Bailey's Crossroads draws its name from the Bailey family of circus fame, which has long been connected with the community. Hachaliah Bailey, one of Americas first circus showmen, resided here. In 1808, while still in New Yorkstate, he purchased an Indian elephant which was one of the first such animals to reach the United States. Seeking a place to winter his circus animals, he moved to Virginia, and on December 19, 1837, he bought a tract of land on the outskirts of Falls Church including what is now the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike. On this tract he built a large house known as "Bailey's Mansion" or "Moray;" it was reputed to have contained 100 rooms. The mansion sat at a location now known as Durbin Place. It abutted Glenforest Drive, the oldest outlet road to Leesburg Pike.
Circuses were part of the Bailey family business. Hachaliah's son Lewis Bailey (1795–1870) operated a travelling circus and pioneered the use of canvas circus tents before eventually settling in 1840 to farm land in Bailey's Crossroads. Hachaliah's nephew George F. Bailey managed several shows, too, designing a tank in which a hippopotamus could be moved from place to place. Another nephew, Fred Harrison Bailey, recognized a potential circus talent in James Anthony McGuiness, later James Anthony Bailey, who united the Cooper and Bailey with Phineas Taylor Barnum's circus to form the Barnum and Bailey Circus, which later joined with the Ringling Brothers Circus to form the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Bailey's Crossroads Properties
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Data last updated: Jan 17, 2020 11:39:pm.