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Church Street's Bookend Buildings

Town Council designates Berry House an historic property and addresses traffic congestion at the post office.

In the photograph, the two-story, 106-year-old Victorian home looks cozy and rustic, nestled next to snow-covered evergreens. With its front facing Church and Park Streets, the house stands as a relic of past times, regardless of what traffic and congestion lie in front of it. Because of its prominence on historic Church Street, as well as its age and its place in town lore, the home, known as the Joseph Berry House, was added to the town’s roster of historic sites during the Vienna Town Council meeting on Monday, March 15.

"It just transports you back. Just to go in there brings a sense of history," said Councilwoman Maud Robinson.

The Berry House, named after the family who inhabited the house for over 60 years, is now occupied by Daniel and Rose Mulville. Since it was constructed by Fairfax County surveyor Joseph Berry in 1898, the house has passed ownership only three times. The Mulvilles acquired the home in 1973.

While Joseph Berry served the county and Vienna as a surveyor, Town Councilman and mayor, Mrs. Berry organized the Ayr Hill Garden Club and hosted its first meeting in the home’s parlor.

The Ayr Hill Garden Club celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Daniel Mulville thanked Council members at the Town Council meeting for approving his request that the home be designated as a historic site. Cathy Salgado, the town’s Parks and Recreation director, added that Historic Vienna Inc., which had reviewed and supported the Mulvilles’ application, has tried to urge homeowners who live in historic structures to apply for historic designation.

The Town Clerk’s Office keeps a master list of all the historic sites in Vienna.

TOWARD THE END of Monday's meeting, the Town Council considered a letter written to Vienna postmaster Alton Miller from Vienna mayor Jane Seeman, which summarized the discussions that Miller and Seeman have had over the years, on the traffic congestion at the post office’s parking lot entrance and exit at Lawyers Road. By approving the letter, the Town Council gave the go-ahead for Miller to enter discussions with the U.S. Postal Service and Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th) about finding solutions to the congestion, which could include expanding the current facility.

The post office is currently located on 200 Lawyers Road N.W., near the Church Street intersection.

"I believe the time has come to address this dangerous situation," read the letter authored by Seeman. "The post office building has served Vienna well for many years but is in need of expansion to handle the increased volume. The building sits on a very visible corner, and we would like to see it become part of the Church Street vision."

EARLIER IN the meeting, the Town Council closed a public hearing, at which no citizen spoke, to consider supplemental appropriations to the FY ‘04 budget. The $663,390 comes from FY ‘03 and is designated for appropriations previously approved by the Town Council. Council members also heard a presentation by the Fairfax County Health Department on the West Nile virus.

The Council unanimously approved the following items:

* A contract to Invensys for water meters as a sole source supplier;

* A contract to Schaefer Pyrotechnics Inc. for the July Fourth fireworks display;

* A plumbing and mechanical contract for the interior renovation of the Nutley Street Property Yard’s maintenance building; and

* The recommendation to the Fairfax County Board of Elections for a slate of election officers for the May 4 Town Election.