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old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 06:54AM

Somewhere around Clifton, around 1994 or so, there was an abandoned insane asylum just off a horse trail and accessible by driving past a fallen gate.

I remember reading that the location used to be a girls school and a ranger station during various parts of its life.

When I was there, it was creepy as hell. There were abandoned school busses with "DC DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS," parked all over the place, cells in the basement and ruined little outbuildings. Someone burnt down the 2nd story around 1994 and then the building was torn down, but the weird surroundings remained.

Where was it exactly? Has it been turned into McMansions or what now? If its still around I want to add it to wikimapia.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:04AM

Damn. That does sound pretty cool. I know I've heard of the insane asylum in connection to the Bunnyman story, but I never knew there were potential ruins out there somewhere. I wanna know where they might be as well.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: boredom ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:29AM

No there wasn't.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:34AM

It might not have been an "insane asylum", but I KNOW there was the abandoned complex of buildings and buses exactly as I described, because I was there personally, a number of times.

I've also found reference to the building on other sites as a girls school and a ranger station, prior to being whatever it was at the end. I've also talked with other people in the county that have been there as well.

I want to say it was Clifton Rd near the sharp bend. Someone here remembers exactly where it was.

The Clifton horse people would also know, because a marked horse trail went right past the place, and I remember hiding from people passing by on horses once when I was there.

It really did exist.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2009 07:44AM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:49AM

The only sharp bend of Clifton Road that I see is the one where it turns into Main Street. Is that the one that you're talking about? On Google I can see a clearing there with some dirt roads, but I don't want to assume that a building like that would be so close to the business district.
If the location of this building has been covered already in previous threads, I couldn't find it.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: I Hear Bread People ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:56AM

jimmy jingles Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Somewhere around Clifton, around 1994 or so, there
> was an abandoned insane asylum just off a horse
> trail and accessible by driving past a fallen
> gate.
>


It was called, "Heart in Hand."


getImage.aspx?imgID=24&p=0

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:57AM

I was just about to come back and take out the note about Clifton Rd, because I honestly don't remember if it was there or not. It might have been Chapel or Yates Ford, or any other of the roads radiating out from Clifton.

I'd go there with friends driving 99% of the time, usually at night. One time I managed to find it on my own.

If I can find a map of official horse trails I can pinpoint the location. The online references I mentioned were on an "abandoned fairfax county" type of website but I can't find it in google at the moment.


Also, it wasn't right on the road like that "heart in hand" place, it was several hundred feet back from the road, hidden by dense growth, and it eventually got bulldozed into rubble after being partially burnt down. It was also not within downtown Clifton, maybe a mile or so away.

Sorry this is so vague, its been a really long time.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2009 08:05AM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:07AM

Yeah, the sharp bend in Chapel Road makes sense. I'm familiar with that turn, but I'll look into Yates Ford as well. I'm gonna keep researching, but let me know if you remember anything else about the location. Thanks for the help.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: CliftonResident ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:27AM

The original link to this story doesn't seem to be working but here is the cached version from Google. I think this is what you are referring to.

http://www.chroniclenewspapers.com/articles/2007/03/12/fairfax/news/news04.txt



Growing Success at Ivakota Farm--Troubled Young Women get a Helping Hand to Gain a Leg Up
By Sharon Cavileer
Published: Monday, March 12, 2007 2:23 PM EDT

The Ivakota story may have been lost to history had it not been for the efforts of Clifton resident, Lynne Garvey Wark shown here at the gate of the iron fence that surrounds the Ivakota cemetery.
In the early 20th Century, Clifton's Ivakota Farm was noted for its progressive farming methods and successful dairy enterprise. More progressive was its mission. Ivakota Farm, which opened in the summer of l917, was established to transform the lives of young women in trouble.

Located off Compton Road in what is now the stately Balmoral Forest neighborhood, Ivakota Farm was an idea brought to fruition by women for women. It is fitting that a historic marker will be placed on the site. One of the women who worked to have Ivakota Farm remembered, Lynne Garvey Wark, hopes to see the unveiling held on Mother's Day, 2007.

The story began simply enough with a late-night knock on one door and a plea for help. Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, the wife of an Episcopal minister in Atlanta, was so moved by a late-night visit of an unwed mother that she dedicated her life to "wipe out some of the inequities that were meted out to my sisters who were so helpless to help themselves." Barrett enrolled in medical school and received both a medical degree and doctor of science. She then set to work to establish a home for unwed mothers. When her husband relocated to Alexandria, the seeds of Ivakota Farm had been planted. And Northern Virginia proved fertile ground.

One of her earliest contacts was Charles Crittenton, a wealthy pharmacist and philanthropist. The death of his four-year-old daughter, Florence, nearly devastated the man. After great grief, Crittenton dedicated his energies to helping prostitutes and other wayward girls to a better life as a memorial to his daughter. When he received Dr. Barrett's letter, he agreed to fund her cause.


At the same time, Clifton resident Ella Shaw, was reading articles in The Washington Times written by Dr. Barrett on the plight of prostitutes and unwed mothers. In a generous charitable gesture, Shaw deeded her 264-acre farm to the National Florence Crittenton Mission (NFCM) in 1915. The property, that Shaw had named Ivakota after her three states of residence-Iowa, North Dakota and Virginia-included a completely furnished home with a piano and 800 fruit jars. Later, she deeded another farm to the cause and Ivakota grew to a 400-acre sanctuary for women and children.

Dr. Barrett assumed the directorship of the NFCM. In an ironic twist of fate, her husband died, leaving her a single mother with six children to rear alone. Undaunted, Dr. Kate Waller Barrett opened Ivakota Farm, giving troubled girls a "second chance." The courts sent criminals, prostitutes, girls with sexually transmitted diseases and young women who simply were "in trouble" to Ivakota. Other homeless girls and unwanted babies found their way to the secluded rural farm. One of the noted residents was Minnie Wilcox, a 19-year-old "bobbed-hair bandit" who had robbed a taxicab driver in DC.

At Ivakota, all the girls learned domestic skills such as gardening and canning, received a formal education and enjoyed basketball, baseball, music and friendships. Local children attended classes at the farm and community interaction was encouraged.

According to Katherine Aiken, author of the book Harnessing the Power of Motherhood, Dr. Kate Barrett's slogan was adopted by her girls. Barrett would tell her Ivakota residents: "I am an American girl and I am going to make the world know that I am worth something."

In the 1920s Ivakota Farm was home to more than 60 girls and 20 babies. With added construction, it expanded to care for as many as 150 girls. In 1926 Ivakota graduated 15 women from its practical nursing school. Others left to lead successful and productive lives with 53 percent of its graduates marrying within six months of departure. Many of these young women had never had the opportunity to live in a safe environment. Ivakota became a place to learn, to heal and to grow.

Ivakota Farm served "disadvantaged girls who were wards of the court" until 1957. All that remains of the farm are some stone foundations and a cemetery surrounded by an iron fence. It is the only sad legacy of Ivakota Farm. The cemetery holds the remains of many of the babies and girls who did not survive the experience.

The story would have been lost to history had it not been for the efforts of another Clifton woman, Lynne Garvey Wark. Mrs. Wark is the past chair of the Fairfax County History Commission and the founding chairperson of the Clifton History Commission. "My first passion is history," said Wark. "And, although the story was widely known in the early part of the 20th Century, much of it has been forgotten. This was a wonderful era of progressive social reform and the women involved in the story are truly heroic. I really believe this is one of those institutions that really gave women a second chance. It's a story that must be told."

After exhaustive research with Balmoral resident Andy Morse, Wark presented the Ivakota Farm story and request for a plaque to Fairfax County History Commission's Marker Committee, chaired by Jack Hiller. The request was approved and the plaque will be placed at the intersection of Balmoral Forest Drive and Compton Road near the cemetery. The marker will be paid for by the Balmoral Homeowners' Association and The Fairfax County History Commission.

