History of Pimmit Barn


Bushrod Gunnell, descendant of an original colonial patent-holder deeded several hundred acres to Jonathan Magarity in 1845. By the time of the Civil War, the Magaritys owned all of the land bounded by Scott's Run to the northwest, Chain Bridge Road to the north, Anderson Road to the northeast, and all the way south to what is today Leonard Road - a property of 383 acres. Just before the Civil War, a road between Lewinsville and the Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike was cut, and, given the immense holdings of the Magarity family, it was only natural that it would eventually be called Magarity Road. Jonathan Magarity was an election judge(i) and postmaster at Lewinsville.  In 1902, upon his death, Jonathan Magarity deeded 49 acres to his son John S. Magarity, and 30 acres to his daughter, Lillian. Mr. John Magarity bought this land from Lillian in 1923, so he and his wife had a property of close to 80 acres. John S. Magarity died in 1930 and his wife, Annie V. Magarity, sold this property to Lisle A. Smith in 1937. It is likely that this property had been used for dairying. Annie Magarity sold her 80 acres for the princely sum of $10.00, or, in 2011 dollars, all of $154.56!  Lisle A. Smith (b. 22 April 1884-d. 15 June 1966) was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia Law School (ii) . He came to Washington D.C. in 1921 to work in the federal government and in the mid-1920's served as the Assistant Solicitor of the Department of Agriculture (iii) . While in residence in Washington, he was an active part of the Covenant First Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder and as president of its Men's society. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, having served in 1919 as the Indiana State Secretary of the Sons of the Revolution.  In 1931, Lisle Smith made his first purchase in northern Virginia, a 26-acre property “near West Falls Church”. By the mid 1930’s, he had purchased a country estate in Vienna, named Spring Glade Farm, on Beulah Rd. near its intersection with Route 7. It was at this time that he entrenched himself increasingly in suburban Virginian society. He joined Washington Golf and Country Club(iv). He served as the first president of the White Front Hunt Club of Falls Church whose purview included “the hunt territory from Falls Church to Tysons Corners, along the Chain Bridge road to Fairfax and extending south from Fairfax to Baileys Cross Roads.” During this time, Smith was promoted to serve as the assistant to Attorney General Homer Cummings (v).  In 1936, Lisle A. Smith purchased 30 acres here in Pimmit Hills (vi), and once he acquired the 80 acres from Annie V. Magarity in 1937, he set about establishing his third dairying operation in Fairfax County (vii). This necessitated a barn, and so he built the structure before us here, in 1937. Real property tax records indicate $800 of improvements during the Magarity ownership – 1938 records indicate over $3,300 of improvements – an increase of $2,500, or $46,000 in 2011 dollars. The complex of structures that Lisle Smith built here was valued at among the thirty most expensive properties in the Providence District, out of over 3,500 land parcels. The Smith dairying operation lasted almost fifteen years on these grounds, using this barn. During this time, the Smiths were prominent citizens of Fairfax County. Lisle Smith served as president (viii) of and host to the Fairfax Hunt (ix). He served as a director of the McLean Horse Show Association, whose annual horse shows at Ballantrae raised funds for the McLean Volunteer Fire Department and the McLean School and Civic League(x). He was a director of the Animal Rescue League (xi). Having served as a lieutenant in the Army’s Chemical Warfare service during World War I (xii), he was a charter member of Fairfax Post 177 of the American Legion(xiii).  In 1947, he challenged G. Wallace Carper, then the chairman of the board of supervisors, for the Democratic nomination for Providence district Supervisor (xiv). Carper pulled out a victory, 378 votes to 295 . Some months later, the Fairfax County Republican Party chose Smith as their write-in candidate after the sudden death of their primary winner (xvi). Despite refusing the GOP nomination (xvii), Lisle Smith garnered 138 write-in votes, as against 62 votes for the Republican and 456 for G. Wallace Carper, the incumbent Democrat(xviii). His wife, Neitah, was the county chair of the Community Chest (xix) , and of the American Red Cross' hospitality committee (xx). For a time, she chaired the Mt. Vernon Kennel Club (xvi). She also chaired the publicity committee of the Fairfax Hunt (xxii). Neitah Smith and her husband "frequently entertained President Truman and members of his Cabinet" at Spring Glade Farm (xxiii).  By 1948, Lisle Smith owned a series of properties along the Leesburg Pike corridor, totaling over 360 acres, including the 156-acre dairy farm here on the western side of modern Pimmit Hills. In the wake of World War II, demand for housing near Washington increased tremendously, and dairy farming was no longer the most economical use of land. Whereas in 1940 the Lewinsville acreage was assessed at $40/acre and taxed at $1.90/$100 of value, by 1948 the county valued Smith's land at $70/acre and taxed it at $3.19/$100 of value. Three years later, the assessed value per acre had exploded to $160. Facing the increasing tax bill, in October 1951 (xxiv) , he sold this for $10 cash "and other good and valuable considerations" to a group of developers who quickly resold the land. By January 1952 it had been sold to O&R Construction . In April 1952, O&R Construction (xxv), which had been the original Pimmit Hills contractors, platted and dedicated 'Pimmit Hills Section Six', including 8.8 acres set aside "for public school purposes". This land included all of the houses bounded roughly by Route 7 to the west, Magarity to the north, Fisher to the south and Peabody to the east. Lisle Avenue, named for Lisle A. Smith, bisects his old dairy farm and now forms one of the thoroughfares here in Pimmit Hills. Interestingly, after platting but before constructing the residences, the developers tried, but failed, to get four parcels on the north side of Cherri Drive, near Lisle Avenue, rezoned to General Business District. Had this effort been successful, there would have been stores built on the site of the barn(xxvi).  This particular barn survived though, on a double-lot. Why? Well, when Pimmit Hills was first developed, not only were the streets unlit and unpaved, and sidewalks not installed, but all the houses were served by a series of privately-owned wells. Pimmit Hills was not hooked up to the public water and sewer system. So, for the first eight years of this immediate neighborhood's existence, this barn site housed a well, which fed water to the residents.  Finally, in 1960, the Fairfax County Water Authority took over from the private well operators and bought this site (xxvii). They used the barn as a workshop for a number of years. In 1997, the property was transferred to the Fairfax County Park Authority (xxviii), who has leased it to McLean Youth Athletics for storage of sports equipment(xxix). It is a critical asset for their operations in providing organized sports competition to the youth of the greater McLean area. This has been a short history of what I understand to be the last remaining twentieth-century dairy barn inside the Beltway. It has served this community in different manners over its 75-year history, and it is my hope that it can be restored and re-used for at least another 75. I thank you for your attention and your help to that end.
i.            Fairfax News 25 April 1874 p2

