State of the Society and Preserving Northern Virginias Rich Heritage
A Burke Historical Society Special Event
Preserving Northern Virginia’s Rich Heritage
Burke, VA — December 23, 2011— Today the Burke Historic Society announced that at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Burke Historic Society there will be a special event presentation held in the historic Silas Burke Home!
At this important and festive meeting - - along with a heaping discussion on why saving our past is important - - the Copperthite decedents from that famous Pie Family of Georgetown will be serving libations and pie as they once did -- in the home (BURKE HOUSE) where the family spent many a summer evening at the turn of the last century!
On January 29th 2012 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Jon Vrana, Society President will appear as Col. Silas Burke to discuss the need for saving the vast and rich culture and historically significant structures, sites, artifacts, oral and written histories of the Burke Station Area for future generations. He will also give a brief history lesson of the important events and people that made up the community in and around Burke from the time before the Civil War until today.
In addition, Michael C. Copperthite (the great great grandson of Henry Clayton Copperthite) will speak on his family and how it helped change Burke Station from a sleepy little hamlet into the go to place for folks from all walks of life to enjoy -- with horse races, fairs, social gatherings, special events, etc. Mr. Copperthite will speak of the “Man from Connecticut” who came back to the area after service in the War Between the States and who made Burke House a family retreat shortly after he purchased much of Burke Station starting in 1888.
Where -- at the home of Terry and Susie Fowler Neal, Preservationist who have been caretakers of the Burke Home for some 70 plus od’ years.
The Silas Burke House, Burke, VA
9623 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015
The Burke Historical Society
Location P. O. Box 243, Burke, VA 22009
Company Overview Non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation, with a goal of preserving local history and sharing it for this and future generations to appreciate.
Description The BHS is a small historical society, comprised of people that are interested in preserving the area’s history – history of its people, its places, and its personalities. The Society’s members are young and old, long term residents and new imports to the community, professional and amateur historians, and people that just like to get together and learn something about history.
General Information BHS program meetings are held generally the last Sunday of each month, from 4 to 5:30pm, with a program, refreshments, and fellowship. To find out more about upcoming meetings, go to our website at www.burkehistoricalsociety.com. We also post all our meetings and events here on our Facebook page.
Membership in the Burke History Society is open to anyone interested in history and preserving that history. If you are interested in joining, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, press only:
or call 703.963.0100
Lt. Col. Silas Burke
Every generation produces those individuals, man and woman, that make a significant impact in their private or professional lives that influence others in their community and even beyond. Silas Burke was just such a man, Fairfax County was just such a place, and the antebellum period was just such a time. In a course of 56 years, from 1796 when he was born in Prince William County, Virginia, to 1854 when he suddenly died from apoplexy, Silas served as a farmer and planter of a large plantation, a director of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad Company, the President of the Fairfax Agricultural Society, the President of the Fairfax Turnpike Company, the owner and operator of a local grist mill and lumber mill, a county judge and sheriff, a superintendent of Primary School System for Educating the Indigent Children of Fairfax County, a Lieutenant Colonel in the State Militia, and an owner and operator of a home of public entertainment. At the time of his untimely death, he was considered one of the most important men in the county. In fact, not one to sit on his laurels, just four months before his death, he had applied for, and received approval from the county, a license to operate a “house of entertainment,” known in modern vernacular as a tavern.
Henry C. Copperthite
At age 14 Henry Copperthite joined the famous 79th Highlanders came to Washington and was stationed at Georgetown College in 1861. The skills of wagon driver that Henry took back to Connecticut were highly prized in those days of apprenticeship, and soon he was delivering for a baked goods company. In 1870, while on his honeymoon Henry and his wife Johanna O’Neil visited West Washington, now Georgetown, and determined that it would be a great place to start a business. On the eve of Thanksgiving 1885 with a wagon, horse, and $3.50 to their names they started baking pies. Twenty-five years later the Connecticut ~ Copperthite Pie Companies were producing over 50,000 pies a day in Washington. As the pie baking demand grew, Henry acquired large tracks of land in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. Around 1900, he purchased a 600 plus acre farm and structures at Burke Station, Virginia to facilitate the provision of dairy products for making his pies.
At Burke Henry built “one of the finest racetracks in America” and he appeared In the News and Sports Sections of the many local newspapers as he was at the top of one of the three most popular sports at the turn of the last century -- pacing and trotting horse racing. In 1903 he was horseman of the year and sold a horse to C. Vanderbilt for a record sum. He went on to make many contributions to his community, city and country.
List of historic structures or sites in or near Burke, VA
Silas Burke House
Little Zion Baptist Church
Brimstone Hill/ Arundel's Tavern
Burke Station/ Church----- State Farm Insurance today
Fairfax Station (railroad)
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Jerusalem Baptist Church
There are county or state markers at: (hmdb.org historical marker database)
JEB Stuart's raid (railroad station)
Clara Barton St. Mary's (neither County nor State marker - Red Cross marker? )
The only one which is on the National Historical Registry is St. Mary’s.
There has been preliminary research to nominate Silas Burke house for national registry.
I have been contacted in two different occasions about getting markers and/or added to county list at:
Brimstone Hill - I have documented OR info of a skirmish with PA volunteers and Mosby on April 10, 1865- one day after Lee's surrender making the skirmish possibly the last in Fairfax County - don't know about VA
Burke Elementary - today it is a private residence on Old Burke Lake Rd near the tracks. - this is the FIRST Burke Elementary
Copperthite race track is a good candidate for a historical marker.