Oliver Farm, Annandale, Virginia

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Dublin Core


Oliver Farm, Annandale, Virginia


On Christmas Eve 1931, Robert Stringfellow Oliver, his wife Charlene Byrd Oliver, seven children and 24 cattle moved from Shirlington to this farm house in Annandale, which stands on Gallows Road near Columbia Pike. The cattle drive and move were so well planned that Mrs. Oliver was able to entertain as usual on the very next day, Christmas. Before marrying his wife and becoming a farmer, Mr. Oliver had been a street car driver in D.C. Their original farm was in Shirlington, but when that area became too crowded, Mr. Oliver purchased 89 acres in Annandale in 1926. He spent the next five years clearing the land and building the house. In Annandale, Mr. Oliver was a dairy farmer. Each morning the dairy company would pick up the milk cans and also regularly return for unannounced inspections.

Gladys Oliver McElwee, next to the youngest of the eight children remembers that the house had electricity and one bathroom for the ten members of the household. Her five brothers shared one large room. There was also an outhouse in the fields. Besides cows, the family had pigs, chickens, work horses and a vegetable garden. Gladys remembers that one of her brothers while milking a cow got mad at her and sprayed the cow's milk in Gladys' face. Mrs. McElwee also recalls her father leasing land during World War II for an Army radar station. One of her fondest memories was going to D.C. for dance lessons. She would catch the bus on Columbia Pike and ride into Washington for a quarter. She also remembers that her family avoided the local general store and would ride into Alexandria to shop, because her father said that the local store was too expensive. To this day, Gladys said she does not consider herself a farm girl although she grew up on this farm in Annandale.


Undated photograph courtesy of Gladys Oliver McElwee