History of Pageland Lane and the Many Battles of Bull Run
(as told by Page Snyder)
Pageland Lane existed many years prior to the Civil War. There were a few landowners who used the road for their homes and large farms and there are several family and slave cemeteries still located at properties along the lane.
There are unknown numbers of Civil War soldiers buried on private property close to, adjacent to, and on the Brawner Farm. On Pageland Farm, one of the front fields along the lane has what is historically thought to be a mass burial site for Confederate soldiers. During the Second Battle of Manassas there was a deadly measles epidemic that took the lives of many soldiers, most buried where they died in scattered, unmarked graves on the same properties. “When the men walked solemnly back to Pageland and reached their camp, they thought their short journey had showed them the worst of war. They had no idea of the far worse horrors yet to come.” Over the years, metal detectors have found just about every conceivable piece of Civil War artifact: from belt buckles and buttons, to shell casings and minie balls, as well as arrowheads and Indian artifacts from well before the Civil War. These have been found on private property since metal detecting is illegal within the boundaries of the Park.
There were many other battles of Bull Run, all of which were to protect historically significant battlefields that had not been included in the original Park boundaries. In the 1960’s, Annie Snyder (later dubbed the “Angel of Manassas”) led the “third battle of Bull Run” which was to save the then privately-owned Brawner Farm from becoming an auto racetrack. The fourth battle was waged over the same ground when Marriott wanted to turn it into the “Great America Theme Park”. In the 1980’s Annie led the charge for the fifth time to save Stuart’s Hill from becoming a huge mall and in the 90’s the sixth battle was fought against Disney. The last 2 battles were so significant, they garnered support from people in every state of the union and many foreign countries, as well as celebrities and dignitaries. The victory over the Mall set historic preservation precedent and continues to be considered the blueprint and gold standard for all future battles.
Currently, there are two registered VA historic properties privately owned directly across from Brawner Farm – they are Honeywood Farm and Pageland Farm. In the summer of 2011, Pageland Farm donated its use for the reeenactment of the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle. Both Pageland and Honeywood are included in the Manassas Battlefield Park Historic District because of their historical significance. A third farm, Soldier’s Rest which is adjacent to Brawner, is currently in the process of applying for historic registry. The Second Battle of Manassas/Bull Run was fought in part on Brawner Farm, the Historic District, and Pageland Lane was used for troop movement. The proposed route of the Tri-County Parkway will cut a swath through Soldier’s Rest, Pageland Farm, and through part of Brawner Farm.
Pageland Lane has seen it’s share of history unfold. Soon it may become a road to ruin. Studies indicate that the Tri-County Parkway, which obliterates Pageland, will have minimal effect on relieving current traffic congestion. Instead this road will trigger increased traffic in our area, especially along 66 and on nearby secondary roads. It will contribute to sprawl by opening huge tracts of land to development. As one NoVa developer put it, “I build things. It is the job of taxpayers to pay for the infrastructure that supports what I build.” Hmmm….
Note: a petition against the proposed Tri-County Parkway can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/S/35L2DLR