Monday, October 14, 2013

General Beauregard's Headquarters at Liberia House, Manassas: Then and Now

     The Federal-style brick home of the Weir family was built in 1825, and originally sat on a 1,600 acre estate. Today, the grounds surrounding it have been reduced to a scant 18 acres, preserved by the City of Manassas. The home gets its name "Liberia" from the family's sympathetic membership in the American Colonization Society, a group that sought to send freed slaves to the then newly established country of Liberia, in Africa. Ironically, by 1860, the Weir family owned more than eighty slaves to run their farm.
Click the following images for larger viewing.

Photo by George N. Barnard, March 1862, during Union occupation,
 seen from the original "coach circle". Notice the kitchen wing at right.

August 24, 2013
 
Detail from the Barnard photograph, March 1862. Union soldiers are
 gathered on the porch. General Irvin McDowell made his headquarters
 at Liberia in May 1862. The next month, President Lincoln and Secretary
 of War Stanton visited the general there. General Daniel E. Sickles was
 also temporarily headquartered here in November 1862.

August 24, 2013. Your blog host established temporary headquarters
at Liberia during a living history encampment on the grounds.

This image is said to be the earliest photograph of Liberia, 
taken sometime in 1861, by Captain Andrew J. Russell.

Similar view, August 24, 2013

From 1888 to 1947, Liberia was owned by Robert Portner and was the headquarters
 of his dairy business, but not his personal residence. An interior view above, from 1936.
Historic American Building Survey

August 24, 2013

Central hallway, 1936, Portner Dairy Farm.
Historic American Building Survey

August 24, 2013
1936, Portner Dairy Farm. By this time the estate was 329 acres.
The home served as the residence of the dairy farm manager.
Historic American Building Survey

Similar view, August 24, 2013.
The house and property are now under management of the 
Manassas Museum System, after being donated by the Breedens, 
the last family to occupy the house as a personal residence.
It is currently under restoration.


1 comment:

John Banks said...

John: Love this stuff. Keep up the fine work. John Banks