The annual event allows residents an opportunity to tour the Oak Hill mansion, an 18th century Georgian-style home located at 716 Wakefield Chapel Rd. that was once owned by the Fitzhugh family. Oak Hill is the oldest (and only surviving) of three homes built by the Fitzhugh family on land that was once known as the Ravensworth Tract.
"Having a sense of history is important because you need a sense of where you came from, where the community was, so you can look at where you are now and have a basis of where you want to get in the future," said Cook during his remarks about the significance of Oak Hill History Day to Fairfax County and its residents.
Visitors were allowed to take a brief tour of the first floor of the home and visit the grounds, where there were reenactments from local residents posing as David Fitzhugh, Anna Maria Fitzhugh, Francis Ashbury Dickens of Ossian Hall and others. Additionally, local groups such as the Burke Historical Society and the Annandale Chamber of Commerce had booths promoting their organizations.
Guests also enjoyed refreshments provided by the Annandale High School Culinary program and music from the Oak Hill Trio during the event.
Oak Hill was purchased in 2008 by David and Amanda Scheetz, just four years after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Seville Homes, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board and Northern Virginia Conservation Trust negotiated an historic easement agreement in to preserve the property.
Because of the terms of the easement agreement, the home and its grounds aren't allowed to be altered very much, so visitors were able to tour much of the original landscape of the home, including 200-year-old boxwood trees that line the private driveway. The easement terms also require the Scheetzes to open the home to the public four times a year.
"The easement ensures that [Oak Hill] will remain standing and cared for, but will also be accessible to county residents. It takes a special kind of family to make that happen and enjoy it," said Bulova of the Scheetzes during her remarks.
Oak Hill History Day was sponsored by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and staff, Braddock District Supervisor John Cook and staff, Lake Accotink Park and Frying Pan Farm Park staff and the A Look Back at Braddock Committee.
To learn more about Oak Hill, visit the Annandale history page.