Chantilly in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
“You speak of making our pork into bacon before selling it. I do not think it would answer well in many accounts. Our smoke house is too small…”
James Machen (at Walney) to Lewis Machen, 17 December 1853
“The hogs were killed this week—25 in no. [sic] making 3700 lbs. This with the cutting up, salting, etc. consumed a good portion of the week…”
The restored smoke house in front of you is the only original outbuilding still standing in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. It may very well be the smoke house referred to by Caroline Machen in the letter excerpt above. Smoke houses were common fixtures on Virginia farms from colonial times. Although Caroline’s 1840 letter is the earliest surviving reference to a smoke house at Walney, it is likely that there were smoke houses here soon after a portion of the land was cleared by the Brown family by 1742.
Smoking meat is an ancient practice. Native Americans smoked whole fish or thin strips of meat to dry it for preservation during winter months. Europeans preserved their meat with salt, but used smoking to cure the outside of the meat and add flavor.
Just as with the large annual Native American deer hunts, the Machens slaughtered their hogs in the late fall
Once smoked, meat was left hanging in the smoke house or other outbuildings to age before sale or use by the family. Hams were commonly not eaten for several years. Before cooking, salt-cured hams are soaked in several changes of water over 24 hours in order to remove enough salt to make them edible.
Erected by Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Fairfax County Park Authority.
Location. 38° 51.629′ N, 77° 25.832′ W. Marker is in Chantilly, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Walney Road. Click for map. Marker is located in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly VA 20151, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Walney House (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Walney Outbuildings (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Walney Outbuildings (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Walney Dairy (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Walney Dairy (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Walney Dairy (about 400 feet away); The Cross Farmhouse (approx. half a mile away); On This Site (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Chantilly.
More about this marker. The marker features a photo on the lower left captioned “Smoke house at Red Rock Wilderness Regional Park, Leesburg, VA”, a diagram on the lower right captioned “Division of commercial cuts and retail cuts of pork”, and a sketch on the right of a “Duroc Sow”
Also see . . . Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. (Submitted on June 15, 2008.)
Categories. • Agriculture •
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 1,340 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on . • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.