What I'm Seeing Now


Manassas Stone House, Then And Now

Nearly every day on my way home I pass through the Manassas Battlefield Park.  I had two relatives fight in those battles.  One was a 13 year old drummer boy with romantic ideas who ran away from his home in Upper Marlboro Maryland to follow his elder brother into the war.  That is an interesting family story in itself.  The elder brother survived the war.  The drummer boy did not survive the Second Battle of Manassas and is buried somewhere on the battlefield.

A prominent memorial feature of both battles is the old Stone House.  It was located right in the middle of the battlefield and was used as a hospital for both First and Second Manassas.


This photo was snapped after the second battle of Manassas.

It is part of a collection of recently discovered and fabulously preserved Civil War photos that can be seen at:


Behind and to the left of the house can be seen a hill, which is far steeper than it looks here.  Covered with fencing and topped with an array of cannons during the war, that hill is now a wonderful place to go for sledding.

It is interesting how things can change with time.



On my way home yesterday I noticed that nobody was there.  The place is usually crowded with tourists.  So I stopped by to do a Stone House home inspection!

I took the opportunity to stop and snap this photo, from nearly the same position as the one taken during the Civil War.  To take the photo from the same position I would have had to stand in the road, VA Route 29!

The house is substantially similar to its appearance during the war.

It is very well preserved, right down to the initials and names carved into the floors by recovering soldiers.



How did the masons get those corner stones to stack so neatly and have such sharp corners?

Look closely - they chiseled them!

Every one.  Slowly hand chiseled, individually, and the process must have taken some time.

On some aspects of the walls you can see some of the original mortar, which surprisingly has lasted this long.  It is a bit sandy, but looks and feels original.  That would make it older than 150 years.

There has been virtually no movement of the house all these years.  Some of the window sills have cracked, which you can see here, but none of the lintels or corners.  The place was obviously founded really well.

Also, some of the window panes are very wavy, indicating that they are original as well.

Such original, wavy windows can be seen on many historical buildings in the area, including Monticello and Mount Vernon, and the antebellum Red Fox Inn, in which some of the Revolutionary War was planned.


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • April 03 2010 06:51AM


Jay, I love driving through there as well.  Lots of history, that's for sure.

Posted by Craig Richardson (National Realty) over 10 years ago

Pretty cool old structure----built back when people had a lot of time to kill:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 10 years ago


When I was a kid I was fascinated by the civil war.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

  I am sure Scarlett's spirit is there somewhere sewing her "frock" from the drapes....and the mint julips....and.....ahhhhh

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago

Thanks Craig.  That photo was on my trip following an inspection with Brian Block.  I was on my way to the next appointment!

Charlie - that house was originally called the Matthews House.  So it must have been the Matthews family, or help, which constructed the place, and had the time to kill.  It was a farm house.  Can you imagine waking up one day to hear the train bringing thousands of troops to barracks on your property and then a few days later to have a bona fide battle open up!?

Steve - as was I.  We played Civil War in the neighborhood.  We all had muskets and hats and plastic swords.  My favorite present as a kid was the Civil War plastic soldier set with over 100 pieces!

Sally - if perhaps she isn't still stuck on the stone bridge just up the road.  I will make that the subject of another photograph when I have time to stop.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

How interesting, I love history.  It must have been hard on the families not to get their family members back when they were buried somewhere on the battlefield. Nice picture and good post.

Posted by Diane Williams over 10 years ago

Diane - and the graves were not always very deep and had to be redone after heavy rains washed the soil off!  There are various cemeteries on the battlefield, but many of the gravestones have no names.  I don't know where my relative is buried.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Very COOL Jay! I wish they taught our children more about our short but colorful history in school. I really enjoyed the brief story of your distant relatives. It must have been heart breaking for a 13 year old kids mom to lose her son like that.

Posted by Mike Gillingham (Eastern Iowa Inspection Services LLC) over 10 years ago

There is an interesting story about that relative Mike.  He had run away from home, and no one knew where he was.  My great, great grandmother took a nap and had a dream that a fire ball cut off her son's head.  She woke with a start.  The family lore has it that at that very moment a cannon ball was fired and took the boy's head off.  A bit weird...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Enjoyed VERY much.  Thank you.

Posted by Steve Hall, Make the Call to Hankins and Hall (RE/MAX United) over 10 years ago

Steve - I am glad you are pleased!  There are many other site on the battlefield I intend to post about.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

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