In the 18th century, and first half of the 19th century, Manassas was exclusively agricultural and part of several large family estates.
The railroad in Manassas linked all destinations North and South and became a key switching point for two railroad lines. During this time the community was known as Manassas Junction and the railroad helped the village thrive.
It was because of the strategic importance of this railroad junction that Manassas was involved so personally with the Civil War. The Village of Manassas was heavily involved in two major military battles which changed the face of the existing community destroying most of the Village’s structures.
The wide scale destruction of Manassas Junction, as a consequence of the Civil War, explains why there are so few buildings remaining from that period represented in Manassas today. It was in 1865 that the new town was developed and structures built.
The former Manassas Presbyterian Church, located on North Main, is a Gothic Revival, made from locally quarried red sandstone that dates from 1874 and is part of the rebuilding of Manassas. Originally this church served its congregation for over 100 years. The Manassas Presbyterian Church was originally built to supplement an older frame building that dates back to 1867. The frame building stood on what was perhaps the first building used in Manassas exclusively for church purposes after the Civil War.
To this Church’s credit, the 1952 film, MY SON JOHN was partially filmed in Manassas and incorporated the former Church in several relevant scenes. “My Son John” starred Van Heflin, Helen Hayes, Robert Walker and Dean Jagger and captures this era’s paranoia concerning a possible communist invasion.