One or more burglars smashed windows and glass display cases and stole multiple historic items from during a break-in reported Aug. 3.
According to Fairfax County police, an employee was checking on the house, located at 6918 Harrison Lane near the main entrance to Huntley Meadows Park, and discovered the damage. Police believe forced entry was made through a rear door.
Fairfax County Park Authority spokeswoman Judy Pedersen said the burglar or burglars stole items including antique glass marbles, an old ceramic doorknob with a swirled round glaze and an early-20th-century dish with green decorations. A shutterdog — an S-shaped piece of iron used to hold open a shutter — was also taken.
Some of the home’s glass windows, which stemmed from the early 19th century, were also smashed, and some shutters were damaged. Pedersen said park staff has not determined the monetary value of the items damaged or stolen.
“It’s not that there’s significant monetary value in any of those items, but those items had significant historic value to the property,” Pedersen said. “They were original to the property, and they were irreplaceable in terms of discerning the lives of the people who lived there before. That’s what we used for the stories, and even though they seem like relatively trivial pieces, it does threaten our chances to tell that story. It’s very disappointing.”
After years of preparation, the site opened to the public in May. Park volunteers and archaeologists had worked together to collect the historic items. Not all of the items were stolen, Pedersen noted.
Pedersen said park staff are working with police on the investigation and always looking for ways to improve security.
“It may just seem like a random minor act of vandalism, but really, you’re stealing from everyone in the community,” Pedersen said. “And it’s very hard for us to replace these things.”
Fairfax County police officer Greg Kottemann with the Mount Vernon District Station said the investigation into the burglary was ongoing. He did not have any further information.
Historic Huntley was built in the 19th century for Thomson Francis Mason, a grandson of George Mason. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Virginia Landmarks Register and the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites.
Over the years, the house was used as a summer retreat, an encampment for troops of the 3rd Michigan infantry during the Civil War and as a farm.
The site remains open to the public. Tours are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday.