The historic Crossman farm house in Falls Church, built on the site of what a 1607 map showed as "Indian Village No. 6," has been saved from demolition.
The six-bedroom house, with sparrows fluttering in and out of a nest in the eaves and workmen standing on the porch roof pushing aside tree branches, was wheeled Sunday through residential streets to a new location three blocks away on Little Falls Street, between two other Victorian farmhouses.
Falls Church has no laws to protect its 126 identified historic buildings and has lost 19 of them in the past 24 years. Last fall the city approved a three-story office building and 85-car parking lot for the Crossman property, at 421 N. Washington Street, overlooking I-66 and Four Mile Run.
Developer L.F. Jennings then agreed to give the house, built in 1875, to anyone who would move it, and even offered to pay $5,000 of the moving costs--what it would cost to demolish the building.
This spring Air Force Col. Lawrence Pence and his wife Carol, who have restored several Old Town Alexandria houses, agreed to give the Crossman house a new site on Little Falls Street. They are restoring the 1879 Whitehall farmhouse and building half a dozen new houses on a four-acre site there.
To transport the two-and-one-half-story clapboard house three blocks took most of Sunday for veteran building mover William Patram, who has moved 2,000 buildings -- including the Rockville railroad station two years ago. Telephone and electric company wiremen preceded Patram's giant flatbed trailer, fitted with five-foot-high airplane tires.
About 500 residents followed the house's every move. Some sold fresh chocolate chip cookies, others shared coffee and Bloody Marys, and the Pences and city officials sipped champagne to celebrate the saving of the building.
It was a happy ending. The developer got a large tax benefit, the Pences got a building for $1--and perhaps $15,000 to $30,000 in moving expenses--which they already are arranging to sell to an Arlington family that likes old houses and wants to move to Falls Church. And the village of Falls Church preserved a little of its history.