Lynne Garvey Wark has also authored a history of Ivakota Farm, titled A House of Another Chance, which was submitted to the Jamestown 2007 History Book Project. Active in community affairs, Lynne and her husband Bill maintain The Canary Cottage in Clifton, Fairfax County's only Bed and Breakfast Inn.

"Ivakota Farm was a living success worthy of remembrance," said Wark. "For the thousands of women and children who were the characters in this story and who survived society's harshest treatments-abuse, sexual assault, venereal disease, abandonment by family, friend and church-Ivakota gave them back a life that would have otherwise been lost."

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:39AM

I'll bet you that's what it was. It would have explained the old school buses with DC Dept of Corrections lettering, and the "cells" (rooms for the troubled girls), and the explanation I got that it was once a girl's school.

Next time I'm down there I'll see if I can find that horse trail near a sharp bend and the stone foundations, and see if any of what I remember remains..

No bunny man, I guess!

Good find.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: tellum greyburg sentcha ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:56AM


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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 09:06AM

Holy Crap! This story just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for the location, CliftonResident and Jimmy. I'll be making a detour through there on my way home for sure looking for that marker and cemetary.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 09:30AM

It makes sense since there's the NOVA Theraputic Horse Riding Center near there as well as the train tracks.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 09, 2009 09:54AM

This place you found actually may be connected to the Bunny Man Legend in variou ways. While it sounds a lot like you are describing Ivakota Farms, the also is a chance you are describing something else... an unknown mental institute. Either way here's a copy of my publication about the Bunny Man Legend. Maybe this will help you:

Bunny Man Bridge: Research and Legend Analysis
By Robert Greyberg

Part I
The Legend/ Misconception
For at least 30 years, the Bunny Man Legend has gone from camp fire to camp fire, sleep over to sleep over, book to book, blog to blog, and from Clifton/Fairfax Station, VA to the national spotlight as one of America’s most chilling yet fascinating urban legends. Sightings of the story’s infamous character, the Bunny Man, have been knowingly reported throughout the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. area.

While sightings have quite a large radius, their one main epicenter is the one lane railroad viaduct at the end of Colchester Road in Fairfax Station, VA. Isolated, and somewhat neglected, this structure has been titled the Bunny Man’s main abode, and is known by locals and thrill seekers as Bunny Man Bridge.

As the story goes, this site is supposedly where the Bunny Man committed his various homicides (circa 1904-1970s/1980s), took his own life, and now resides as an axe-wielding apparition. And for thirty years, all of this was believed to be true. The legend had been passed down from one generation to the next. Bits and pieces were added on, different variations of the legend came about, and then finally someone questioned its validity.

A Fairfax County Historian and Archivist, Brian A. Conley, wrote a detailed and fact-ridden research essay in order to de-bunk the legend. Making statements such as “there never has been or/was a mental institute in or in the surrounding areas of Clifton and Fairfax Station, VA” and that “no such murders are on record”.

He also stated that Lorton Prison would never have been a location to ship mental convicts to since (a. it didn’t exist until after 1904, which means the 1904 version of the legend is fake, and b. it only held prisoners, not mental patients). Citing actual records and historical documents, Conley quieted the legend for the most part, except for one part that has kept it ever so alive since the publication of his essay.

Upon his deep research, Conley stumbled upon a Washington Post newspaper article from the early 70s pertaining to the Bunny Man. The article described the two incidents of a man dressed in a white bunny costume, vandalizing property. One incident he threw a hatchet through the passenger window of a parked car with a young couple in it, on Guinea Road in Fairfax, VA. Another incident, the same man in a bunny costume, vandalized property at a construction site, while at the same time threatening a security guard on site and telling him that he was trespassing.

Both incidents happened within a close vicinity of each other, a few days apart, and were believed to be committed by the same person. While the location and action of these events are nothing like the rumored serial killings that supposedly occurred at the railroad overpass in Fairfax Station on Halloween Night, Mr. Conley blames such events as the main source of the legend.

Many have believed his findings, and majority of the paranoia and fear associated with the myth have disappeared from locals minds. But there still remains the question of if. What if Mr. Conley misguided us accidentally in the wrong direction? What if the man dressed in the bunny costume in Fairfax, was just a copycat of the real Bunny Man? What if the two stories, of the man in Fairfax, and the murders in Clifton/Fairfax Station mingled, and became the story we know today? This question of if has kept this legend alive.

And this question of if has inspired me to prove certain facts Mr. Conley did not notice and did not mention. These facts, be them similar to the legend, are hard to not notice. Is Mr. Conley, someone who works for Fairfax County, trying to cover something up? Something, such as the truth? The question remains, and now is the time for answers.

Part II

The Counter Argument

The counter argument to Mr. Conley’s de-bunking the legend case will be split into various sections. Each will start with a statement along the lines of what Mr. Conley said, and others will be common rumor that have been spread to prove certain parts of the legend wrong. While some parts of the legend are by all means fake/ added on gossip, some parts of the story may have some truth/connection behind them. And that is the main focus of this essay; the possibility about truth and connection between the legend and actual events/places.

Mental Institutes in Clifton/Fairfax Station, VA

According to Mr. Conley and other sources, there has never been an organization such as a mental institute in Fairfax County, especially in the Clifton/Fairfax station area. This statement is true in technical terms, for there never actually has been a registered/organized mental institute/hospital in the county.

While such a fact is true, there is a second side to this fact. There have been organizations like mental institutes in the county, two of which were located specifically in Clifton and Fairfax Station, in areas of the region that could have connections to the legend.

The first organization of interest is Ivakota Farm. Ivakota Farm was a organization set up in the early 1900s that served as a home for single mothers (many of which had children), troubled women, and delinquent women who had either gone their by choice, or were sentenced there by court order.

This opens a gateway of possibilities. Rumors of women being abused by workers (most likely men) at the facility (whether true or not) have been heard of. Such rumors, and the fact that troubled/delinquent women resided there opens another possibility. The combination of the two, could mean that there were murders committed by male workers upon the women at the facility, and violence that could have occurred at the farm. Whether such possible events occurred between the workers and the women, or the women amongst themselves, is up for one to decide. But such possible abuse, possible murder, and a crowd of troubled (possibly mentally ill) and delinquents, sounds a lot like the Bunny Man legend (which mentions a mental institute-like organization in Clifton that was either closed down in 1904 or the 1970s).

Another coincidence is the dates just mentioned. 1904 and the 1970s are key in this legend, for these are the years the mental institute was rumored to close, and the murders supposedly occurred. They also are key in the history of Ivakota Farm. Ivakota Farm was opened around 1904, in the early 1900s, and closed down around the 1960s and 1970s. It is strange, the two dates appear both in the history of this mental institute-like organization and the Bunny Man Legend one might think.

What also is strange, is that Ivakota Farm is located by the railroad tracks that run through Clifton; another key element in the legend (for, the train tracks, is the spot where the buses transferring the mental patients supposedly crashed and where the murders were supposedly committed), and just like in the story is located near several train bridges (where the murders were supposedly committed), some of them being located over creeks (which one variation of the legend states is where the murders actually occurred; at a bridge over a creek). As far out as these possibilities and theories may seem; they are very hard to miss, especially for a professional researcher like Mr. Conley.
The second organization, that Mr. Conley did not mention, is one that is really hard to miss, due to its supposed old location and its mental institute-like set up. The second organization is that of the poor house (the existed circa late 1800s throughout some of the 1900s; just like the time of the legend), that used to sit right near the site of the well-known Bunny Man Bridge.

Like any poor house, shelters like this tended to take in people of poverty, illness, mental instability, occasionally convicts, and those of great age and weakness. Notice the mentioning of people mental instability and convicts. Now how can you miss that! Two very key elements of this legend; the mentally insane and convicts residing in a public organization that is quite similar to a mental institute, located right next to Bunny Man Bridge. This legend could easily have been morphed into what it is now by situations like that.

