View across Kirby Road from Chesterbrook School. Left, the Black church
which is still there: First
Baptist Church of Chesterbrook
, built in 1866 (read the history
probably the oldest building in the area. Far right, the old abandoned
original Chesterbrook market that closed some time between 1920 and 1940
(when I lived there you could look inside and still see the ancient
merchandise among the dust and cobwebs).
Down the hill, some houses and farms. Left of First Baptist Church (not
visible in the photo), the house of an old guy who kept a cow tethered by
the front porch (but apparently not when this picture was taken). The cow
was a source of fascination to all the schoolkids because its horns were
growing downwards, curving around towards its eyeballs, closer every year.
When I moved away in 1956, the points of the horns were a quarter inch from
the eyeballs. This still worries me.
The First Baptist Church website and the Pimmit Run site give
similar accounts of the history of Chesterbrook:
"In present-day Chesterbrook, formerly Lincolnville, freed blacks gained
title to lands by purchase from the Crocker family, who were Unionists. The
area of black settlement was and is north of Kirby Road between Church and
Potomac Hills." (Church)
I believe that refers to the area in the center of the picture, down
Old Chesterbrook Road.
"In 1865 the desire to build a place of worship was borne in the heart of
Rev. Cyrus Carter and the Freedmen of Lincolnville, Virginia. Freedmen
arrived in Northern Virginia shortly after the Civil War and purchased land
deemed undesirable by the union soldiers. The Freedmen cleared the
uncultivated land with their own hands, built farmhouses and established
livelihood for their families." (Pimmit Run)
In 1954 or 55 I wrote a brief history of Chesterbrook as a class assignment:
Chesterbrook got its name in 1897. Prior to that it was called
Lincolnville. In 1897, a new post office was built and Martin Payton was
appointed postmaster. A meeting was held to decide a name for the post
office and the late Martha J. Stalcup suggested the name Chesterbrook. The
name was soon given to the place.
I got this information by interviewing Helen Walker (Harry Hill's
grandmother), and (I think) Billy Stalcup's mother. She and her late mother
had adjacent houses just behind the school that can be seen in some of the
other pictures. I have no idea where the post office could have been.
In 2015, several years after this page was created, a
historical marker was
erected in the area with the following inscription:
Lincolnville, a farming community that developed along Kirby Road after the
Civil war, was renamed Chesterbrook ca. 1897. The first Colored Baptist
Church of Fairfax County was founded ca.1866 by reverend Cyrus Carter. The
one-room Chesterbrook School opened in 1906 on present-day Linway
Terrace. The school moved to Kirby Road in 1926. Chesterbrook Methodist
Episcopal Church South, formed in 1906, worshiped in the schoolhouse, then
relocated to Kirby Road in 1921. Classes for the Chesterbrook Colored School
were held in the Odd Fellows Lodge adjacent to the general store which the
Stalcup family operated for many years.