Chesterbrook VA 1950s - Photo #19

   
19

For a rear view CLICK HERE.

The Hill Farm on the Southwest corner of Kirby Road and Franklin Avenue. Russel and Avis Hill lived here with their son Harry and a grandmother, Helen Walker (Avis's mother). I spent most of my childhood running wild on this farm. It was a relatively small one, 40 acres, with a barn (center) and various outbuildings and sheds that are not visible in the photo, all kinds of ancient automative and farm machinery rusting away in different places. Russell Hill grew tabacco, rye, some other things, or sometimes nothing at all. The barn was mainly used to cure tobacco, but in earlier times there had been livestock. The farm was built about 1900. The farms further down the road were bigger and had cattle, pigs, chickens (we'd wake up every morning to roosters crowing), geese, farm hands, and electric fences; the main meal was served at noon, all the family and the hands around a big table heaped with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, greens, and home-baked biscuits. Farmers — Black and White alike — helped each other out, shared equipment, and socialized, whereas the newly arrived proto-suburbanites were all white and more clannish. At first they (we) were low-income, house-poor, meaning with GI home loans to pay off but not enough income for anything else but basic foodstuffs. No cars, no phones, no TVs, no washing machines, not even toasters. But within a short amount of time, the farms (including this one) were converted to new subdivisions, increasingly upscale, until now there's barely a trace of what you see in this gallery and you probably need to be millionaire to live in the area. It's only a few miles from downtown Washington.

Here are some photos I took with my Brownie Hawkeye about 1955 in back of the farmhouse:

Hill's Farm   Hill's Farm   Hill's Farm  

If you click each photo you'll see a somewhat larger version. The farm extended back to woodline, slightly beyond the Patton Terrace loop, a pretty long walk. In the first photo you can see some farm equipment scattered about and part of an outbuilding. The third photo shows a little tin-roofed cinderblock tool shed, abandoned, that could be used for shelter in sudden rainstorms (even though, as Jimmie Walker says, some copperhead snakes lived in it). The land you see here probably has 100 houses on it now.

Here are two more. Click on the first for a larger view and some commentary. The second one is a hand-tinted photo of the farm from when it was new, courtesy of Russell Hill:

Hill's Farm   Hill's Farm 1900