Chantilly in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Walney Dairy
The Role of the Dairy at 19th Century Walney
This stone building was the Machen family dairy from about the 1850s until the 1890s. Originally just one room, the dairy was a place to cool milk and to make butter and cheese. Before the Civil War, Caroline Machen made butter and cheese for her family and the farmhands and may have sold any extra to neighbors.
The Civil War, however, changed life at Walney. The land was severely damaged by occupying Confederate and Union armies. After the War, money was scarce, machinery expensive and reliable farm workers were hard to find. It also was difficult for James Machen to compete with inexpensive grain coming from midwestern farms. All of Fairfax County struggled to survive.
James borrowed money from his brother and shifted farm operations from growing mixed grain crops and raising livestock to running dairy cattle. Dairying was a steady cash income — an improvement over seasonal income from grain and beef sales. By 1873 James had 35 cows producing 125 gallons of milk a month, and his customers were no longer his neighbors. Lucrative Washington and Alexandria markets were only 25 miles away. In 1881, James enlarged his dairy
Springhouse versus Dairy: A springhouse is a passive structure where people stored milk and food. A dairy is an active structure where people worked to turn milk into butter and cheese. Walney’s Dairy was called “the cheese factory” by local residents well into the 20th century.
Erected by Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Fairfax County Park Authority.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Agriculture. A significant historical year for this entry is 1873.
Location. 38° 51.678′ N, 77° 25.88′ W. Marker is in Chantilly, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Walney Road. Marker is located in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly VA 20151, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named The Walney Dairy (a few steps from this marker); Walney House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wipe Your Feet! (about 300 feet away); The Houses at Walney (about 400 feet away); Walney Outbuildings (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Walney Outbuildings (about 400 feet away); Walney BarnyardWalney Ice Pond (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chantilly.
More about this marker. The marker features two drawings of the stone building—both captioned, "Walney Dairy conceptual drawing by Rob Martin." On the right side of the marker there is a photo of a stone structure captioned, "Springhouse near Lovettsville, VA."
Also see . . . Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. (Submitted on June 16, 2008.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 16, 2008. This page has been viewed 1,085 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 16, 2008. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.