NARFE - Chapter 1159
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Our History

The Village of Annandale

The area referred to as Annandale today was originally part of a land grant to William Fitzhugh in 1685.  This grant was one of the largest in the “new world,” with the portion of the grant in Fairfax County covering almost 22,000 acres.   The plantation that was established on this site became a major tobacco plantation.  Three manor houses were built on the plantation during the late eighteenth century by members of the Fitzhugh family —Ravensworth, Ossian Hall and Oak Hill.  All three manor houses were located within the present- day Annandale area.  Built in 1790, today only Oak Hill still stands.  It is privately owned and located near Wakefield Chapel Road (although privately owned, it is opened to the public at least once a year).

In the early 1800’s, Virginia roads generally still followed Indian trails or connected communities.  The citizens of Virginia were pushing for internal improvements to assist them in transporting their crops and for the expansion of commerce.  As a result, a number of toll roads were authorized in the Northern Virginia area.  One of the first was completed in 1806 from Alexandria through the Annandale area.  Eventually the road extended to the Little River in Aldie, Virginia.  This road, known as the Little River Turnpike, also was one of the first toll roads constructed in the United States.   In 1808 another toll road was constructed from Washington, D.C. to ultimately join with the Little River Turnpike in what is now the heart of Annandale.  This road was called Columbia Turnpike Road (today called Columbia Pike). Toll gates were to be located every five miles on Little River Turnpike, with one located near the intersection of Little River Turnpike and Columbia Turnpike Road.

By the early nineteenth century tobacco crops on the plantations had worn out the land and the plantations began to be sectioned and sold to farmers who turned to raising pigs, dairy, grain and vegetable farming. At the same time the village of Annandale developed at the intersection of the Little River Turnpike and the Columbia Turnpike Road.  By the 1850’s, Annandale was a thriving community and, besides the original toll house, Annandale had grown large enough to have a postmaster.  In addition, it had a church, tavern, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and saw mill, among other enterprises.  Also, about one mile west of Annandale (at a location along Little River Turnpike across from the site of the Annandale campus of the Northern Virginia Community College today) was Gooding Tavern, which was a popular stop for Little River Turnpike travelers and stage coach passengers from 1807-1879.  A railroad was scheduled to be constructed through Annandale as well.  This was to be a branch line of the Manassas Gap Railroad, but it was never completed due to financial problems and, ultimately, the outbreak of war.  (The roadbed, however, was completed and stone bridge abutments for the railroad are still visible along Indian Run in Poe Terrace Park.)

When the War Between the States began, the Little River Turnpike was one of the principal roads from Washington to the Shenandoah Valley and Annandale lay along the route.  As a result, control of Annandale swung a number of times between Union and Southern troops and there were several skirmishes in and around Annandale.  One of these occurred in 1861, when about 200 Southern cavalrymen charged down Little River Turnpike through Annandale and attacked a Union encampment where the roadbed for the incomplete Manassas Gap Railroad crossed the Turnpike (today near the location of the George Mason Regional Library).  That attack was repulsed when Union reinforcements arrived.  Another instance occurred in 1864, when Confederate rangers placed artillery on the west side of the Accotink Creek valley (along the bluffs of Mill Creek Park today) and bombarded a Union stockade located in Annandale.  The bombardment lasted about one hour before the Confederates withdrew.

After the War, Annandale returned to its rural ways.  In 1896, Little River Turnpike became a public highway maintained by state and local tax revenues.  By the end of the First World War farming was waning in the area and suburbanization had begun to appear.  Ultimately, with the rapid expansion of the Washington suburbs during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the influx of Federal employees, Annandale became a bedroom community for Washington, D.C. 

Today, Annandale is still bisected east-to-west by Little River Turnpike (Virginia Route 236) and now north-to-south by the Capital Beltway (I-495).  The commercial district of Annandale continues to be located at the intersection of Little River Turnpike and Columbia Pike and, although not incorporated, the Village of Annandale has developed into a bustling and diverse downtown business area.  The area viewed as Annandale (which generally represents the Annandale 22003 postal ZIP code) had a 2010 population of 60,763.  In 2013, Annandale was named the fourth best city in Virginia by the real estate blog Movoto and was praised for its diversity, median home values and abundance of parks.  (Movoto is a California-based real estate blog that ranks cities based on amenities per person, cost of living, crime, household income, diversity and other factors.)



Chapter 1159

Chapter 1159 received its charter on October 30, 1970 with 32 members. [Click here for a copy of the Chapter charter:  The Chapter started meeting at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department’s social (Bingo, etc.) hall.  After about 30 years at the firehouse, the Chapter moved its meetings to the Mason District Governmental Center thanks to Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross.  In January of 2017, NARFE Chapter 401 (Falls Church) closed and many of the members from the Falls Church Chapter were transferred to Chapter 1159. The Chapter now has almost 350 voting members.  Past and present members who have had official roles in NARFE’s national leadership and the Virginia Federation of Chapters (VFC) leadership include: John Hartigan, NARFE National Secretary, 1998, VFC Area IX Vice President, 1997; Wilton Ward, VFC Alzheimer’s Chair, 2002-2008; and Mary Lou Vroman, VFC Congressional District Liaison to the 11th Congressional District (Congressman Connolly) 2008-2014 and current Secretary for the Northern Virginia Caucus of NARFE Chapters.  Also, Steve Ledford is the immediate past VFC National Legislative Chair and also served as the VFC Senatorial Liaison to Senators Jim Webb, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.  The Chapter’s members have been enthusiastic contributors to the NARFE Alzheimer’s Fund, raising $5,000 in 2018.  The Chapter also is active in our local community.  We have adopted two roads in Annandale under the VDOT Adopt-a-Road Program in which we keep our adopted roads free from litter.  During the months of September, October and November, we hold a food drive to restock the Food Bank at the Annandale Christian Community for Action (A.C.C.A.--a local, non-profit coalition of 26 chruches serving the Annandale community needs through a program designed to meet the emergency and critical needs of clients regardless of religion, race, or ethnic background). We also participate in the Northern Virginia Caucus of NARFE Chapters and the Fairfax County Senior Citizens Council. 

Today the Chapter’s biggest challenge is recruiting and retaining members.  This is in part due to the fact that people today do not seem to be interested in joining and participating in organizations.  But it also is due to the fact that those who have more recently moved into the Annandale area tend not to work for the Federal Government and many of our members are retiring and leaving the area.  Going forward the viability and future success of our Chapter will depend on our success in recruiting new members and retaining the members we have.

Past Chapter Presidents

Claude Johnson  1970-71 (chapter chartered October 20, 1970)

C. Everett Nickell   1971-73 (November Installation)

John Ortolani  1973-74

Gustav Justussen   1974-76

Clark Phillipi  1976-78

C. Jacobsen  1978-79

Walter Schiller   1979-80

Walter Herndon   1980-82

Donald MacCloskey   1982-84

Bruce Blackstone   1984-85

Anthony Daniels   1985-87

David Kraushaar   1987-88

Frederick Stein   1988-89

Joseph Fulton   1989-91

Dorothy Stewart   1991-94

Donald MacCloskey   1994-95

Howard Whitney   1995

Margaret (Peggy) Jeffries   1995

Thomas Gause   1995-98

Lorin Goodrich   1998-2001

John Hartigan   2001-03

Thomas Gause   2003-04

George Richards   2005-2008 (changed to January installation)

Charles Dane  2009-2011

Doug Jones   2012-2014

Mary Lou Vroman  2015-2018 

Doug Jones   2019