“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Vienna in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Springhouse

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

The Springhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 11, 2010
1. The Springhouse Marker
Inscription.  In the old days, springhouses did the job of refrigerators. This springhouse served the occupants of the farm from the 18th through the early 20th centuries.

It was built directly over the spring and shaded by trees. Cool spring water flowing into the structure was channeled into troughs of different depths before flowing out the other side. Whitewashing inside and out sealed the loosely mortared, thick, stone walls and provided a clean surface on the interior. Barred vents in the side walls allowed fresh air to circulate and kept out freeloading animals.

Even in summer, dairy goods, fresh produce, and other perishables could last several days in watertight containers partially submerged in the troughs. Less perishable foods, such as salted or smoked meat, pickles, cider, and wine, were stored up in the loft space and on shelves built into the walls. The spring also provided water for drinking and washing for
Marker at the Springhouse image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 11, 2010
2. Marker at the Springhouse
the house located to the north, up the hill behind the barn.

When Gardiner Means and Caroline Ware installed electricity in the 1930s, they pumped the spring water up to the house. A refrigerator and sink replaced most of the functions of the springhouse. The springhouse ruins were stabilized in 1996.
Location. 38° 56.263′ N, 77° 16.96′ W. Marker is near Vienna, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Beulah Road (County Route 702) north of Meadowlark Road (County Route 677), on the left when traveling north. It is at Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park in the Botanical Gardens. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct, Vienna VA 22182, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Terror by the Tracks (approx. 0.9 miles away); Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (approx. 0.9 miles away); Strategic Junction (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hunter’s Mill (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hunter Station (approx. 1.2 miles away); Crossroads to War
The Springhouse Ruins image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 11, 2010
3. The Springhouse Ruins
(approx. 1.2 miles away); Cartersville Baptist Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Cavalry Engagement near Hunter's Mill (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vienna.
More about this marker. There is a $5 per person entrance fee to gain access to the marker.
Also see . . .  Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White. 2006 book edited by Anne Firor Scott on “In 1936, for $7,000, Ware and Means bought approximately seventy acres of land in Vienna, then a rural community in northern Virginia. They moved into an old log cabin that had been the planter’s house on a small plantation and began to shape the idiosyncratic careers they would follow for the rest of their long lives. Like many of their colleagues, Ware and Means had come to Washington temporarily—and stayed for a lifetime. ... By frugal living, the couple kept themselves free to take on the jobs they wanted to do and avoided the trap of having to do things solely for money. ... The tight-knit group of early New Dealers carried on what amounted to an ongoing seminar at The Farm, and many of FDR’s experiments were hatched in its living room or on its lawn.” (Submitted on April 14, 2010.) 
Detail From the Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 11, 2010
4. Detail From the Marker
“Food produced here on the farm could be kept fresh inside the springhouse.”
This marker is included in this topic list: Agriculture
Jack-in-the-Pulpits Near the Springhouse image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 11, 2010
5. Jack-in-the-Pulpits Near the Springhouse
Credits. This page was last revised on March 22, 2020. This page originally submitted on April 14, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,049 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 14, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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