The Oakton Trolley Station, now home to the Stefan family, hosted an annual fundraiser Sept. 23 for the organization that helped ensure its preservation last year.
Last July, the Stefans entered into a voluntary preservation agreement with the aid of Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, based in Annandale.
Through the agreement, the Stefans give up basic homeowner rights, such as being able to construct an addition or renovate the home, often at the expense of the value of the home. The homeowners can receive tax benefits.
"Even though it was on the National Register, the state register and the county inventory, none of those actually protect the property from someone going in and tearing it down," Whit Field, NVCT vice president, said last year.
This year, NVCT asked the Stefans if they could use the station to host its annual September Showcase. Adrienne Stefan agreed, more than happy to host an event similar to one she attended a few years ago when she discovered NVCT.
Each year, NVCT brings its supporters to one of the properties it has helped preserve. The organization wanted to host at the Oakton Trolley Station not only because of its interesting backstory, but also because of the Stefans' work on the landscaping.
"I hope that people can see that you can have a garden that doesn't need to be absolutely perfect like all the suburban gardens tend to be," Stefan said. "You can have a lot of weeds and flowers that pollinators like. It's great because the trolley station is of course historically significant but it so happens the surrounding land has something to offer. The two together are wonderful."
Larry Velte, the vice president of the National Capital Trolley Museum, did a short presentation on the history of trolleys in the area before guests resumed enjoying the buffet and listening to the Greg Harrison Jazz Band in the garden.
Guests paid $50 per ticket, with all money benefiting NVCT's work to preserve natural areas, trails, streams and parks.