Hidden from view on a tract of land that was granted to Henry Gunnell and passed along to his son and daughter-in-law, is a house that was part of a working plantation in the mid-1700s.
The house and 45 acres of land remained in the Gunnell family for approximately 200 years until it was sold to Richard and Carlotta Lahey in 1940. The Laheys converted a kitchen addition into an artist studio and relocated it across the front lawn from the main house, then replaced it with a two-story brick addition attached to the main house.
Before she died, Carlotta Lahey bequeathed the house, furnishings, and 22 acres of land to the Fairfax County Park Authority. It was agreed upon that the house would remain unoccupied as part of a nature preserve within its thick forest cocoon.
The park authority helped to remediate some serious insect damage to the property in the 1990s, before taking possession of the house and property in 1999 after Carlotta’s passing.
The house remains unoccupied and is an outstanding place for a short nature walk.
Know Before You Go
Parking for the park is on the street at the end of Brookmeadow Drive.