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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Central Annandale was once the site of 'Anandale Farm'

A portion of a map of Northern Virginia from 1862 [Image from the Library of Congress].
The following article is an abbreviated version of a piece published on the Northern Virginia History Notes website Dec. 1 by Debbie Robison titled “The Garges Family of Anandale Farm: How a Family Who Built Up a Village Lost It All By Opposing Secession.” Robison, a native of Annandale, is a preservation consultant for an architectural and engineering firm and represents the Sully District on the Fairfax County History Commission.

In 1820, William Garges, a former merchant from Bucks County, Pa., purchased 134 acres at the intersection of Backlick Road and Little River Turnpike. That land had originally been part of the large Ravensworth tract.

Garges built a house for this family which at the time included his wife Susan and at least six children ranging from an infant to a 12-year-old. The Garges named their property “Anandale  Farm,” and Anandale became the name of the village. (The current spelling, “Annandale,” began to be used at around the time of the Civil War.)
The Garges home was located near what is now the intersection of Columbia Pike and Little River Turnpike. Garges cultivated a wide variety of fruit trees and had a blacksmith shop. He established the Anandale post office in 1837 and was its first postmaster. Four years later, he tried to sell the farm, placing an ad in the Alexandria Gazette, but could not find a buyer.

Garges provided land for the Anandale Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Anandale Chapel was dedicated in December 1846. There is a grave marker in the cemetery for Susan Garges who died in 1828. William died in 1855.

William Garges sold a small triangular-shaped lot, including the farmhouse and blacksmith shop, in 1843 to his son, John Henry Garges. The son established a plow and wagon factory. It was destroyed in a fire in 1845 but was later rebuilt.

John Henry Garges expanded his business enterprises in Annandale, purchasing an additional eight and a-half acres on the south side of the turnpike in 1854. His obituary, published in 1904, says he owned a hotel, store, and livery stable in Annandale.

He had also purchased a one-acre lot on the Little River Turnpike with James Benton. The Manassas Gap Railroad was supposed to cross the turnpike at that spot and they built a sawmill for the railroad construction. The railroad was never finished, however, due to financial problems.

John Henry Garges was detrimentally impacted by his strong pro-union sentiments at the time of the Civil War. A devoted republican, he was arrested in 1859 for circulating, through the post office at Anandale, Hinton Helper’s book The Impending Crisis of the South. That book advanced the abolitionist theory that slavery hurt the economic prospects of the majority of southern whites. Distributing the book was viewed as an act of sedition.

Most other people in the area favored secession. Garges, along with a few of his neighbors, voted against secession, and he was called a “black Republican” due to his views. Garges was on the election commission, and voting in the Anandale precinct took place on his porch. Five days after the ordinance of secession was approved, Garges was forced to flee and moved to Washington, D.C. His family, which included his wife Martha and nine children, the youngest less than a year old, remained on the farm.

Garges filed a petition with Congress for financial relief for losses he sustained when Confederates destroyed his property because of his pro-union stance. After the war, his land was sold to pay for creditors who had sued him.


  1. Awesome article. Please do more Annandale history pieces like this. The Manassas Gap RR was supposed to run through Annandale. What would this town look like today if if was built? You can still see embankments of it in the Hummer Rd park to this day! Does anyone remember Kerlin's Corner? The country store where HanGong (the old Rustler's and Ribsters) was? When ACME closed (where the Room Store was as I recall) it was the only place in town in the late 60's to buy milk (in glass gallon jugs!) after dark except 7-11. Like the fact, and it is a fact, the REPUBLICANS were on the right side of the slavery issue (as they are on many other social issues today, like protecting the unborn) and visionary even in 1861 for their time. Please post if you actually remember Kerlin's Corner. They alos sold Christmas trees as I remember and odd stuff.

    1. I grew up in Annandale from 1959 thru college in 1978. I remember Kerlin's Corner. It was a wooden building with wooden floors. There was a pet shop near Steinhorst Plumbing and I would go there and then to Kerlin;s Corner and get a coke. I also remember Annandale Day where there would be a big parade. I went to Annandale Elementary and had my picture taken at the cannon in the middle of town by a reporter for the Annandale Free Press back in 1967. Those were the good days. I also remember Andy's Pizza, Tops Drive-In on Columbia Pike, Three Chef's Restaurant and much more.

    2. The post office used to be there too, then it became a trophy shop. Christmas trees were 2.00 tax included. I remember when they raised yhw price to 2.50 and my mom thought it a lot

  2. I remember the summer in the 1960s when Mr. Kerlin planted a palm tree at the corner of Ravensworth and 236 (perhaps sent up from FL by a grower who shipped nursery plants to his store?). When the tree died that winter, a hand-painted sign appeared: "we tried, Ladybird!"--a reference to then First Lady Ladybird Johnson's famous beautification campaign for DC area byways.
    -- former Newcastle Dr. resident

  3. Awesome article...

  4. The farm of the OBrien family was lost to the Union Forces after the Civil War because he signed the ordinance of secession in the toll house at Kerlin's Corner located on Ravensworth Road and Little River Turnpike. O'Brien's farm was located at what is now Meadows Farm Nursery.

  5. Thanks for the post on Kerlins Corner! I do not remember that but it sounds like something they would do. They did have THE prime spot in town and made the most of it.

  6. Great piece of info! Do you remember that right next to Kerlins was Cecils Barber shop?

  7. Does anyone remember Wakefield's Fruit Stand on part of the parking lot on the east side of Kerlins ?

  8. From 1970-72 I played in the Annandale Little League majors. The sponsor for my team the first season was Star Supply, a hardware store somewhere in Annandale. The following two seasons we were sponsored by American Hardware, which I assume bought out SS or was SS renamed. Our uniforms were white flannel with black trim. Kerlin's Corner also sponsored a team. Their uniforms had yellow trim and yellow caps.

  9. From 1970-72 I played in the majors of Annandale Little League. Kerlin's Corner sponsored a team. Their uniforms were white cotton flannel (popular during that time) with yellow trim. Yellow caps. Star Supply Hardware sponsored my team the first season. Thereafter we were sponsored by American Hardware. Our uniforms were trimmed in black.

  10. I lived at Revensworth Grove from 64-67. I remember well the palm tree incident at what I recall as Shirkey's Drug Store. It was located at that very same corner in a very old wooden building. And I got turned on to tropical fresh water fish at the Annandale Pet Shop near by.I also remember the wonderful Washington Birthday sales at the pet shop. I attended Poe elementary school and graduated Annandale High School class of '67.Those certainly were the days.