Green Spring Gardens & the Moss Historic Manor House
By: M. Callahan
In 1784, John Moss purchased a brick house near the natural springs that flowed on a 540 acre farm. Here he cultivated grains and raised cattle and pigs until 1843 when his grandson, Alfred, sold the estate. Fountain Beattie became the next recorded owner from 1878 to 1917. He raised twelve children and cattle while cultivating fruit and vegetables.
In 1942, Michael and Belinda Straight purchased the house and thirty-three acres. Michael Straight, a publisher and editor, not a farmer, did manage to raise cattle but did not cultivate crops at Green Spring. Many notable figures were entertained during the Straight years including Aldous Huxley and Hubert Humphrey. Beatrix Farrand, a highly regarded landscape architect, designed both the formal and informal garden spaces adding extensively to the variety of plantings.
Finally, in 1970 the Straights deeded their house and 16 acres to the Fairfax County Park Authority with the expressed wish for the land to remain a park. Today the Historic House hosts a series of informative and fascinating formal English Tea Programs and is surrounded by the most beautiful gardens to include many huge boxwoods, azaleas, and rhododendrons from the Straight era.
Green Spring Gardens is located 4601 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA 22312. Entrance is located off Braddock directly across from Pinecrest Golf Course 2 blocks behind Pinecrest Shopping Center.
Photograph: Courtesy Historic Home, Green Spring Gardens, Fairfax County Park Authority. Reproduction of this article in whole or in part requires the permission of the author.