Steven J. McCullough opened the doors of the Stempson House on the last weekend in April. He showed off the work he has done in the house during the first year of his Resident Curator Program. The Fairfax County Park Authority stated that the Resident Curator Program is a resident-rehab program designed to rehabilitate Fairfax County’s “underutilized historic properties”.
A lease for 8.8 years was signed by McCullough with the Fairfax County Park Authority. After that McCullough moved in the Stempson House with his family in February 2018.
According to Fairfax Station Connection, “He tackled a lot of projects his first year,” said Stephanie Langton, manager of the Resident Curator Program. That included work on the floors and installing a new kitchen.
The Stempson House is a “circa 1932 vernacular farm-style residence with Colonial Revival style elements,” county information stated, and the kitchen needed some TLC, so McCullough updated kitchen facilities. The work he did does not have to strictly adhere to historic levels. “It’s a modern kitchen,” Langton said.”
The park authority stated that the Stempson House is significant due to its association with the Occoquan Workhouse and Reformatory, later known at Lorton Prison. The house and associated garage are listed as contributing structures to the D.C Workhouse and Reformatory Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places according to the county information.
A county photographer and some dozen other people were present at the open house.
As per Fairfax Station Connection, “To be a renter in the Resident Curator program, an application has to be submitted showing the applicant is able to do the required work and have the financial capacity. McCullough had renovated other houses in the past and he has a full-time job as well. “Curators are determined through an open and competitive application process, based on a number of criteria, including a formal proposal, demonstrated experience, competency in historic preservation techniques, financial capabilities, and the incorporation of public benefits,” the program instructions stated.”
Turner Farmhouse in Great Falls is another property in this program and the curator has a lease for 20 years. Turner Farmhouse has a dairy farm history and several outlying buildings as well so there is a lot of work ahead for the curator.