The Lee Chapel was a Methodist Episcopalian church constructed in 1871 that sat on two acres of land at the intersection of Pohick Road and Mill Road (now Fairfax County Parkway and Lee Chapel Road). The church named in honor of General Robert E. Lee, also served as a local hub for community activities and worshippers from Burke and other surrounding areas.
Lee Chapel was attended by some of Fairfax County’s most prominent community members. The church flourished until attendance dwindled around the 1920s. The chapel fell into disrepair, and with no funds or immediate routes to the church available, it eventually closed. As the population of Burke and the surrounding counties increased, the church reopened in 1939 and remained open through the 1940s.
The fate of the chapel appeared to be sealed when plans for the Burke National Airport were revealed during the 1940s. When residents began to protest the plans, it was relocated to nearby Chantilly and is now known as Dulles International Airport. Despite the successful relocation, the damage had already been done in terms of the church congregation. Many of its regular members and surrounding families had already left the area after their land was purchased by the government for the airport. Lee Chapel finally closed in 1951 and important artifacts from the church were distributed among its remaining long-time members.
Lee Chapel’s cemetery is the oldest in the community and is still used for burials today while also containing over 40 headstones. It also houses the remains of Burke’s grisliest murder victim, Eva Roy.
Eva was a young girl whose father, Peter Roy, was an active member of the Lee Chapel Methodist Church and lived in Burke during the early 20th century. Peter Roy was a prosperous farmer whose farm was located near the intersection of Old Keene Mill Road and Sydenstricker Road. On the morning of August 6th, 1918 Eva Roy, who was 14 at the time, was sent out by her father to tend to their cows. When she didn’t return, her father became worried. Her body was discovered the next morning tied to a small tree with a rope around her neck.
The murder caused pandemonium around the community and the story made headlines across the country. After a botched crime scene that resulted in 10 different suspects, the murder of Eva went unsolved. She was buried not long after the murder in Lee Chapel Cemetery.
The cemetery is currently utilized and maintained by Burke United Methodist Church.
Know Before You Go
The best way to access the cemetery is by making a right off Lee Chapel Road (coming from the Fairfax County Parkway) onto Yardarm Lane. Drive all the way down and you’ll see an open cut on your right to walk into the cemetery, just before you get to the cul-de-sac. Please be respectful while on the site of the cemetery.