities Council. Ruth Rodgers, as she has done many times in the past, coordinated the Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day teas this spring. We appreciate that she is always well-organized and excellent at coping with unexpected situations. AND thanks to Kaye Oman for her steadfast willingness to provide historical context! We look forward to a busy summer schedule, beginning with an open house during the Falls Church Memorial Day festival. The farmhouse and barn are open on Saturday mornings and Corey Price, our coordinator, will be holding several camps which will provide a mid-19th century experience for campers, who we hope will, as they have in the past, become life-long supporters of Cherry Hill. We are aware of new concern about a Covid resurgence and we will continue our activities with all due caution. Again, we thank our volunteers. We certainly realize their value when they are missing. Our get well wishes and hopes for speedy recoveries to Deanne Dierksen, Gail Lanouette, Rosemary Ziskind, and Mike Volpe. Look for photos of volunteers and their activities throughout this newsletter.
Maureen Budetti, President
The Wall of Spies Do you love true tales of spies and intrigue? Check out the Wall of Spies, a virtual experience offered by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. Since the NCSC museum is closed to the public, they have slowly been bringing the museum online for all to see. Its newest exhibit focuses on Confederate spies during the Civil War. Link: Wall of Spies exhibit highlights Confederate spies' misdeeds - The Washington Post
Lincoln Memorial Turns 100 Dedicated on May 30, 1922, construction of the Lincoln Memorial had begun in 1914. Lincoln Memorial Commission president William H. Taft – by then Chief Justice of the United States – dedicated the Memorial and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it on behalf of the American people. Lincoln's only surviving son, 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, attended the dedication.
Places to go, things to do! In August, the Victorian Society is hosting an event at the CH farmhouse that FoCH members may find interesting.
An Afternoon with Mary Todd Lincoln Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 pm
Answers on page 7 Gather in the parlor of historic Cherry Hill Farmhouse where Phyllis Verhalen will portray Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady of the United States from 1861 - 1865. Mary was from a large and wealthy Kentucky family. An educated woman and early feminist, she led a sadly tragic life. She will let you know how things really were in her life and correct misconceptions that historical renderings perpetuated. Please contact Leann Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this event. Cost is $5.
Five Centuries of Art about the African Diaspora On exhibit until July 17, the National Gallery of Art’s “Afro-Atlantic Histories” reflects the work of many artists, recent and long past. In addition to the art itself, the exhibit offers social context to this difficult history. Curator Kanitra Fletcher organized the touring exhibition from a larger show originating in Brazil. For more information and images of the art, go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/artsentertainment/2022/04/14/ national-galleryafro-atlantic-histories/
Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Next time you are in Washington, DC you might want to walk the "Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail.” The route and site-specific information are provided along the way. Additional information and virtual tours can be found at https://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/821. “The Civil War (1861-1865) transformed Washington, DC from a muddy backwater to a center of national power. Ever since, the city has been at the heart of the continuing struggle to realize fully the ideals for which the war was fought. The 25 signs that mark this trail follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Frederic Douglass, and others, famous and humble, who shaped a nation and its capital city while living and working in historic downtown DC. [This] is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour consists of three distinct loops: West, Central and East. Each one-mile loop offers about an hour of gentle exercise.” Points along the Tour include: • A former boarding house frequented by the Lincoln conspirators • Clara Barton’s home and office • A church used as a hospital during the Civil War • The city's oldest synagogue, now a museum of Jewish history • The hotel where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put the finishing touches on his "I Have a Dream" speech • The alley down which John Wilkes Booth fled after shooting President Lincoln
Famous Women of the Civil War Era Edmonia Lewis In January 2022, the United States Post Office issued the 45th stamp in its Black Heritage series, honoring Mary Edmonia Lewis. Edmonia Lewis challenged social barriers and assumptions about women and artists in mid-19th century America. Mary Edmonia Lewis, also known by her Native American name "Wildfire," was an American sculptor of mixed African-American and Native American heritage. Born free in New York in 1844, she spent most of her professional life in Rome, Italy, finding more acceptance and opportunity there. Her work gained attention in the United States during the Civil War. Little is known about Edmonia’s early life. She gave 1842, 1844, and 1854 as her birth year. Both of her parents died before she was nine, so she was raised by two maternal aunts. By the time she reached college age, her