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Hunter House is located towards the rear of Nottoway Park on Courthouse Road in Vienna, Virginia. In fact as you drive past the park with its pick-up games of basketball and open grassland you would not know that behind the line of trees behind the sports field lies a late 19th century farmhouse.
The story of Hunter House begins in 1871 when James Hunter, a doctor from Banff, Scotland, sent his two sons, John and James Craig, to find a new home in America. They purchased Moorefield in Northern Virginia just outside what is now the town of Vienna. Moorefield stood until 2003 on land adjacent to what is now Nottoway Park.
In 1890, John Hunter built a home for himself on the adjacent land. This was a simple two-story frame style farmhouse. It had a wood shingle roof with beveled siding walls. The first floor contained an entry hall with stairs to the upper level, a living room with a fireplace and a large kitchen with a pantry. There were two bedrooms on the second floor. There was no indoor plumbing – water was drawn from a 110-foot well that was located close to the south wall of the house, being the closest to the kitchen.
The house had several owners over the first 30 years of its existence, each of who made their own improvements to the property. By 1920, the house included an open porch, a large two story bay window on the east side which created a sitting room and an additional bedroom on the second floor. By this time there was also a two-story addition added to the south side.
In 1921, Hunter House became the home to William Davidson and his family. They operated a fruit orchard on the grounds. After the end of Prohibition, they operated a winery on the property. The winery was bonded as Distillery No. 4 of the Commonwealth of Virginia producing a wine called “Virginia Maid”. Some of the grape vines, now gone wild, can still be found in the wooded area that surround Nottoway Park.
The property changed hands several more times before being acquired by the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1972. At this time the property was known as Dandru Farm. The house was added to the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites in 1975 and renamed Hunter House after the original owner. The Park Authority completed the full renovation of the house in 1977. It was used as a community center. Today, though, it is available for rental for weddings and other functions.
A wonderful purchase by Fairfax County including the Park, the concerts and the parcels set aside for gardeing.