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Still Empty After All These Years: Reston’s Old Bowman Distillery

Bowman House/Photo by Reston 2020 via Flickr

Development is moving Reston forward, with new residential, office and retail going up all around Reston Parkway and Old Reston Avenue.

One plot remains the same — and empty.

The 126-year-old Bowman Distillery has been empty for at least 20 years. The distillery, formerly home to where they used to make Virginia Gentleman whiskey, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999. That means it can’t be torn down to make way for condos, offices or the other type of development happening around Reston.

The white brick building could, however, be repurposed into something else. A museum? A Bed and Breakfast?

In addition to being a distillery, the building served long ago as the Wiehle Town Hall and a church.

The distillery has gone through several rezoning applications over the years. In 1989, after Bowman Distillery moved operations to Fredericksburg, the building was rezoned as part of a larger mixed-use development. Some of that development happened on parts of the original 32-acre property, but the historic building remains untouched.

In 1998, it was sold to an owner who planned to build a Bed and Breakfast or condo. It sold again in 2010 for $540,000.

With its historic bones and close proximity to the W & OD Trail and Reston Town Center, surely someone has a vision for the property. What is yours? Tell us in the comments.

Old Bowman Distillery/file photo

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Fill This Space: Old Bowman Distillery

Bowman House/Photo by Reston 2020 via Flickr

Reston may be a 50-year-old “new town,” but there is one building that dates back to the days of yore.

The Bowman Distillery on Old Reston Avenue has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999. It has been empty much longer.

The structure was built in 1890, and in addition to the place they made Virginia Gentleman whiskey, the building also served as the long-ago Wiehle Town Hall and a church.

The distillery has gone through several rezoning applications over the years. In 1989, after Bowman Distillery moved  operations to Fredericksburg, the building was rezoned as part of a larger mixed-use development. Some of that development happened on parts of the original 32-acre property, but the historic building remains untouched.

In 1998, it was sold to an owner who planned to build a Bed and Breakfast or condo. It sold again in 2010 for $540,000.

With its historic bones and close proximity to the W & OD Trail and Reston Town Center, surely someone has a vision for the property. What is yours? Tell us in the comments.

Photo: Bowman Distillery/File photo by Reston 2020

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