half-brother Samuel had made a fortune in the California gold rush and provided sufficient support for her to pursue her interests. In 1862, she entered what is now Oberlin College, one of the first U.S. higher-learning institutions to admit women. She began to study art but left after experiencing prejudice and physical attacks. She moved to Boston in 1864, where she met abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass. She carved marble sculptures in the neoclassical style. One of her most famous works is The Death of Cleopatra. Exhibited in 1876, it generated both shock and acclaim for its realism. The 3,000 pound sculpture was lost for almost a century before turning up in the storage area of a shopping mall near Chicago. It is now in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Another popular work was her earlier 1867 sculpture called Forever Free, the title taken from President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Forever Free is a “celebration of black liberation, salvation, and redemption, and represents the emancipation of African-American slaves.” This piece is held by Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. By the late 1880s, neoclassicism had declined in popularity. She died in 1907 in relative obscurity and is buried in London. At the end of the 19th century, she was the only Black woman artist who had been part of and respectfully recognized by the American mainstream art community.
Mantel in the Parlor If you walk into the parlor at Cherry Hill Farmhouse, you can’t miss the fireplace mantel. While it looks like it’s made of marble, it is actually wood painted to appear to be marble. This technique, faux finishing, has a history dating to the time of Pompeii. During the 19th century, it was widely used in Victorian homes and buildings to highlight certain architectural features. Using diluted opaque paint and transparent glazes applied by brush, feathers, leathers and rags produced a finish that could pass for real stone. Expert artists/decorators could earn substantial revenue and status through commissions from wealthy patrons. While there is no evidence that the Blaisdell family faux finished the Cherry Hill mantel, we know that an earlier owner painted the hall a bright peacock blue and faux finished some of the doors in a wood grain pattern. Reflecting on this in 1971, Tony Wrenn, a historical consultant to Cherry Hill, thought the work might have been done to make the house more marketable. For more information about the mantels in the Farmhouse, see the Winter 2022 issue of the Cherry Hill newsletter.
Cherry Hill Dining Room Wallpaper The wallpaper in the dining room of Cherry Hill is a documented reproduction of a pattern popular in the mid-19th century. An original remnant of similar paper was found in the Winchester, VA home owned by Lt. Colonel Lewis T. Moore of the Fourth Virginia Volunteers during the Civil War. The wallpaper in the now restored Moore home has a white background, not the green background seen at Cherry Hill. Before electricity, metallic elements in such wallpaper would have provided some reflective light in rooms in which it was used. The wallpaper pattern is “Frost Grape” and the border near the ceiling in Cherry Hill is “Boggs House.” It was manufactured for Cherry Hill by Mt. Diablo Handprints, Inc., a company that specialized in antique patterns. The wallpaper was hung in Cherry Hill in the summer of 1995, thanks to the efforts of Mary Madeline King. It is very interesting that during a period in the Civil War, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson had his headquarters in the Moore home. In a letter, Jackson described the wallpaper to his wife. “The walls are papered with elegant gilt paper. I don’t remember to have ever seen more beautiful papering…If I only had my little woman here, the room would be set off.” Additional photos of the CH wallpaper can be seen on pages 5 and 7. For more information on Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters to go: https://winchesterhistory.org/stonewall-jacksons-headquarters/
Wallpaper in Lt. Moore’s home
Cherry Hill dining room wallpaper
Detail of dining room wallpaper
Thomas Jefferson Traveled the Roads of Falls Church Dolley Madison was not the only famous person to pass through Falls Church in the 1800s. From 1801-1809 Thomas Jefferson traveled through our area on his way back and forth between the Capitol and Monticello. He took the Georgetown Ferry across the Potomac. He then traveled by carriage up the Georgetown Road (now Wilson Blvd.) to where it intersected with the Alexandria Road (now Leesburg Pike). Today this intersection is known as Seven Corners. Jefferson noted that a good blacksmith shop sat at these crossroads. If one needed to “feed and refresh” Jefferson recommended taking a slight detour to Col. Wren’s tavern in Falls Church. From the tavern, Jefferson returned to the crossroads and traveled down what is now Sleepy Hollow Road. Jefferson searched for the shortest route to what is now Gallows Road. He traveled on both dirt roads and privately owned lanes. He described the first twelve miles of his journey home as “hilly, stumpy and stony.” Jefferson often had to get out of his carriage. With good weather he could make the journey from Washington to Monticello in four days. Today we have Google maps and Waze to help us find the best route. A trip to Monticello takes about two hours. Yet, it is amazing to think we still travel on roadways used by Jefferson over two hundred years ago. Information from “Thomas Jefferson’s Travels on Sleepy Hollow Road” written by Jim Flatness for the Sleepy Hollow Citizens Association.
