Stepping Back Into History

Stepping Back Into History

Sully Historic Site was built in 1794 by Richard Bland Lee, Northern Virginia's first representative to Congress. The majority of this 128-acre property is owned by the Washington Airports Authority while Fairfax County Park Authority owns the buildings and the rest of the land. Sully Historic Site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

But although much of it looks the same as it did in its heyday, its surroundings along Route 28 in Chantilly have changed dramatically. So the Park Authority is beginning to revise its Master Plan for the site — considering how best to preserve what's there, while attracting both new and repeat visitors.

Sully Historic Site's mission is to preserve, maintain and interpret the historic structures, collections and lands which make up Sully — a late 18th century plantation house and grounds — to educate the public and to promote stewardship of the site.

Over the years, thousands of artifacts discovered at Sully have provided a better understanding of how its former occupants lived. The historic house, itself, is on the site's highest point and is furnished with Federal-period antiques.

Outbuildings include a kitchen, smokehouse and stone dairy. Archaeology at Sully has revealed the locations of the former barn area, ice house, dairy extension, slave dwellings, Native American sites, the Manassas Gap Railroad and a road bed.

In 1975, Sully opened to the public, six days a week, and it's proven to be a popular destination for school groups, hosting nearly 4,000 students a year. Overall, it receives 25,000 to 30,000 visitors annually. Crowds also flock to Sully's annual quilt and antique-auto shows, plus living-history events with people dressed in period costumes.

<tgl> — Bonnie Hobbs