In fact to make the convict theory even more plausible, would it help to mention that the Sheriff owned land right next to this poor house? Wouldn’t it seem likely, that he might keep the convicts for a night or two in that building to keep them on close watch? And wouldn’t it seem likely, that if he did do that, that there was a good chance of them escaping?

If, this isn’t obvious, then what is? While it is not a proven fact (the mentally insane/convict part) it sure seems likely, or likely enough that it could be the root of such a legend. Yet Mr. Conley didn’t mention any of it! And yet this institution was located right next to where the Bunny Man Bridge is!

How could he miss that key of a detail? It is not t hat hard to discover. If a regular civilian, like me, can find information on the existence of such an organization, then it should have been a piece of cake for a professional researcher like Mr. Conley (who has easy access to county public records) to stumble upon something this significant.



The Wrong Bridge?

With this topic of the bridge on mind, another factor in the case is brought up. What if the location of the bridge is wrong? Different variations of the legend state that the bridge is located somewhere else, either deep in the woods, over a wide creek, or is simply just another railroad bridge in the area. If this is true, the whole legend and investigation can be altered. If one plays the role of investigator in this case, they must now consider every railroad bridge in Clifton and Fairfax Station as a suspect.

Here is a list of known railroad bridges and their locations in Clifton or Fairfax Station:

Bridge Site One: Outside of Clifton Park in Downtown Clifton, VA. It is significant because of its close location to Ivakota Farm (the mental institute-like organization); thus being a good candidate for possibly being a source of the legend.

Bridge Site Two: Crossing Popes Head Creek, this bridge abutment is significant due to its age and characteristics. Like in certain variations of the legend this bridge dates back to the Civil War and post-Civil war era (early 1900s). Not only that, but is also is over a creek, which is somewhat wide (for the one variation of the legend states that the bridge is over a wide creek), and therefore resembles the bridge described in that variation of the legend.

Located northeast of Clifton, and visible from Chapel Park, this bridge has two sister bridges that are of the same or similar age and characteristics (one of them for sure being over a creek). One of these bridges is located very close to the known Bunny Man Bridge. Funny enough it looks very similar to Bunny Man Bridge, and therefore poses the theory that the known Bunny Man Bridge, is a mistake, due to its similarity to this other bridge, and that this other bridge is in fact the real bridge.

Bridge Site Three: Located within Hemlock Overlook Regional Park/ Bull Run Regional Park this bridge is significant, because it too is around the same age as the legend (circa post-Civil War/ early 1900s). Located somewhat near Ivakota Farm (the mental institute-like organization), this bridge can be associated with the possibility that something violent occurred involving people from Ivakota Farm, and happened at this bridge, thus sparking the roots of the legend.

Other Bridge Sites: There are many other bridges in Clifton and Fairfax Station, that withhold the same or similar age and characteristics of the bridges listed. Due to their hard to reach locations (many times being on private property) or bad conditions (i.e.: falling apart, rotting, or nearly disappeared) such bridges, and their possible ties/connections to the legend cannot be looked into more.










Bunny Man Bridge’s Other History: Another Explanation For Paranormal Activity?

Another problem with Mr. Conley’s research is that he fails to explain Bunny Man Bridge’s other history. Such history that it happens to occur right around when the legend supposedly began (post-Civil War era). In the Civil War, the site of Bunny Man Bridge was the location of a train station, owned by the U.S> Military. This railroad track had been one of the Union’s main supply routes in the region. Confederate attacks on such bridges and stations were common, and in one case a small skirmish with some known casualties occurred at this train station right next to where Bunny Man Bridge was. The station’s name was Sangsters Station.

Easy to look up, yet forgotten in history, this station may be a partial cause in paranormal activity at the bridge (due to the casualties experienced there during the Civil War, in other words Civil War ghost may haunt the bridge). Once again, Mr. Conley failed to mention this about the bridge, along with not mention the old poor house either.

This structure once existing (even after the Civil War) leads to the possibility of another possible murder site, that could have helped sparked the story that developed into the legend. How a man in bunny costume wielding an axe comes into the story, beats me. But, there is always possibility!


The Murders

While there are no recorded murders of such deaths as described in the legend, as stated by Mr. Conley, this does not mean an end to the issue. Who said the murders, or murders that morphed into the legend, were recorded? In the time that legend supposedly takes place, murder cases were not always recorded, authorities weren’t always contacted, and investigations weren’t always solved like they are now. Once again, such circumstances lead to a greater chance of the legend actually being based on some truth.





Ending Statement and Conclusion

While the situations and theories I have presented are based on few facts, and are more so hypothetical and possible situations, it still doesn’t mean their probability of occurrence is extremely low. It is from these facts, locations, and theories listed that most likely is where the roots of the legend began.
Events and locations could have occurred years ago. Something as simple as a town murder could have been blown out of proportion and caused this legend of an axe-wielding maniac in a bunny costume. But it is not the whole idea of the legend, I’m trying to prove is possibly true; it’s the simple events and locations it’s based off of that I’m trying to prove true.

This story has to be based off of something; somebody just didn’t get up out of bed one day and write this legend. And even if they did; they couldn’t have based it that simply on the report of a guy who showed up in a bunny costume in Fairfax. They had to get the mental institute, the bridge, and gruesome murders story from somewhere. Even if the part about the man in the bunny costume is fake, and the part about the mental institute, the train bridge, and the murders is true; then at least there is some truth there.

And that’s what matters; the truth. What is the real truth behind this legend, and why do people like Mr. Conley and Fairfax County Police Officers skim over the certain factors like Ivakota Farm, the old Poor House, Sangster Station, and the other bridges when they talk about the legend? Is comes off as mysterious. It appears there is more to the story. Truth. Yes. Truth. And the situations, facts, and locations stated here, are just a little bite of what could be the actual truth.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Jester ()
Date: April 09, 2009 10:32AM

You got be nutz to want to talk about this place.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 10:38AM

I remembered the thread that was on here about HistoricAerials.com, did some patient poking around and this is what I came up with. The HistoricaAerials website is not the best, although it is pretty useful and interesting. I couldn't create a link to the photo that I found, but what I did find is what appears to be a picture from 1949 (as far back as that area goes) of what appears to be a large farm that existed between Balmarol Forest Road and Balmoral Woods Lane. If you look at a current Google Maps satellite picture you'll see a wooded area at the fork of the two roads south of where Compton Rd. and Balmoral Forest Road by the powerlines, so I'm pretty sure that's it. Jimmy, let me what you think. Here's a shot at linking the current Google image: (it's about 500 ft. North of the "A")

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=%22Horseback+Riding%22+%2B+%22Clifton,+VA%22&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&view=map&ei=GundSfzWOIvglQeZr9icDg&cd=1

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 10:42AM

Damn. That Google link didn't pinpoint like I thought it would, but just use the street names I gave the best you can.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 09, 2009 12:01PM

Look the area up near Compton Road where Balmoral Estates is like Sculler said. That should be Ivakota, the area you most likely visited in the past.

But if it is not, that means there could be a whole other twist to the legend and the truth behind it.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 12:31PM

After comparing the photos from the 40's and 60's to today's Google shots, it seems like the farm and most of the buildings sat between the two ponds on eithor side of Balmoral Forest Road. According to Google, there are a bunch of new homes there now. In their backyards there could be the ruins of something, and as tempting as it is to go back there I can tell you by the type of houses that the homeowners probably wouldn't care for it. The thought of approaching from West through the woods however...
There also might be something left between Balmoral Woods Lane and Balmoral Forest Lane. I'll let you know what I find.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Britdrnva ()
Date: April 09, 2009 02:09PM

Okay, this is kind of fun.

I was looking at the Google Maps, and I think I've found remnants of an old building.

