The Franconia Museum on Franconia Road has a past, literally. What was once the first firehouse on Franconia is now the Franconia Governmental Center and inside is the area of Franconia’s very own museum. While it may be small in the space it takes up, it is gigantic in terms of the history that is lying right under the noses of many Alexandria and Springfield residents.
Artifacts from Franconia’s first days, including vintage badges and other gadgets from the firehouse on Beulah Street and relics from Franconia Elementary lay in the many display cases.
What many residents may not know, however, is that Franconia was home to many veterans who fought in wars and conflicts ranging from the Civil War, World War II to Vietnam. Each has brought back memories and souvenirs from their tours of duty. One of Franconia Museum’s most prized relics is a Confederate Civil War hat worn by Pvt. George William Triplett.
“The big thing is not that’s it’s a Civil War hat, but that it was worn by a Franconian,” said museum visitor Jim Cox of Springfield.
Another relic includes Franconian Frederick B. Shain’s victory medals from his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II along with his uniform that remains in good condition.
Tri-fold boards are lined up on tables in the museum, but instead of depicting a science fair project, it tells the story of families from the Franconia area that made a difference. One of the boards tells the story of the Jasper family, whose members were slaves on George Washington’s plantation. They eventually bought land in Franconia and founded the historic Laurel Grove Baptist Church that was destroyed by fire in 2004.
The museum also sells a number of books published by the curators. These include stories about families who have been in the Franconia area for many generations and about significant people who have made their mark in Franconia.
If one is looking for a bit of history right in their backyard, the Franconia Museum is the place to go.
The Franconia Museum provides interesting information about Springfield, Kingstowne, and Alexandria residents free of charge. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit www.franconiamuseum.org.