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If you’re from Manassas, you know it. You may have wondered how it has stayed there as long as it has.

Right next to Manassas Mall, taking up more space than the mall at a reported 78 acres, is a farm. It’s the last piece of agriculturally zoned property in the area, and Amazon made a bid to turn it into a data center.

I always remember wondering what this was all about. This chunk of property in the middle of Suburbia that I never saw any activity on, never saw a vehicle pull into the driveway, but was clearly kept up reasonably well, at least until recently. The owner, Lewis Percival Ashby Jr., was 94 years old when he passed away in May of 2020. Just tonight I learned that he was a WWII veteran, a graduate of Virginia Tech, and a Civil War history buff. Sometimes I wish I never pulled the sheets back, because now I am very sorry that I never made an effort to meet him.

The farm sits empty now. Besides Amazon, I am aware of one other potential buyer, but those plans fell through. And with our county government under close scrutiny and harsh criticism for some of their land use decisions in the last couple of years, I don’t know how long it will stand. The raw monetary value is huge, if the zoning can be worked out, but the value of having such a property in the middle of suburbia – well, what is it? And who can afford to buy it and preserve it? Would politicians even allow the zoning to remain, over the tax revenue they covet so much? Who knows?

This is a comparison – one shot taken directly at the farm house, where a couple of outbuildings are visible. The other shot is taken from the same spot, just facing 90 degrees to the right.

EXIF: ISO 400 40mm f/9.0 1/125

Ashby Farm

EXIF: ISO 400 17mm f/9.0 1/125

90 Degrees Right


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