Teatime Once Again After a long hiatus, the Friends were once again able to hold teas for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day this year. Thank you to the volunteers who make the teas possible, especially regular organizer Ruth Rodgers and Mrs. Blaisdell re-enactor, Kaye Oman.
Upcoming Events Time to Knit Knitting is a hobby that has remained popular throughout history. Join knitters of all levels as they work on their projects and learn from one another. This is not a teaching class. Meets every 3rd Tuesday of the month 10-11:30am Contact email@example.com to sign up
Lavender Wand Workshop Lavendar wands are a fun way to preserve lavender. Learn about the historical uses of lavender and why it was so popular during the Victorian era. Participants will have the opportunity to make lavender wands and enjoy some lavender tea and cookies. Children age 10 and up are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. Thursday, June 23 7:00 - 8:30pm Cost $10 Age 10 & Up Location: Cherry Hill Farmhouse
A Village Divided – The Blaisdells’ experience during the Civil War Falls Church was as divided as the nation in 1861. William Blaisdell and his family supported the Union. How did their decisions during the war affect their life? This talk will examine Cherry Hill Farm during the Civil War through the experiences of the Blaisdell family, their neighbors, and occupying armies. Saturday, June 18 2:00 – 3:00pm Cost $5 Ages 16 & Up
BLAST INTO THE PAST SUMMER CAMP
In period dress, Kaye Oman leads the historical presentation in the living room for masked and spaced guests.
During the summer months, Cherry Hill Farm offers four, week-long camps for children to learn about what life was like for the Blaisdell’s daughter, Annie, in mid-19th century Virginia. As they gain a better understanding of our local history, campers will learn about period farming, cooking, chores, clothing, crafts, and games, The camp runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday, June 27- Friday July 1 (12-15 years) Monday, July 25 - Friday July 29 (8-12 years) Monday, August 8 - Friday August 12 (8-12 years) Monday, August 22 - Friday August 26 (8-12 years)
Farm Day Enjoy a day of old-fashioned fun and activities for the whole family, including pony rides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making (bring your own long pants and a sleeved shirt), live music, tours of the farmhouse and barn, blacksmith demonstrations, and more! Free Admission, fee for activities. Saturday, October 8 10am – 3pm Cherry Hill Farmhouse & Park
Guests enjoy delicious food and tea in the dining room.
Update on Volunteers Corey Price, Cherry Hill Farmhouse Coordinator, has been busy this spring conducting training for house and barn volunteers. A number have already “shadowed” experienced docents. It’s so nice to have the added help and see new faces. Thank you!!
Volunteers Mike Volpe, Joanne Caramanica, and Marian Crisswell (trainee) are ready to open Cherry Hill Farmhouse to visitors for the new season.
Do You Know Them By Their Nicknames? Can you match these Civil War players to the nicknames by which they were known during the war? Hint: Some have more than one nickname!