Looking at Google Maps at the intersection of Compton Rd & Balmoral Forest Rd., heading in a southbound direction. The 4th house on the left, zoom in to the closest setting and pan westward. You can make out a distinct rectangular pattern in the earth (it's not natural because nature isn't so geometrical). It would be possible to approach this from the woods and not got caught.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: clifton ()
Date: April 09, 2009 02:41PM

There are some ruins off Kincheloe Road and Yates Ford Road near hemlock. Its near a field behind a gate that you can get to by driving down a gravel road that goes near powerlines. Its also right off of a trail. But there were no buses......

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: DirtMcGirt ()
Date: April 09, 2009 02:42PM

That place doesn't have shit on 'The Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland' on Crownsville Road in Maryland. I saw this place on my way to the Renaissance festival over there and was like wtf is this place? There were burnt up tobacco fields, crazy looking structures that resemble war bunkers, shit straight out of a horror movie. Looked it up online and saw what it really used to be. Crazy shit went on in there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crownsville_Hospital_Center

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: pgens ()
Date: April 09, 2009 02:43PM

I am actually posting from the location. I thought everyone here was.

gonnatraxU.jpgnoprivacytracker.jpg

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 09, 2009 02:48PM


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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 09, 2009 03:29PM

Britdrnva,

Looking at that historical photo, that rectangle that you're pointing out seems to be just on the edge of where the original farm was. So it may very well be part of it. I'll have to check it out. Going in from the West around the pond seems possible without alerting the homeowners, and you can always play dumb if they say anything.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Anonymous ()
Date: April 09, 2009 03:40PM

ushering in the new class of ghost hunters...

search the topic (threads by Robert Greyberg) for pages and pages of information and even a goddamn dissertation by Bobby G.

If you want to get to the old shit house walk down the rail road tracks (left from clifton store) until you get to the pond on the right. Above the pond is a trail that will take you to the area. a barn still sits there that was part of the "insane asylum" aka the home for battered woman and their kids in the early 1900s. you can walk in there. look out for the turkey voulchers roosting on the top floor. there arent any neighbors around and if they do show tellum to go fuck themselves cuz yore lookin for teh bunnyman

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: TheMeeper ()
Date: April 09, 2009 03:55PM

Dirt McGirt Wrote:
>> The Hospital for the Negro Insane


The rap group Cypress Hill wrote a song about that place.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 04:28PM

Well, I've done my quota of dorkiness for the week..

I dropped by Fairfax City Library, up in the Virginia room, and found the old Ivakota Farm on an arial map. The arrangement of the buildings looks pretty much like the way I remembered. Down a long drive that veers to the right once you get to the end, to a big central farmhouse-ish building, with some buildings off to the right with some buses around them, and a longer garage-like building to the left of the house, with more buses.

Because I am a giant nerd, I scanned in the 1980 Arial Photo, a 1980 Plot map and then a 2008 Plot map which shows the new Balmoral Greens development, then superimposed them all on top of eachother...

ogko4p.jpg

Then I actually drove down there to poke around. The houses down there are not McMansions, they're McEstates. There's even still a horse trail that appears at Balmoral Forest Rd & Ivakota Farm Rd and goes down into the woods. They've widened Compton Rd for the development, so the road does not have nearly the same lonely feel that it did back in 1994.

The house that now sits atop the location of the Ivakota Farm is pictured here:

http://i43.tinypic.com/ionk81.jpg

I walked along the horse trail a bit, which follows the creek. There are some odd things in the woods, but I don't know if they're related to Ivakota or are for horses.

http://i41.tinypic.com/2wbwcar.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/1hs9jc.jpg

The black line that goes from the main Ivakota building to Compton Road was the driveway, and the old cemetery shows up on the plot map as the red rectangle on the southwest corner of the intersection of the driveway and Compton Rd. It's still there, surrounded by a new black fence. There were no visible grave markers at all. In fact, I think back in 1994 we might have parked directly on top of the graves. Woops, sorry ladies.

Didn't see any bunny men.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2009 04:49PM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: pgens ()
Date: April 09, 2009 04:42PM

jimmy jingles Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The house that now sits atop the location of the
> Ivakota Farm is pictured here:
>
> http://i43.tinypic.com/ionk81.jpg

If I see anyone snappin pictures of my house again there's gonna be a shootin'.

gonnatraxU.jpgnoprivacytracker.jpg

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: CliftonResident ()
Date: April 09, 2009 07:06PM

Those are just the ruins of an old house--not related at all to Ivakota Farm.


Clifton Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think these are where the ruins are I was
> talking about
> http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&;
> cp=qfs7n58jh25b&style=o&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-
> 1000&scene=22909305&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: clifton ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:33PM

Are the buses still there?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Dr.Good ()
Date: April 09, 2009 08:44PM

Its actually in the 2nd level basement of the govt center. J Connally was just realeased so he could go to a bigger asylum located on Capital Hill to help run our country and help determine which CEOs deserve multi million dollar bonuses///

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 09, 2009 09:05PM

To all interested in Ivakota Farm and Clifton History,

Stop by the Clifton General Store and buy either both, or one of these two books they sell there about the local history (Ivakota Farm included, with pictures and tons of information)

One is Clifton:Brigadoon In Virginia

and the other is a book titled Clifton and Illustrated History or something like that.

While Clifton: Brigadoon in Virgina has a lot of of information on Ivakota Farm, the Clifton Illustrated History book has both many pictures of Ivakota Farm and information.

And for any Bunny Man lovers... come see the Bunny Man film at the Clifton Film Festival this July!!!!

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Expensive Jeans ()
Date: April 09, 2009 09:25PM

Robert, I will be at the Bunny Man showing in Clifton without question. Is this your production, or something you were involved with?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: KeepOnTruckin ()
Date: April 09, 2009 10:17PM

Jimmy, may I ask if this is the horse trail you spoke of:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=38.783797,-77.411885&spn=0.000605,0.001422&t=h&z=20

it starts where the red truck is parked

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 09, 2009 11:01PM

That might be the continuation, I only explored the area at the intersection of Balmoral Woods Ln (aka Ivakota Farm Rd.. I just noticed it has two names) and Balmoral Forest Rd.


Here's a link: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=38.790538,-77.4066&spn=0.000583,0.001298&z=20 You can see the path, a fainter narrower line just to the left of the creek. If you go down there, there's a random bench right at the head of the trail at the corner.

At the time I was there, I thought the horses came down Balmoral Forest Rd, but now that I look at the map, you can see the rest of the horse trail on the other side of the street, directly across from the next house up and its weird squiggly sidewalk or gravelbed.. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=38.791305,-77.405639&spn=0.000583,0.001298&z=20

When I was driving away, I noticed some little things in the woods over there but I was getting short on time and in a bit of a rush.

The place where that truck is farther down than I went. I just walked around for a few minutes before turning back.

I'm just guessing but I get the idea that its legal to follow those horse paths. If the horse riders are doing it (And there are no obvious horsepens in that neighborhood) it must be somewhat public. There are no signs of any kind to warn you away.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2009 11:10PM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 07:55AM

Wow, Jimmy. I thought I went out of my way to drive down there in my truck and drive around the block. But I didn't go to the extent that you did by any means. Above and beyond, bravo. Thanks for the map.

I wasn't sure about getting out of the truck because as you saw for yourself someone who doesn't live in that development well stick out like a sore thumb. But you can't miss the cemetary or the marker at the entrance to the development, and the entrance to that horse trail is easy to spot with that bench there. As the map you found confirms, I guess all the original buildings are gone. I was hoping that they'd have been a little further South of the new homes.

My question for you, Jimmy, is where were those "cells"? I guess from your original post they were part of the main building that's long gone, but I wasn't sure. Also, the horse trail with the bench at the entrance, that's the one that you went down in '94, right? Because when I left there and headed down Compton torward Centreville there's that sharp bend at the bottom of the road with a horse gate and I wasn't sure if that was the one you were talking about.

