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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Renovated Ossian Hall Park enhances Annandale quality of life

The Annandale High School marching band and Korean Pure Sound drummers performed, as a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local government leaders marked the official opening of the newly renovated Ossian Hall Park Saturday afternoon. The 22-acre park, on the corner of Heritage Drive and Four Year Run next to Annandale High School, has a plaza, two playgrounds, two multi-use courts, synthetic turf field, stone retaining walls, and trails through a wooded area.

Before the park was renovated, said Braddock District Supervisor John Cook, “it was a crime and gang-ridden area where parents did not want to bring their children. People didn’t feel safe here.”

With the renovations, Ossian Hall Park has become “a beautiful gathering place for the community,” says Fairfax County Chair Sharon Bulova. The plaza will be used for summer concerts and events, like the park’s “Explore the World” series, featuring music, dance, crafts, and food from different cultures. That series received a 2010 Arts and Culture Award from the National Association of Counties. Calling Annandale the “most cosmopolitan” area of Fairfax County, Cook said, it’s in the county’s parks and schools where “you can see the full diversity of our population.”

In addition to enhancing recreation opportunities for local residents, Fairfax County school board member Tessie Wilson, representing the Braddock District, said the park also benefits Annandale High School. AHS teams will use the artificial turf field, and the park’s parking lot will be used during school events.

William Bouie, chair of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board, announced the plaza will be named for Winnie Shapiro (below left), Braddock District representative on the park board, in recognition of her advocacy for renovating Ossian Hall Park and her work on behalf of other park projects.

The park is just three-quarters of a mile from the site of Ossian Hall, a historic home that was burned in 1959 as a training exercise for the Annandale Fire Department.


  1. I was the last person officially born on the grounds of Ossian Hall - literally at home.

  2. I am very interested in the history of Ossian Hall, **BUT** does the park have any restrooms? I attended a lovely concert there this evening. When I went looking for a restroom, I found one porta-potty -- in hideously filthy condition.

    Questions: (1) If there are real-live public restrooms in the park, why no signs indicating where?

    (2) If no restrooms, why on earth present a public concert there?

    Even an 18th century mansion, such as the original Ossian Hall, would have had facilities to handle nature's call.

    Shame on Fairfax County for burning down Ossian Hall, and now, for creating a new toilet-free or toilet-challenged park in its memory.


  3. I read your comment with interest, having grown up in Annandale. Ossian Hall was always a place of mystery to me. Were you born in the house? I'd be interested in anything you want to tell about Ossian Hall.


  4. I am in total agreement with the comment shame on Fairfax County for burning down Ossian Hall. I grew up there, too, and was a small child when the vol. fire dept. burned it down for practice. Mr. Ortalani's wife was my piano teacher and he was a fireman at the time. I just cannot imagine burning down such a historic landmark where George Washington had even spent the night. How horrible.