ii.            “Lisle Smith Enters Contest for Board of Supervisors.” Fairfax Herald 16 May 1947 p6

iii.            “Lisle Smith Enters Contest for Board of Supervisors.” Fairfax Herald 16 May 1947 p6

iv.            “Lisle A. Smith Host at Dinner at Country Club.” Washington Post. 13 July 1939 p12

v.            “Agriculture Dept. Counsel L.A. Smith.” Washington Post 27 June 1966 pB2

vi.            Fairfax County Deed Book F-12 page 236, 30 July 1936

vii.            “Lisle Smith Enters Contest for Board of Supervisors.” Fairfax Herald 16 May 1947 p6

viii.            “Dr. McClellan to be Host Today as Fairfax Hunt Opens Season.” Washington Post 16 October 1937 p12

ix.            Fairfax Herald 10 October 1941 p1; Fairfax Herald 12 October 1945 p8; Washington Post 24 October 1947 pC1; “Hunting Season is On.” Washington Post 17 October 1949 pB3; Washington Post 17 October 1948 pS1: “It’s the custom now for the hunt to take off from the Smith’s home, Spring Glade, wind up at Miss Madeira’s house, The Land, at Greenway.”

x.            “Officers Elected by Horse Show Group at McLean.” Washington Post 19 December 1949 p12; “Horse Show Committee.” Herndon Observor 31 March 1938 p1; “On McLean Horse Show Committee.” Fairfax Herald 15 September 1944 p1.

xi.            Washington Post 24 February 1952 pB7

xii.            “New Officers: War Department Awards Commissions in United States Army to Many More Chicagoans.” Chicago Daily Tribune 8 November 1918 p8

xiii.            “Lisle Smith Enters Contest for Board of Supervisors.” Fairfax Herald 16 May 1947 p6

xiv.            “Lisle Smith Enters Contest for Board of Supervisors.” Fairfax Herald 16 May 1947 p6

xv.            “Slow Count of Heavy Voting Delays Returns in Arlington.” Washington Post 6 August 1947 p3

xvi.            “Fairfax GOP Picks Smith.” Washington Post 30 October 1947 p23

xvii.            “Fairfax GOP Accused of Vote Trickery.” Washington Post 2 November 1947 pM22

xviii.            “Northern Section Vote Follows Party Lines.” Washington Post 5 November 1947 p1

xix.            Fairfax Herald 22 October 1943 p1; Fairfax Herald 3 January 1947 p1

xx.            “Fairfax Group Seeks Dinners for Soldiers.” Washington Post 21 September 1944 p3

xxi.            Fairfax Herald 6 October 1944 p1

xxii.            “Fairfax Hunt to Hold Show May 26.” Washington Post 3 May 1951 pB3

xxiii.            “Agriculture Dept. Counsel L.A. Smith.” Washington Post 27 June 1966 pB2

xxiv.            Fairfax County Deed Book 917 page 497, 19 October 1951

xxv.            Fairfax County Deed Book 939 page 312, 11 January 1952

xxvi.            Fairfax Herald 20 March 1953 p8

xxvii.            “County Buys Pimmit Hills Water Co.” Fairfax Herald 19 February 1960 p1; Fairfax County Deed Book 1919 page 139, 16 August 1960

xxviii.            Fairfax County Deed Book 9913 page 117, 29 January 1997

xxix.            http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/archives/011106PD-pkg.pdf , pp10-26Type your paragraph here.     ���-?��]