Merrybrook is a historic home in Fairfax County, Virginia, located in the town of Herndon. Built in 1820, it is particularly notable for being a home of Laura Ratcliffe, a Confederate spy during the American Civil War. On March 7th, 2007, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on April 26th, 2007, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the house is protected under preservation legislation.
In the early 19th century, the Coleman family
owned a substantial amount of land in Fairfax county, and around 1820, the
Coleman family set to work building a farm house on part of their property
which they called Brookside. The home would go on to be renovated numerous
times over the course of a little over a century. The home began with a simple,
but sizeable house around 1820. Around 1850, a living room and other
accommodations were added to the home. In 1869, Ann Ratcliffe bought 13 and
three-quarters acres from the Coleman family, including Brookside. At some
point after this purchase but before 1878, the home was renovated to have a new
kitchen. Ann died in 1878, and as a result, her daughters Cora and Laura ended
up inheriting the property.
While Cora and Laura lived in the home, another period of
expansion happened around 1880 or 1890, adding a bedroom and more living space
to the home. Laura died in 1923, and the property was passed down to her cousin
Mamie Wiley as just one of three properties Laura owned. One final major addition
to the home was added around 1950, adding a den to the home. Since the 1950s,
Merrybrook has served as a private residence. On March 7th, 2007, it
was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on April 26th,
2007, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.