BritDrnva: as for the rectangular foundation on the 5th lot down, according to Jimmy's map that's very close to where those two smaller buildings were. It seems very likely to me that that's gotta be some kind of ruin from Ivakota, which makes exploring it from the West very tempting. There are alot of NO TRESPASSING signs as you head West on Compton, so getting back there could be tricky. If I poke around over the weekend I'll let you know what it is.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 09:50AM

From what I can tell by looking at the aerial photos from over the past 60 years, the group of large dark trees (pine, maybe?) that are between the 4th and 5th lots on Balmoral Forest Road are the same trees that lined the driveway to the farm. Makes you wonder if there's any trace of the original driveway still there by the trees, which are also just short of the mysterious rectangular foundation shown on Google.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: KeepOnTruckin ()
Date: April 10, 2009 10:00AM

Next FU meetup in Balmoral at Compton Rd!

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 10, 2009 12:38PM

You can also get to the neighborhood through the trails in Hemlock Overlook. Somebody should do a trip down to the Fairfax City Library and look up property records, murder records, inmate records etc. on this place. I'll try to do this when I get a chance.

This place's ties to the Bunny man Legend really interest me.

And yes, expensive jeans, this is a friend and mines production in his sister's film festival, the Clifton Film Fest. We would love for you to come, and will make sure to credit you for the research you did (on the Hemlock Overlook: The Real Bunnyman Bridge Thread and elsewhere).

It would be nice to have your real name or just your first name and last initial (if you are worried about privacy/online identity safety issues) so we can credit you more properly than just "expensive jeans" and also the same for KeepOnTruckin who did a lot of research as well.

Thanks. And let's keep researching this thing. This place and legend definently have some interesting roots and perhaps some interesting facts behind them with ties to the legend or local history.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 10, 2009 01:33PM

Hey, I did a bunch of stuff too! I made a map! :) But you don't have to credit me.. If my RL name was on here I might have to actually be polite in other threads, and we can't have that.

As for the cells, I wish I could tell you we were down there to document history, but we were pretty much there just to get intoxicated and scare eachother in the darkness. They were just small rooms in the basement with freaky big heavy doors. I don't want to officially claim they were cells, so for the historians on this board, take that with a grain of salt.

We didn't actually follow the horse trail to get in. The horse trail was only a landmark. There used to be a sign (before they widened that road) warning of horse riders, and then immediately after that was a ruined gate surrounded by dense woods. You just drove over the gate and parked behind the bushes, which would have been right around that cemetery.

If you want to find the same aerial photo I found, go up to the VA room and go back to the maps. There's an old 1980 county map book sitting on top of the flat shelves with most of its pages loose and ripped. Map #75 has the 1980 property map AND the aerial photo.

Also, about that other gate just farther up Compton, with the No Tresspassing signs.. At first I thought THAT might be the gate to the ruins. It looks almost exactly like the gate I remember. However, driving past it looks like there is nothing beyond that gate except a power line easement, and on google maps and live view I can't see anything interesting in there, but there might be clues.

I actually looked up the property records for that owner, and its "MA PROPERTIES" of Alexandria, and lists the zoning as "vacant land".. The address there is 13419 Compton. FYI, the ORIGINAL address of Ivakota looks like it was 13211 Compton, which might help in looking up property records. (From the 1980 plat map)

While I'm dorking about with property records, the Ivakota Cemetary is tax map ID "0751 11 D" and was transferred on 08/16/1996 to the homeowners assn, deed book and page "09782P-1215" which will give you a starting point to tracing ownership back. You can look up recorded deeds/property records in the research room on the third floor of the county courthouse and they have all the records going back to 1742! (open till 4:30pm)

I guess around 1996 is when they started tearing everything up for those lovely houses.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2009 01:36PM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 01:53PM

I feel like the best way to get a look at what's behind the property lines of those homes (thanks to your map) is by getting on that dirt road under the power lines and walking in. It's not private property and hopefully parking down that dirt road won't attract as much attention as a stranged parked car on the street. According to the photos I'm hoping there's a chance there's stuff back there that's been undisturbed throughout the years.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 10, 2009 02:13PM

I love urban exploration myself, and a tip: If you've got a golden retriever or some other friendly big dog, take it with you to explore..

Nobody walking a big friendly dog is ever doing anything illegal :) Plus, it gives you a great excuse for being in wooded areas, since dogs love to explore as much as people do.

Edit:

I was just talking to a local friend who lives in Clifton. I mentioned all this to him, and he said it explains why one of his friends found "some random lamp posts" in the woods around Balmoreal. I told him to ask his friend for more detail and get back to me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2009 02:18PM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 02:19PM

Good thinking. However, I am short one big friendly dog. I plan on scoping out the road under the power lines on the way home and concocting some kind of alibi tonight in case I get caught tomorrow.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: suggestion ()
Date: April 10, 2009 02:48PM

maybe if you search on www.historicaerials.com you can find what you were looking for (not the best site but might help...)

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 03:08PM

I actually found about that website from this forum. I've been on HistoicAerials.com since Jimmy first started talking about Ivakota. It's how I came to the conclusion about the trees between lots 4 and 5 being the originals that lined a part of the driveway to the farm. The website has been helpful, in both the search and testing me patience with it's lack of speed.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 10, 2009 03:10PM

Actually.. This website is great, once you get over the old interface..

They have an awesome feature where you can compare two aerial photos, using a sliding bar you can move back and forth to see EXACTLY where everything was compared to where things are now..

1. Click this link: http://www.historicaerials.com/?poi=5070
2. Click the "compare two years" button at the top right-hand side of the image
3. Close the info box that pops up.
4. Make sure 1949 is chosen on one side, and then choose 2005 on the other
5. Click and hold on the red arrow at the top of the screen, and slide back and forth.

NEAT!

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 10, 2009 03:20PM

OK, I take it back. That is cool.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 13, 2009 01:54PM

Thats just a trail that leads in to the back side of bull run regional park.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 13, 2009 01:55PM

KeepOnTruckin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jimmy, may I ask if this is the horse trail you
> spoke of:
> http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=38.78
> 3797,-77.411885&spn=0.000605,0.001422&t=h&z=20
>
> it starts where the red truck is parked

Thats just a trail that leads in to the back side of bull run regional park.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 13, 2009 01:57PM

Sculler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I feel like the best way to get a look at what's
> behind the property lines of those homes (thanks
> to your map) is by getting on that dirt road under
> the power lines and walking in. It's not private
> property and hopefully parking down that dirt road
> won't attract as much attention as a stranged
> parked car on the street. According to the photos
> I'm hoping there's a chance there's stuff back
> there that's been undisturbed throughout the
> years.

What dirt road are you talking about? You have a link to it on a map?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 14, 2009 07:20AM

I apologize. I don't know how to do the map linking thing well enough to make it clear, but I'm trying to learn.

The dirt road that I was referring to is the one under the power lines. If you go into the neighborhood by taking a left on to Balmoral Forest Road, then a right on to Balmoral Woods Lane that will then become Ivakota Farm Road you will come to a type of turn around coldasac under the power lines. My original plan was to follow that dirt road under the power lines and then cut through the woods to the back of the houses. However, when I drove to the entrance of the dirt road there were NO TRESSPASSING signs, so I decided against that approach. I may try an approach from the Compton Road side but I need to figure out where to park so someone doesn't get upest.

An exciting find on my part:

I'm 99.9% sure I found the original driveway.
If you enter the neighborhood and begin driving down Balmoral Forest Road, it's between the 4th and 5th houses on the right. It was the historical aerial maps that helped my find it. The pine trees that lined the driveway were on every map throughout the past 40 years. So when I drove past the 4th house on the right, I saw the pine tress and there are clearly ruts in the lawn right under those trees. If you drive by at the right speed (fast enough so as not to alarm anyone but slow enough to get a good look) you can see that these ruts are obviously not part of the carefully landscaped lawn that belongs to a McEstate.
Granted, they're only ruts of an old road that are in someone's lawn, but after all this talk it was pretty cool to see SOMETHING.

