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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Bush Hill

 
 
Bush Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
1. Bush Hill Marker
Inscription. Josiah Watson, a wealthy merchant and postmaster of Alexandria, established his 272-acre plantation, “Bush Hill”, in 1791. Richard Marshall Scott purchased the plantation in 1791; his family stayed here for 200 years. Scott was an attorney, bank president and planter who married three times, due to the death of his first two wives. In 1833, with Scott’s death, his son Richard and Virginia Gunnell moved here and produced wheat, oats, rye, and corn on the plantation. Richard died at age 27 of tuberculosis. Virginia, a northern sympathizer, and two sons shared the house with Union officers during the Civil War while a Massachusetts regiment camped on the land.

(sidebar)
Bush Hill
Retired and apart from the world’s busy hum,
This rural and lovely retreat,
By the genius of talent and taste, has become
To the stranger and curious, a treat.

’Tis a model, deserving of copy from all
Who wish’to improve their estates;
’Tis a spot, where the spring & the summer and fall,
Man’s bosom delighted elates.

Should I search far & wide, there is not a place
My soul would prefer to ‘BUSH-HILL
For Natural charms, and for many a grace
Conferr’d by industry and skill.
—Phenix Gazette, November 26,
Wetlands behind the Bush Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
2. Wetlands behind the Bush Hill Marker
1825
 
Erected by KSI in cooperation with the Alexandria Archeological Museum, Office of Historic Alexandria.
 
Location. 38° 48.187′ N, 77° 7.155′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is on Eisenhower Avenue 0.8 miles east of Metro Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22304, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Birthplace of Fitzhugh Lee (approx. one mile away); Lake Cook (approx. 1.2 miles away); The Rose Hill Raid (approx. 1.4 miles away); Rose Hill (approx. 1.4 miles away); Fort Worth (approx. 1½ miles away); Fort Williams (approx. 1.7 miles away); Fort Ward (approx. 2 miles away); Southwest Bastion (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Additional comments.
1. Holly Hill School
My mother and father, Stephen and Betty Balazs operated Holly Hill School and what is not noted and maybe unknown is that this was the first private school in the area to accept a black student, who I am still in contact with. This building has a full circle of history from slaves to the first black student accepted
The Bush Hill Plantation House image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
3. The Bush Hill Plantation House
The main house at Bush Hill Plantation was a twelve-room brick Georgian structure. The property included a brick barn, a granary, corn house, cow and sheep shelters, overseers’ house, “negro quarters”, dairy and ice house. Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library
into the first grade. The car infront of the building, was my first car. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted February 23, 2009, by Stephen C Balazs Jr., PMP of Sterling, Virginia.

 
Categories. Notable BuildingsNotable PersonsRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US CivilWar, World II
 
Bush Hill Serves As A Prison image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
4. Bush Hill Serves As A Prison
During World War II the federal government leased Bush Hill from the Gunnell family for use in the internment of Adolf Hitler’s counselor of foreign affairs, Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, who was assisting the Allies. Putzi was considered one of the only men who could detect whether or not German broadcasts of Hitler were authentic or done by stand-ins. Virginia Room, Fairfax County Library
Bush Hill Abandoned as a School, Burns image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
5. Bush Hill Abandoned as a School, Burns
After World War II, Bush Hill served as the “Holly Hill School” until March 6, 1977, when it was vandalized and then abandoned. The house was destroyed by arson one week later. Washington Post, March 17, 1977
Richard Marshall Scott Assets image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
6. Richard Marshall Scott Assets
The Richard Marshall Scott’s lived well, as reflected in their 1815 personal property tax list: 13 slaves; 5 horses; 9 cattle; 2 carriages; $4500 house; ice house; gold watch’ mahogany furniture: bookcase, 14 chairs, 3 chests, sideboard, 6 tables, 6 calico curtains; 11 prints; looking glass; 4 silver goblets. Mutual Assurance Society
The Indians Occupied This Land First image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
7. The Indians Occupied This Land First
Native Americans were the first to occupy this land. Archaeologists discovered 3500 year-old camps in the vicinity. By the 1600’s, the local Algonquian-speaking population was referred to as the Dogue by the colonists; they all died or moved away by the 1700’s. These people left behind in the soil, rocks from their hearths, stone tools and thousands of pieces of stone debris from tool making.
Orange and Alexandria Railroad image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, September 8, 2007
8. Orange and Alexandria Railroad
In 1850 workmen began to clear a line through Bush Hill for the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Richard William Scott described the first passage of the train in his Day Book, July 4, 1851: “We witnessed for the first time today, a train carrying about 600 people going on an excursion on the road to Backlick, a distance of 11 miles from Alexandria and the present termination of the rails—as seen from the north windows (6 in number) passing through our meadow with their gay passengers, presented a very pretty sight and to me one of great interest.”
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 20, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 5,258 times since then and 989 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on September 20, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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