Union Democrats opposed to the war
From the Cherry Hill files…
Looking Back with Appreciation! These board members and volunteers from years past were devoted to preserving Cherry Hill Farmhouse and barn. Our deepest thanks from those who follow your footsteps!
Union General George B. McClellan
Stonewall Little Phil Beast
Union General Ulysses S. Grant Union General Philip H. Sheridan
Fighting Joe Abraham Lincoln Slow Trot Young Napoleon
Union General Benjamin F. Butler
Rock of Chickamauga
Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson
Union General Joseph Hooker
Carol Ann Siciliano (barn), Michele Krowl (president), (unidentified man), George Burgess (barn), Betty Carver (secretary), Mary Madeline King (decorator)
Father Abraham Napoleon in Gray To learn more about the origin of these nicknames, go to: American Civil War Nicknames | Hankering for History Answers on back page.
Union General George H. Thomas Confederate General Pierre G. T. Beauregard
Betsy Johnson (president & Mrs. Blaisdale), Eugene Dolan, Peggy Dolan (Holiday Sale), Diane Morse (facing away from camera)
Cherry Hill Participates in the 2022 Falls Church Women’s History Walk Cherry Hill was once again a featured stop on the Falls Church Women’s History Walk. This year, several former Cherry Hill board members were featured along the route: Ruby Bolster, Merelyn Kaye, Audrey Kelly, Mary Madeline King, and Mildred Pope. The farmhouse was open to tours for interested walkers. Diane and Maureen may even have recruited a new volunteer or two! The Cherry Hill plaque was highlighted on the walk, but passers-by might have had some difficulty reading the information at its height. Here is what is written:
Cherry Hill Greek revival house believed built in 1845 by Wm. Harvey, who bought 66.5 acres (part of 1729 248- acre Trammell Grant). Outbuildings added about 1857. Name derived from trees lining lane from Leesburg Turnpike. In 1870, Joseph S. Riley bought the property. In 1875 he became a key figure in incorporating the town and establishing a public school. Nephew, poet James Whitcomb Riley, visited farm many times. House was occupied by descendants for nearly a century. City bought and restored the property. The Friends of Cherry Hill Foundation furnished house as an excellent example of a 19th century home of a middle-class farmer. City of Falls Church
Cherry Hill plaque ➢
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again…
Thanks again, volunteers! You bring the house and the history of the times to life.
Arranging tea treats is just one task of many for Ruth Rodgers’ busy hands during our holiday teas.
Joanne Caramonica and Jennifer DeVigier help make the teas a great success!
Diane Morse and Corey Price stand ready to greet the history trail walkers.
Become A FoCH Member! Joining is easy! Just fill out this membership form, enclose the appropriate payment amount and return to: Friends of Cherry Hill 312 Park Avenue Falls Church, VA 22046 Name: _____________________________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Phone: _______________________ Email: ___________________________________ Check one: _____ New Membership (1 year: $20 January 2022 – January 2023) _____ Renewed Membership (1 year: $20 January 2022 – January 2023) _____ Donation _____ Life Membership ($250, one-time payment) _____ I would like information about becoming a Cherry Hill Farm volunteer. Make checks payable to: Friends of Cherry Hill Save a stamp! You can read each issue of the Cherry Hill newsletter online at www.cherryhillfallschurch.org. If you prefer that format to receiving a paper copy, please check this box. Nickname Quiz: Honest Abe & Father Abraham = Abraham Lincoln; Unconditional Surrender = Grant; Stonewall = Jackson; Little Phil = Sheridan; Beast = Butler; Fighting Joe = Hooker; Slow Trot & Rock of Chickamagua = Thomas; Young Napoleon = McClellan; Napoleon in Gray = Beauregard; Copperheads = Union Democrats Content provided by Maureen Budetti, Joanne Caramanica, Holly Fenelon, Diane Morse & Corey Price.
Friends of Cherry Hill 312 Park Avenue Falls Church, VA 22046