Local Lore and More at the Franconia Museum

ALEXANDRIA SOUTH/FAIRFAX COUNTY- For all the historical events that took place in Franconia, you can bet there is something about them in the Franconia Museum. The one-room museum in the Franconia Government Center has artifacts that date back through the nation’s history and tell the story of this part of Northern Virginia.

Created about 20 years ago when Dana Kauffman was the Lee District Supervisor, the museum’s founding was fueled by residents with deep roots in Franconia. They thought a museum was needed to preserve the area’s history. After going back and forth with the officials at Fairfax County, the museum was born.

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What is Franconia?

Located just southwest of Alexandria, Franconia has existed as a community since the 1870s, when a station by that name opened on the RF&P Railroad; however, like most of the surrounding area, it only began to develop into its present, suburban form in the 1950s. It extends south to just north of the border of Fort Belvoir, encompassing neighborhoods such as Manchester Lakes and Windsor Estates. Street addresses have Alexandria ZIP Codes 22310 and 22315.

Franconia Road serves as the fulcrum of the area and goes way back to a time before the Civil War. It was once the main route wagons took bringing tobacco to the port at Alexandria. The surrounding community got its name from the “Frankhonia Farm”, which occupied approximately 190 acres around the road. It runs from Telegraph Road to I-95, and saw the likes of Mosby’s Raiders, general stores, missile sites and added travel lanes, as it became a main road in the part of Fairfax County, east of Springfield. Over the years, it has widened and straightened, but there are still signs of the country style of life. There is a stretch of Old Franconia Road near the train tracks, and there is even a picture in the museum from way back of a diesel locomotive running under the old bridge.

Franconia has a rich history. Foe example, in the early 1880s, former slaves organized a congregation and held church services near a grove of laurel on Beulah Road. The trustees, including Middleton Braxton, George Carroll, Thornton Gray, and William Jasper, were focused on educating the children of the congregation. In 1881, Georgianna and William Jasper, a former slave of William Hayward Foote of Hayfield Plantation, deeded one-half acre from his thirteen acre farm to the segregated Virginia School System for $10.00. The school served the community until 1932. In 1884, the Jaspers deeded another half acre for construction of a sanctuary next to the school. This historic marker was erected 2008 by Fairfax County History Commission. (Photo: Franconia Museum)

The Museum

Inside the government center, there is a series of informational boards that acts as a teaser for the main room, highlighting local movie stars, beauty pageant winners and a former Dallas Cowboy that once played for the Edison Eagles. Once inside the actual museum, there are artifacts of every kind that were donated to the museum or are on temporary loan. This include Civil War uniforms, hats and guns, bombs from World War I, World War II, school events, and parades that once rolled down Franconia Road. With the amount of traffic on the road, that would be impossible now.

The museum docents are all volunteers from the area that know the local lore, and love to tell the stories. Check hours for when te muesum is open and enjoy!

Franconia Museum

6121 Franconia Road.

Schedule:

Mondays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Tuesdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thursday CLOSED

Friday CLOSED

Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sunday CLOSED

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