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Vienna to celebrate new pedestrian bridge to historic Freeman Store

A new pedestrian bridge between Vienna’s Freeman Store and the W&OD Trail is open (via Town of Vienna/Twitter)

Users of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail can now more directly access the Freeman Store and Museum — and, beyond it, the Town Green — in Vienna.

The town has opened a new pedestrian bridge over Piney Branch that links the regional trail to the historic site. Completed in November, the facility replaces a wooden bridge that collapsed in 2016 due to water damage and general deterioration.

“It looks as it did many years ago and restores an important link to the Town’s history, connecting past and present,” the Town of Vienna said of the new bridge.

The town will celebrate the bridge’s reopening this Saturday (March 23) with a ribbon-cutting and reception starting at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be provided, and the Freeman Store will unveil two new museum exhibits: “Exploring Books Throughout Time” and “Vienna Unveiled Through Maps.”

Vienna officials had been looking to build a new bridge since they closed the previous one in February 2016, but an initial lack of response from contractors and rising costs for lumber and other materials delayed the project.

Construction finally began in February 2023, requiring a temporary detour around the affected section of the W&OD Trail.

Measuring about 53 feet long and 5 feet wide, the new bridge was made out of steel and timber. It’s also ADA-compliant, serving as the only way for wheelchair users to access the Freeman Store.

“Since the Freeman Store opened in 1859, it has been a store, a home, a train depot, a hotel, a hospital, an officers’ quarters, and a fire department, and the pedestrian bridge over Piney Branch to the store’s side entrance has been an integral part of the structure,” the town said in a news release.

Designated as a historic Virginia landmark in 2011, the Freeman Store is run by the nonprofit Historic Vienna Inc. and sells candy, artist prints, pottery, mugs, used books and other Vienna-themed items.

Located at 131 Church Street NE, the Freeman Store is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday between March and December. The store closes on most federal holidays.

Photo via Town of Vienna/Twitter

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