Planning Ahead: Expansion of Langley Fork

Planning Ahead: Expansion of Langley Fork

In April, the Board of Supervisors authorized planning staff to research the Mackall-Hall house and Turkey HIll Road for a possible expansion of the Langley Fork Historic Overlay District.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the The Langley Fork HIstoric Overlay District in 1980 to protect historic structures clustered around the intersection of Old Chain Bridge Road and Georgetown Pike.

The historic overlay district encompasses 83.8 acres and a cluster of six historic structures included Langley Ordinary, Langley Tolly House, Gunnell’s Chapel, the Langley Friends Meeting House, the Mackall House and the Kennedy’s Hickory Hill.

On Oct. 26, the Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal to expand the district. After the commission makes its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, the Board will hold its public hearing on the proposed expansion on Nov. 1, 2016 at 4 p.m.

Historic Overlay Districts are special zoning districts under the county’s zoning Ordinance, and consist of “property or group of contiguous related properties determined to be of architectural, historic or archaeological significance” to county residents.

The proposed change is the second proposed boundary change of the 13 overlay districts in the county; The Centreville Overlay District was expanded in 2007.

According to Planning Commission staff reports, The Mackall House was originally built as a church in 1858. The Mackall family converted the church into a residence in the late 19th century and occupied the house until the 1940s. The building is now used as a day school, according to staff reports.

The properties were originally part of a 540-acre tract of land named Langley by Thomas Lee for the ancestral estate in England. It was sold to B. Mackall in 1838, according to commission documents. “A Union Army Civil War camp was situated on part of the property and the house served as a tenant house for a sheep farmer postmaster during the late 19th century.”

After two owners occupied the house from 1949-1961, Dorsey and Cynthia Richardson purchased the two parcels of property and maintain it today.

The Fairfax County History Commission voted in July to expand the historic district to include the Mackall-Hall House and vacant parcel at 1013 and 1011 Turkey Run Road.

The Fairfax County Architectural Review Board also voted this summer to recommend the expansion.

Langley Fork Historic Overlay District

“Beginning in the early 19th century, the village of Langley grew around the juncture of the Georgetown-Leesburg Turnpike and Chain Bridge Road. Both roads date from the colonial era. The Georgetown-Leesburg Turnpike was an important east-west road linking farmers with the merchants of Georgetown. Fairfax County had few towns and clusters of houses and other buildings developed around crossroads, near mills, or at other convenient locations. These settlements dotted the rural 19th- and 20th-century landscape. Langley Fork is the most intact and recognizable of these rural crossroads villages remaining in Fairfax County. Six buildings, in addition to the roads themselves, remain from the previous century. Two, the mid-19th-Century ordinary and toll house, illustrate the area's importance as a stopping point for travelers. The ordinary served as both headquarters and hospital for troops in the Civil War. The Mackall House was built in 1858 as Trinity Methodist Church, but was later converted into a house and is now a school. Two other churches survive, the Langley Friends Meeting House, built in 1893 as the second church of the Trinity Methodist congregation, and Gunnell's Chapel, built after 1865 as the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. The sixth structure, Hickory Hill, was constructed shortly after the Civil War, probably by the same man who built the ordinary. In the 1930's the house was extensively remodeled.”