The Walney Dairy

The Walney Dairy (HM599)

Location: Chantilly, VA 20151 Fairfax County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 51.678', W 77° 25.88'

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The Role of the Dairy at 19th Century Walney

This stone building was the Machen family dairy from about the 1850s until the 1890s. Originally just one room, the dairy was a place to cool milk and to make butter and cheese. Before the Civil War, Caroline Machen made butter and cheese for her family and the farmhands and may have sold any extra to neighbors.

The Civil War, however, changed life at Walney. The land was severely damaged by occupying Confederate and Union armies. After the War, money was scarce, machinery expensive and reliable farm workers were hard to find. It also was difficult for James Machen to compete with inexpensive grain coming from midwestern farms. All of Fairfax County struggled to survive.

James borrowed money from his brother and shifted farm operations from growing mixed grain crops and raising livestock to running dairy cattle. Dairying was a steady cash income — an improvement over seasonal income from grain and beef sales. By 1873 James had 35 cows producing 125 gallons of milk a month, and his customers were no longer his neighbors. Lucrative Washington and Alexandria markets were only 25 miles away. In 1881, James enlarged his dairy to the size you see today and was producing cheese and up to 3,000 pounds of butter a year.

Springhouse versus Dairy: A springhouse is a passive structure where people stored milk and food. A dairy is an active structure where people worked to turn milk into butter and cheese. Walney's Dairy was called "the cheese factory" by local residents well into the 20th century.
HM NumberHM599
Placed ByEllanor C. Lawrence Park, Fairfax County Park Authority
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 4:47am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 289042 N 4304194
Decimal Degrees38.86130000, -77.43133333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 51.678', W 77° 25.88'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 51' 40.68" N, 77° 25' 52.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6215 Creek Trail, Chantilly VA 20151, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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