Greenway Downs

A Community Since 1942

Oak Mount and its occupants


Oak Mount- Pre-Civil War

On the present day property at 2819 Greenway Blvd. stood a brick mansion  called "Oak Mount."  The house was surrounded by at least 700 acres of farmland  and was owned by the Dulany family until 1868.

During the War of 1812,  Oak Mount enjoyed a brief moment in the history books when their adjoining barn was the recipient of the gunpowder hustled out of the Naval Yard in Washington D.C.,  August, 1812,  barely one step ahead of the British invasion. In modern times that barn, the Harper House, would become a neighborhood landmark.

Here are some articles that speak to the barn (Harper House), both past and present:

Oak Mount was home to, but not owned by, Daniel F. Dulany Sr. For some reason, Daniel became insolvent, and in 1840's sold off some of the land and the house. His brother, Jonathan P. Dulany, of Welbourne in Loudoun Co., paid off Daniel's debt and subsequently purchased 300 acres of the property and the Manor House and allowed Daniel and his family to remain living there.

After Daniel Senior's death, John continued to lease the house to the widow and her children. However, the explosive regional political tensions of the Civil War era divided the loyalties of the extensive Dulany family. Daniel Dulany II  chose to support the Union but his own son Daniel III, along with his uncle John (who owed the land) chose to support the Confederacy.

Oak Mount and the farm became the subject of a  chancery suit between John and his nephew Daniel after the Civil War because the farmland and house had suffered extensive damage and money was tight. The Dulany family had fled the property in 1861because of the Federal Army, but after the war Daniel must have decided the house and property were his and was selling off the timber for profit. The excerpts from the chancery suit are interesting to read.


Oak Mount Post Civil War

Eventually,  John Dulany was forced to sell Oak Mount and the 300 acres. It changed hands several times, at one point owned by William Shepherd, the same man that owned Cherry Hill in Falls Church. Mr Shepherd advertised Oak Mount and acreage in

1870: Trustee sale  (house described)

1871: Trustee sale  (house burned down)

and it was bought by Silas Tripp, of Duchess County, New York. 

At some point, Silas Tripp rebuilt Oak Mount on the same location as the original house and also opened up a quarry, aka Tripp's Quarry, on the eastern end of his property. The creek that ran along this portion of his property became known as Tripp's Run.  

In 1911, the Tripp's only living child Percy was given the house and the farm by Sarah Tripp, his mother, in her will.

The 300 acres of had been pared down to only 109 acres. Percy was a well-educated man and much of his life was spent traveling and working as a missionary in China. For this reason, he left the day-to-day running of the farm and quarry to an administrator who leased both to various tenants.

Percy was not only an absentee landlord, but he had also married a Chinese national and given the chilly reception for interracial marriages in the early 1900's, decided not to return  to live in his boyhood home here in Falls Church.  Percy  heavily mortgaged his property to support his family and missionary work in China and this arrangement eventually led  to the insolvency of the farm and quarry. In 1925 the bank auctioned off the 109 acres at the Fairfax County Courthouse, cash only.   Lee Highway had been built right past his property and the acreage was snatched up by a land development company.

In 1927 real estate developer Ruby Lee Minar bought the 109 acre farm and immediately began subdividing  section one  and selling the lots to eager customers searching for affordable homes outside D.C.  Ruby remodeled Oak Mount, now standing on the newly fashioned Greenway Blvd and the carriage house across the street both of which were featured in her promotion of her newly minted suburban Greenway Downs. Ruby quickly started selling lots in  section two, but was crushed by the crash in 1929.


What Happened to Oak Mount? (Present Day 2819 Greenway Blvd)

  • Original Manor House  burned down 1870
  • Unknown date for building the Tripp Home, no pictures
  • Renovated by Mrs. Minar as a new home and tea room, as pictured in this advertisement  from 1929. 

More Links:

Pre-Civil War and the Dulany Family

Post Civil War and the Tripp Family

Ruby Lee Minar and Suburbia

Articles re: Percy Tripp

Oak Mount in the History Books

"A Virginia Village Goes to War, Falls Church During the Civil War

by Bradley E. Gernand

According to this book, in response to Professor Lowe and the Unions troops directing aerial bombardments directly into Falls Church  from Fort Ethan Allan beginning on September 24, 1861, villagers sought refuge out of range of the canons  at "Oak Mount, the mansion and plantation of the Dulany family, in what is now Greenway Downs on South Washington Street."  (p. 93)

Also, according to this book, when the Union soldiers still occupied Falls Church, they "visited nearby Oak Mount plantation, the historic home of the Dulany family, and rifled the home of its contents. They took as "relics" Oak Mount's property deed, dated October 20, 1797, several newspapers published recently in Charleston, South Carolina, a sword they found hidden in a mattress, and assorted lesser items." (p. 52)