Brentsville Courthouse

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Prince William Farm Tour visitors can compare and contrast modern life and 19th century farm life when they stop at Historic Brentsville Courthouse Centre at 12229 Bristow Road, Bristow, Stop #2.

For the second year, the historic site is combining Brentsville Day festivities with the Western Prince William County Farm Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first day of the Farm Tour, Saturday Sept. 22, according to Bill Backus, site manager.

Watch for parking signs. There is a small parking area on site and overflow parking as well.

Most of the Brentville Day activities will be on the courthouse lawn. Visitors can listen to live music, watch historic craftsmen at work demonstrating their trades and observe plein air painting by local artists. Taking blankets or folding chairs is advised if you plan to sit on the lawn.

Three bluegrass bands will rotate performances during the day. A popular food truck will be set up on site for those who want to purchase hot dogs, hamburgers and other festival fare.

It’s a short walk across a field and down a picturesque lane from the lawn area to the Haislip-Hall House, an 1850s farmhouse, where visitors can experience 19th century farm life inside and out.

Outside there will be livestock and a small garden, Backus said. Outside activities will include hands-on activities for children.

Inside, living historians dressed in period clothing will demonstrate some of the day-to-day work that members of a farm family typically had to do before the days of technology.
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Farm Tour visitors can also explore the Haislip-Hall House, see living historians and experience farm life in the 1850s on Sunday, Sept. 23, from noon to 4 p.m.

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre is a 29-acre property, owned and managed by Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division, which is part of the Department of Public Works.

The usual visitor fees are waived during Farm Tour weekend.

In addition to the 1850s farmhouse, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre includes four other historic structures: a brick courthouse and jail (both built 1822 and oldest still standing in the county), the circa 1880 Union Church, and the Brentsville School, a one-room schoolhouse completed in 1929 on the site of the 1820s Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office.

Backus said all these historic buildings will be open to visitors, including the recently restored jail, Exhibits that will tell the story of the jail are likely to be installed next spring, Backus added.

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre has a walking trail that winds near Broad Run. There is an observation deck where visitors can stop and enjoy the flowing water and the surrounding beauty. The property also has picnic tables for visitor use. The grounds are open during daylight hours. Brochures describing a self-guided tour, interpretive signs and a Civil War Trail marker help visitors understand the site’s history.

Brentsville was the fourth county seat from 1822 until 1893 when the county seat moved to Manassas.

Touring Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre’s 19th century farmstead and other “modern” working farms on the 18th annual Wild Western Prince William County Farm Tour is “effectively time-traveling 150 years in one day,” observed Backus.

For more information go to or call 703-365-7895.

Farm Tour hours are:

Saturday, Sept. 22: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Sunday, Sept. 23: Noon to 4 p.m. on

unless otherwise noted