Somebody drive by there and let me know what you think. Make sure you look for the tall old pine trees between the 4th and 5th house on the right and you'll see the ruts in the grass.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 14, 2009 02:00PM

Instead of parking on ivakota farms you can just keep going to balmoral forest road park on side of the power lines there. If you can't park there you could park off of union mill powerlines or balmoral greens avenue power lines, but thats a farther walk but its legal to park there. I also remember seeing some old driveway thing in that area. I'll have to find it though. I never checked it out, I just saw it from the road.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 14, 2009 02:10PM

Could try that. That way if you get caught near the power lines you can claim you didn't know you weren't supposed to be there, since the NO TRESSPASSING signs are at the entrance to the dirt road at the end of Ivakota Farm Road.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: slightlystoopid09 ()
Date: April 14, 2009 04:11PM

Wait..is it there?
Im in photo and would love to do a shott there.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 15, 2009 11:26AM

I don't how nice of a photo it would turn out to be. It's really just about a twenty foot stretch of ruts that used to be the driveway from what I can tell. Plus you'd have to deal with the homeowner wanting to know what the hell you were doing taking pictures of his yard. But if you can get a picture of it please post it, that'd be sweet.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: slightlystoopid09 ()
Date: April 15, 2009 12:13PM

So wait, the busses and stuff arent there?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 15, 2009 01:23PM

Nope. Just McMansions that were built nine years ago. The busses and buildings haven't been there for at least 13 years, according to Jimmy. As far as I know, the 20ft of ruts is all you're gonna see at the top of the driveway of the 5th house on the right on Balmoral Forest Road. It's the only original trace of the farm that's left. Sorry for the disappointment, it's stung a bit for me too.

However, if your heart's set on old busted up busses and piles of wreckage I suggest going half a mile West on Compton past Balmoral Forest Road. On the left on the corner is an old house with a couple of busses and a rack of other busted up wrecks on the property. But you may have to shoot your photos from the road since it's private property and a classic "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" kinda place.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 16, 2009 06:38PM

I was actually kind of surprised at the bizarre mix of "Texas Chainsaw" shacks with trash all over the yard with multi-million dollar horse farms. Then again I'm from townhouseville where everything looks the same...

I still think if you just knocked on someone's door in Balmoral and said you're a history nerd looking for remnants from the old Ivakota farm, I'm sure they'd let you prowl around their backyard. Worst that they can do is say no..

Good find on the ruts, I got so busy that I haven't had time, but I've been half tempted to go snoop in the property records to see what Ivakota Farm's property might have been during its life.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: old school ()
Date: April 16, 2009 10:38PM

I grew up in the Clifton area in the 70's and 80's and explored many deserted and abandoned buildings, Ivakota Farm being just one them. Unfortunately most of these sites are long gone. Will share some of memories and stories upon request.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: share ()
Date: April 16, 2009 11:25PM

Here's the request. Share them, please.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 17, 2009 07:25AM

I second that, Old School. Bring 'em on.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 17, 2009 08:03AM

Jimmy, knocking on the guy's door is tempting, but nowadays I just don't know about that sorta thing. It'd be really cool if the guy knew and appreciated what used to be there and was fascinated that somebody else was interested, but in a stuffy looking neighborhood like that I'm thinking probably not. On the other hand I hope I'm wrong.

So let me be the first to nominate you to knock on the man's door, Jimmy. As you've had first hand experience back in the day with Ivakota Farm, you're the man for job as far as I'm concerned. Godspeed! :) (I'm a chickenshit.)

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: AkbarSnackbar ()
Date: April 17, 2009 08:50AM

why not write them a letter. Come up with some fancy looking stationary using MS Word, call it the Clifton Historical Society, and explain that you're working on a project to discover the remains of the Ivonka Farms.

I did that in grad school when I was collecting soil samples, and I found that it was much more effective to spend 5 dollars on postage and get their permission to be on their property, rather than goign door to door saying "hi, I'm a complete stranger who appeared at your door and I'd like to snoop around with a shovel."

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 17, 2009 09:13AM

These people paid premo for those houses. I think they're gonna want more than a piece of paper, no matter how official it looks. Plus if they do take the time to sniff you out and find that you're a fraud, you'll really wish you'd taken Jimmy's advice by the time the law's done with you.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 17, 2009 10:18AM

You could check with the Clifton/ Fairfax Historical Society or visit the Virginia Room in the Fairfax City Library where all the old records and microfilms are.

But what exactly are you all looking for? I wanna see if this place is connected to the Bunny Man Legend.

Also, if you go to Hemlock Overlook Park (which is right down the road) there are some remains of buildings that could have been part of the farm (it was a big farm, about 400 Acres according to the Clifton History Book sold in Dowtown Clifton at the General Store). You could also ask a local historian or one of the Hemlock Overlook Park Rangers too.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 17, 2009 11:33AM

A new entry in the arrest/ticket search: "IMPERSONATION OF HISTORIAN"

Sculler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> These people paid premo for those houses. I think
> they're gonna want more than a piece of paper, no
> matter how official it looks. Plus if they do
> take the time to sniff you out and find that
> you're a fraud, you'll really wish you'd taken
> Jimmy's advice by the time the law's done with
> you.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 17, 2009 12:34PM

Robert, it seems I may have found the ruts that were once part of the original driveway. As I've said before, at the top of the driveway of the 5th house on right off of Balmoral Forest, under the tall old pines, you should be able to see them.

I'm interested in these old buildings that you're talking about at Hemlock. I'm gonna have to get on HistoricAerials and check those out. Any information on where they are in Hemlock would be great if you can remember where abouts they are.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: old school ()
Date: April 17, 2009 11:52PM

Sculler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I second that, Old School. Bring 'em on.

OK... Here is one of them.
For many of us that lived around Clifton in those days, Dirt bikes and 3 Wheelers were a way of life. You could ride from Cifton to Manassas to Centreville all by trails and without seeing a single house. The forest were absolutely vast. We spent all summer on our bikes, exploring, camping, hunting, fishing, metal detecting etc.
Many of our destinations were old historic ruins where we would stop hang out and investigate. Ivakota was just one of these. There were several ponds on the property and these were very good for fishing. The Barrett Chapel was the main building that we would hang out at, but there were many smaller sheds/outbuildings, and two very big barns. I never went into the bigger barns because they were well off of the path and surrounded by brush. I now regret not doing so. I had heard that one of the barns had a basketball court in it. I had always wanted to check it out but just never did. In the back of the property, about a mile off of Compton Rd. There was a small complex of barns and outbuildings that were built in the 40's or 50's. These were located on top of a major Civil war Artillery fort/ bomb-proof bunker. There was a huge civil war trench about fifty feet in front of the barn. One thing that was interesting... on a table in the barn was a vast assortment of artifacts found by metal detectorists. Basically after days of metal detecting, these guys would throw down their finds, sort through them, take the good items (bullets, uniform buttons, belt buckles, coins,etc. and leave the less desireable finds on the table (hundreds of items). It was always cool and interesting to go through these left-over discards. These artifacts told a history of the farm and the area.
One thing that you had to watch out for in those days (apparently) was an extremely hostile older man that lived close by and "watched over" the Ivakota property. I've heard stories from friends... while they were fishing, or hanging out, that a man approached with a shot-gun and shot over there heads to scare them out. I also heard a story that some teenagers were caught at Ivakota by this guy and held at gun point in one of the barns for several hours before being let go. This stuff went on for years. Fortunately, I never met up with this guy but I would always look over my shoulder while on the Ivakota property.
About 300 yards beyond the smaller barn (which Balmoral tore down) are the remains of the old Detwiller house and farm. Some foundations and the old well still exist (on N. Va. Park Authority property) This farm property and house served as Civil war Headquarters and camp throughout most of the Civil War. The old abandoned Union Mills Road runs immediately beside the foundation. This house overlooked the Union Mills mill site/ military supply depot which was on the other side of the RR tracks.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: AkbarSnackbar ()
Date: April 18, 2009 11:14AM

Sculler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> These people paid premo for those houses. I think
> they're gonna want more than a piece of paper, no
> matter how official it looks. Plus if they do
> take the time to sniff you out and find that
> you're a fraud, you'll really wish you'd taken
> Jimmy's advice by the time the law's done with
> you.

