Discoveries around Woodlawn

Alexandria Travel Blog

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Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House

While looking at National Register historic site documentation posted on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources web site, I found a nearby register site I had not visited: Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House. (I use the valuable historic register application information found on the NRHP and Virginia DHR sites to document my photos.) Anyway, I decided I would pay a call this Sunday afternoon. Afternoon should be well afer their 11:00 a.m. service. For though this structure dates to 1856, it is an active place of worship. The Woodlawn Quaker Meting was established in the 1840s when a group of Quakers from Pennsylvania purchased Woodlawn Plantation. (See my accompaning review.) They initially met in the mansion, but soon built their own church, or meeting house, and subdivided the plantation lands into farms.

Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (1853/1869)
They were particularly interested in demonstrating that succussful farming could be performed without the need for slaves.

Arriving at Woodlawn Road off Righmond Highway (US 1), I noted the meeting house is the only structure accesible form this road. The street has otherwise been blocked off to pevent access to adajcent Fort Belvoir. As I walked up to the meeting house, a member of the congreation was occupied in gardening. The young woman introduced herself as Elizabeth and offered to show me around the property. I told her I liked to photograph historic sites and was here to take photos. She told me of the history of the meeting house, of which all the congregants must be aware, and pointed out the Civil War graffiti on the wooden exterior walls. She said that the Quakers, opposed to slavery, welcomed the Union troops to their church.

Civil War graffiti: W. Long, Manayunk, Pa.
(The Civil War graffiti was not unlike that at Pohick Church just down Richmond Highway, though it's said the troops trashed that church as it was seen as Confedrate.) Elizabeth also pointed out items in the sanctuary through the windows. (The church was not open.) Inside were kerosene light fixtures, a children's pew, a Franklin stove, and a divider to separate men and women. (Quaker services are no longer segreated by sex.) There was even a separate men's and women's entrance used in former times. My informant also showed me the cemetery behind the church. It's also been in continuous use since the 1850s.

Elizabeth had to go and left me to take my photos. Please enjoy them.

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Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House
Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House
Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (185…
Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (18…
Civil War graffiti: W. Long, Manay…
Civil War graffiti: W. Long, Mana…
Civil War graffiti: 1st Mich. Cav.
Civil War graffiti: 1st Mich. Cav.
Meeting House cemetery
Meeting House cemetery
Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (185…
Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (18…
Former mens and womens doors
Former men's and women's doors
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photo by: missandrea81