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Historic Blenheim and the Civil War Interpretative Center

April 19, 2021

Historic Blenheim was constructed by Albert Willcoxon before the Civil War. It is a c. 1859 brick farmhouse in the style of Greek Revival established at 3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Virginia. It is highly significant to the nation since it contains huge quality and quantity of inscription samples of the Civil War. The Blenheim house's unpainted walls served as a blank canvas for the pictographs and writings of the Union soldiers. More than 122 soldiers identified their thoughts, hometown, regiments, and themselves. Other soldiers drew war tools, games, or created genius cartoons. These were left by the Union soldiers on the house walls during their employment in 1862-63 at the Fairfax Court House. Through this "diary on walls", life insights of a typical soldier and the effects of the Civil War on the residents of Fairfax like the African descent and the Willcoxon family was known.

Grandma's Cottage is located at the estate ground of the Historic Blenheim. It was occupied by Albert Willcoxon's sister, Margaret Conn Willcoxon Farr. The cottage is significant for its combination of rare hewn timber framing and log-wall construction with brick infill. The Blenheim House was lived in and owned by four generations of descendants of Willcoxon until the house and the 12-acres farm were purchased in 1999 by the City of Fairfax. It is now recognized as a Civil War museum that holds the records of the country's most schismatic events in history. Historic Blenheim is part of the Civil War Graffiti Trails of Northern Virginia and Civil War Trails of Virginia.

Civil War Interpretative Center

The Civil War Interpretative Center is included in a 12-acre state at Historic Blenheim that is rich with the history of Fairfax. It is entrusted with the historic interpretation of the original farmhouse of Blenheim, the site history, and the Fairfax area's Civil War. Opened in 2008, the award-winning Interpretative Center serves as the main gathering area for the property visitors and includes a multi-purpose classroom, visitor facilities, a gift shop, and an exhibition gallery. It features an Atrium Lobby with a magnificent glass roof, 900-square-foot, historic pine flooring Assembly Room, and all-around glass walls that highlight the views of the grounds and house of the Civil War era. In addition to that, it houses a full-scale replica of the historic attic of the Blenheim House which holds evidence of the graffiti and signatures of the Civil War period's occupying soldiers. It also includes artifacts that comprehend the daily life of a soldier, information about the enslaved residents and the family, temporary displays, biographies of a few wall signers, and an illustrated timeline of the events of the Civil War.

The multi-purpose room of the Center features informational videos of the graffiti. The gift shop is stocked with replica items, books, children's games and toys, and Fairfax History and Civil War-related souvenirs. The Civil War Interpretative Center and its surrounding grounds are also the spot of tours, lectures, classes, and demonstrations of Living History. Aside from the interpretative roles, the Center is accessible for social functions and private events such as weddings. Visitors of the center can explore the graffiti through school-aged programs, special adult programs, daily tours, and special events like the annual Fairfax History Day.

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