I did part of my graduate work on soils in Saddle River, NJ. If you're not familiar with their tax bracket, it makes Great Falls look like Manassas. The only houses that weren't 30 million dollar Mansions (litterally) were the original smaller houses that were built in the 20's and 30's, and were still occupied by the original owners or their kids.

I sent about 80 letters on regular, dot matrix paper, with no credentials, school letterhead, or anything besides "Hi, I'm a graduate student at the university of maryland doing research on glacial till geochemistry... blah, blah, blah, I'd like to come on your land and take some samples... blah, blah, blah... can I please have permission to do so... blah, blah, blah.... here is my contact information, please call me, or my advisor, or the chair of the chemistry department, if you have any questions. I also included a stamped return envelope. The envelope that I sent it out in was not a U of Maryland envelope, but the return address was my mailbox in the chemistry dept. That was the only thing involved that was slightly legitimate.

Over 40 of the letters were returned saying i could go on their property and dig holes. Only TWO of them called me up to verify anything, and one of them was an exec with Pfizer who was originally a research chemist before he went into management and was interested in my project.

Granted, this was in the early 90's before email and mass paranoia. But if people wealthy and powerful enough to have private armed security didn't really think it was necessary to do any kind of background check on the persian individual who randomly asked to drive 1 inch coring tubes into their backyards, then I find it highly unlikely that a few dentists and accountants will call up the FBI when they get a letter asking them about the foundations to a farm that their road is named after.

Unless of course they are on FU also. Then it's a different story. Sorry for trying to help.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 20, 2009 07:42AM

Thanks for the nostalgia fix, Old School. It's hard to believe this place once looked like that. I plan on stopping by the Clifton General Store and checking out that book that Robert Greyburg reccomended on Ivakota. After all this talk I'm anxious to final see some actual pictures.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 20, 2009 01:05PM

Those books really will give you a better idea of the place, Sculler, especially the Clifton Illustrated History one.

But what I am curious about is this.

JimmyJingles said that he remembers seeing D.C. Department of Corrections buses on the property. Even though some of the women "tenants" were "criminals" or sentenced by the courts, I doubt there was any need to ship them over on buses, and even if they did wouldn't it be mostly Virginia court buses?

This is where the Bunny Man Legend comes back into play.

1. The legend mentions an insane asylum (which Ivakota Farm could be mis-viewed as)

2. It mentions inmates being shipped from an insane asylum to Lorton Prison by bus (it would make sense because Lorton Prison is part of the D.C. Department of Corrections, which the buses were labeled with)

3. Old School said a hostile old caretaker watched over the property and was known for threatening people. this sounds a lot like the variation of the Bunny Man, where an old hermit (who eventually became the Bunny Man) liked to scare children when they came on his property

All these descriptions sound a lot like the legend. This is getting very interesting. I think a lot is being revealed about this place, yet even so, to get behind the story we need to know more.

I hope everyone will continue with their personal stories and research, for we truly are unearthing an old urban legend here.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 20, 2009 01:13PM

Could be...

I'd like to see if the book offers any current landmarks to go off of.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 20, 2009 01:49PM

I'm sure property records would help, and or those old aerial photos, but even those are hard to find/see.

Unfortunately I think a lot was knocked down when they developed the place, but somewhere in those woods I bet there are still buildings or ruins, especially where it borders Hemlock Overlook.

You definitely need to see the books at the Clifton general Store, they will help a lot.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Clifton ()
Date: April 20, 2009 02:18PM

Where are the ruins in hemlock?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: KeepOnTruckin ()
Date: April 20, 2009 10:39PM


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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: April 20, 2009 11:50PM

I don't want to be a blasphemer or ruin anyone's childhood or anything, but....

*whispers* I don't actually think the bunnyman is real.

Some drunken prankster in a bunny suit on Guinea road menaced a night watchman and a couple making out back in the 1960's..

Some camp counselor over at Hemlock Park telling ghost stories in the 1970's incorporates this into a tale, mentioning that creepy broken-down institution in the woods nearby (Ivakota) and a one-lane bridge a bit farther down. Over time, he tells enough kids this story that it becomes a local legend.

Beware of trying to cage a fantasy. I mean, ghost stories are awesome and there's all kinds of creepy stuff that might have ACTUALLY happened, and I'm all for hunting down history, but don't go too far off into the weeds here.

That being said, I still plan on going down and doing the research on property transfers regarding Ivakota's land. :)

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 21, 2009 09:40AM

Jimmy, let us know what you find out on the property transfers.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: April 21, 2009 04:35PM

I agree with you completely Jimmy. But I wanna see what the roots are to this legend. That's what I think is cool. What were the things that people combined to make this story? What are they based off of? I really wanna hear more about this hostile caretaker guy. Who knows he could have possibly be at the roots of the legend.

Please tell us what you find out about the Ivakota Property Records. I'm gonna try and get up to the Fairfax City Library also sometime soon and check some stuff out.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: April 27, 2009 11:41AM

I stopped by the Clifton General Store and they didn't have the book with all the pictures of Ivakota in it. They had two others in stock but they had nothing on the farm in them. The book with a good number of high quality pictures (according to the clerk at the Clifton store) is one of those books that has black on the cover with 'Clifton' in red. It's part of a series that's done on the history of American towns and cities. She said it's available at Border's but the Clifton store gets new copies in every couple weeks. I'll let you know when I look at a copy.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Jeff Sledjeski ()
Date: May 05, 2009 12:24PM

This thread really brings back memories for me. My company did all the original soils work back in the 1980s and 90s for all the drainfield sites in Balmoral. I attached a partial copy of one of the plats. It shows the old driveway and the footprint of the original Main house which is now located on the West end of Lot 121. The lot lines and roadway are pretty much the same today. I spent alot of time hanging out in the building and I don't remember any cells in the basement.

I do remember that there were quite a few old foundations back in the woods. I almost dug a hole right into a grave once before I noticed an old headstone!

The plats should still be on file at the Fairfax County Health Department. Just tell them you want to see the original soils work files for Balmoral, Section 1.

Oh, and no I do not remember seeing any Bunnymen out there.
Attachments:
Ivakota Farm House.pdf

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: May 05, 2009 12:29PM

Jeff Sledjeski Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I
> spent alot of time hanging out in the building and
> I don't remember any cells in the basement.

Can you back me up on the busses with "DC Corrections" being written on them? And the main house burnt down partially and then was destroyed into rubble, no?

I am about 99% sure this is where I visited in the early 90's but since its gone I can't be sure.

Also thanks for the plat map! I still need to go down and dig up the property transfer records just for the curiosity part, but I might go down and get the rest of the plat maps from the health department. I never even know those existed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/05/2009 12:30PM by jimmy jingles.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: May 05, 2009 01:39PM

Very cool! I'm stopping by the Clifton General Store today to see if they got more copies of that book in yet.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Jeff Sledjeski ()
Date: May 05, 2009 09:12PM

I remember the old junk buses but I don't recall what they said on the sides. They were pretty busted up.

The big house (School) was still in pretty good shape until about 1994 or so when some kids torched it. They plowed it all under when they started constructing the subdivision. There were a bunch of outbuildings around it; barns, chicken coops etc.... The real old stuff is on the other side of the power lines in the woods the developers deeded to the County. There was an archeological survey done back in the early 90s but I can't remember the company that did it.

