Depression-Era Teacher Lodging Cabins
Annandale, Virginia
by Debbie Robison
December 19, 2012
In the heart of Annandale, Virginia there is a shop located on Little River Turnpike that was formerly the home of Martin and Anna Bates.[1] Martin Bates worked as the janitor of the Annandale School.[2] He and his wife constructed cabins on their property that provided lodging for teachers who also worked at the school.[3]


Martin and Anna Bates Former Home


Former home of Martin and Anna Bates as viewed from the east.


The property was part of the subdivision of J. G. Dunn. A 1926 plat depicts a dwelling house and barn on the parcel that the Bates purchased. They also purchased the land shown as lot 5 and parts of lots 6 and 7.[4]


J G Dunn Subdivision Plat of Annandale


Dunn Subdivision Plat, Courtesy Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives


By 1937, a new home was constructed on the corner of Little River Turnpike and what is now known as Backlick Road.[5] (The small section of road north of Little River Turnpike was formerly known as Springfield Road.)


Martin and Anna Bates Former House View From West


Former home of Martin and Anna Bates as viewed from the west.


Mr. and Mrs. Bates provided lodging for teachers during the Depression. Census records indicate that teachers were lodging with the Bates by 1935.[6] That year, teachers at the Annandale School typically earned $90 per month. The principal, Mrs. J. N. Howdershell, earned $115 per month.[7]


Five lodgers were living on the Bates property in 1940, all of them public school teachers.[8] The teachers presumably lived in the small cabins situated east of the house. Over time, the Bates constructed additional cabins. Martin Bates obtained a building permit to construct a two-room cabin in 1940 and the following year Anna Bates obtained a building permit for two more cabins.[9]


The cabins were conveniently located within walking distance of Annandale School. The yellow arrow in the following image points to the Annandale School and the red arrow points to the Bates dwelling. The cabins dot the landscape east of the dwelling in a somewhat oval pattern.


USDA Aerial Image 1949 Bates Cabins


USDA Aerial Photo, 1949, annotated by author [10]


The Bates family sold the property to Roberts Incorporated in 1952.[11] Oral history asserts that one of the cabins was relocated nearby. The size of the building, roof configuration, and construction style suggests that this may be true.


Probable Bates Cabin


Probably a Bates Cabin that was relocated.



[1] Fairfax County Deed Book F12(292)396, Mar 25, 1931.

[2] 1940 Federal Census as viewed on

[3] 1940 Federal Census as viewed on

[4] Fairfax County Deed Book T9(228)179, May 22, 1926.

[5] 1937 USDA aerial photo, courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority.

[6] 1940 Federal Census as viewed on

[7] Fairfax County School Board Minutes, June 4, 1935, as viewed online at

[8] 1940 Federal Census as viewed on

[9] Fairfax Herald, September 20, 1940, p1; Fairfax Herald, April 25, 1941, p1.

[10] Image acquired from

[11] Fairfax County Deed Book 972:240, April 29, 1952.