The old farm was a really beautiful piece of land. I wished we had GPS back then because all of us got lost back in the woods there at least once!

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: jimmy jingles ()
Date: May 05, 2009 09:41PM

Jeff Sledjeski Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The real old stuff is on the other
> side of the power lines in the woods the
> developers deeded to the County. There was an
> archeological survey done back in the early 90s
> but I can't remember the company that did it.

Would any of those archeological surveys, or clues to which company did it, be recorded anywhere with the county?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: GMU Hokie ()
Date: May 05, 2009 10:11PM

Jimmy and Jeff,

Check with the Virgina Room in the Fairfax City Regional Library.

You also might want to look up Brian Conley who longer works in the library but is employed now as an archivist at the Springfield branch office of Fairfax County General District Court.

Brian Conley knows where the bodies are buried, literally and figuratively. He is the guy who located the Guinea Road Cemetery.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: May 06, 2009 09:17AM

Do you remember any crazy caretaker guy or anything Jeff? Or any storys or legends about the place?

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: May 06, 2009 10:53AM

Jeff, thanks for all the info!
Do you have any more details as to where on the other side of the power lines that old stuff was? If it was in the woods I'm crossing my fingers that it might still be there and didn't get plowed over (and not off limits on someone's property). Was the old stuff on the Compton Road side of the power lines or the Hemlock side? Any details would be great.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: fireball ()
Date: May 06, 2009 07:10PM

When and where will the Clifton Film Festival take place? I remember reading about a movie about the Bunnyman Bridge.

Funny--I've lived here all my life and just recently found out about the Bunnyman Bridge. found out about it on vaburbia.com

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Jeff Sledjeski ()
Date: May 06, 2009 08:53PM

Wow. I had no idea this was going to be so many followup questions. I should have checked in sooner.

I can't remember the firm that did the archeological survey. Dewberry & Davis (now Dewberry) did all the surveying work out there. I believe Greenvest owned Balmoral at the time construction was completed. The County got a copy but I can guarantee that has been lost. You can try contacting them.

Again, I do know that the Health Department should have a good set of plats that should show most of the old houses and disturbed areas out there. They also show most if not all the grave sites. They are at the Kelley Square Bldg. in Fairfax City across from WJFK. They will make copies of any plats for $5 each. I will try to look for mine but they are buried in some boxes somewhere and are probably pretty beat up.

The "crazy caretaker guy" is probably Mr. Crouch. That is his place on Compton Road that someone here referred to as the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" House. If he is still alive he would be the person to talk to about the whole area. His family has lived there almost since the time of Lord Fairfax. Just because he has a gun does not make him crazy. He is just a strict believer in property rights. I doubt he would shoot if you knocked on his door and were polite.


The Ivakota School and all its buildings and gardens are long gone. Most of the old stuff that is left is on the surrounding park land. I don’t think any of that is disturbed. Go to the end of Balmoral Forest Road and if the old horse path is still there you can follow it along the high ground near the Railroad tracks you might find an old cemetery that had a wall around part of it and, a little ways away, an old stone house foundation. But watch out near the house; there was an old hand dug well there that was not covered. We hung a bunch of flagging around it but I’m sure that is long gone.

There is also lots of old Civil War earthworks around the lower areas and farther west near Section 5 of Balmoral. And an old asbestos mine that I believe is on or near the Golf Course. And I remember hearing about some old Indian sites being located but I don’t remember where. Ask Mr. Crouch.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Schnoid ()
Date: May 06, 2009 10:35PM

I Hear Bread People Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jimmy jingles Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> It was called, "Heart in Hand."
>
Nah, that ain't right. The Heart-in-Hand is/was an old country restaurant. I had dinner there with a friend once, back around 1995, and the place itself had been there for years at that juncture.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Schnoid ()
Date: May 06, 2009 10:45PM

fireball Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When and where will the Clifton Film Festival take
> place? I remember reading about a movie about the
> Bunnyman Bridge.
>
> Funny--I've lived here all my life and just
> recently found out about the Bunnyman Bridge.
> found out about it on vaburbia.com


The Bunnyman, IIRC, was a short-lived late-60s / early-70s phenom (if that's the right word. It was a man who dressed up in bunny suit and, in the early morning hours, would have the bad habit of appearing suddenly (such as, behind a car that was just starting to back out of its driveway) and hurl some object at whomever had the misfortune of encountering him. I think the object, in at least one case, was a hatchet.

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the Bunnyman
Posted by: GMU Hokie ()
Date: May 06, 2009 11:11PM

Go to the web site of the Fairfax County library and read the Bunnyman unmasked.

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Re: the Bunnyman
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: May 07, 2009 08:26AM

Jeff, once again you've proved to be a stockpile of information.
I had been told how big that farm was and how much property it covered, but I didn't appreciate it until I looked on Google to the end of Balmoral Forest Road and saw how far it was from the farmhouse.
Thanks for the tip on the cemetary and stone foundation near the railroad, I plan on looking for it by the weekend. The only obvious concern I have (besides finding it) are the filthy rich sour-pusses in the neighborhood. I don't think I'll have much choice but to park in the col-de-sac at the end of Balmoral Forest Road, and my truck doesn't really scream "classy". Oh well, fuck 'em.
If I can milk you for a little more info: If you look at the Google map, would the cemetary be to the East or West of the end of Balmoral Forest Road? Thanks again for the help and info.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Jeff Sledjeski ()
Date: May 07, 2009 09:50PM

I found the old field plat that I had with me when I found the graves. Sorry the file is so big but I wasn’t paying attention when I scanned it. Ignore the property lines and road and lot numbers; they all changed. The red square represents the house at 7091 Balmoral Forest Road. The red circle is where the graves are and the black circle is where the old house foundation and well are. The dashed double line is the horse trail which you can still see now on aerial photos. All that stuff is on County Park land so I guess it wouldn’t be trespassing.

Just don’t dig anything up!

And watch out for that old well. I remember talking to the site super when they were clearing and building the roads. I told him where the well was and he said that was on the land they were giving the County and it wasn’t their problem. So I doubt its been covered.
Attachments:
Old Balmoral Plat.pdf

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: May 08, 2009 07:34AM

To be honest, that first 'plat' map that you posted was a little hard for me to read (I'm a "Google Map Man" myself). But the second one made alot more sense once I clearly made out that small pond by the railroad tracks. It's a releif to see that the cemetary and the foundation of the house BARELY seemed to escape the bulldozer!
I still think that parking on Balmoral Forest Road is the lesser of so many evils when it comes to (a) the shortest hiking distance and (b) potentially annoying the least wealthy of the insanely rich residents of Clifton. Who knows how long I would have wandered around the tracks and how many ticks I would have picked up had it not been for your map and the idiot proof legend. The hike from Balmoral Forest Road to the tracks doesn't seem that long and the pond should be hard to miss once I start walking down them.
Thanks again for all the help. I'll let you know if my truck gets towed!

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: oaktonmom ()
Date: May 08, 2009 08:37AM

Just stick some landscaping equipment in the back ... good luck and keep us posted

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Sculler ()
Date: May 08, 2009 08:51AM

LOL! Genius! I swear every time I've been in that neighborhood looking for landmarks of the farm there's a landscaping crew mowing the grass. Good thinking.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: bdimag ()
Date: May 08, 2009 11:12AM

hell of a thread! and i might have to make it out to that film festival.

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Re: old clifton insane asylum
Posted by: Robert Greyberg ()
Date: May 08, 2009 01:35PM

These ruins and graves are definately worth looking into (even if they aren't exactly related to the Bunny Man Legend) they could be great filming locations.

What is the name of the park this land is on? Is it Hemlock Overlook, Bull Run Regional, or some other county owned one?

Might have to take a look at the FCPA (Fairfax Coyunty Park Authority) website before I try and get out there and take a look for myself.

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