spring an underappreciated historic location in Loudoun County could have a
state historical marker thanks to the efforts of seventh grade social science
students at Farmwell Station Middle School.
year, social science teacher Jay Dodson received a $1,500 grant from the
Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF) to conduct a One to the World project
through which students would research a person, event or location associated
with the civil rights movement in Loudoun County; write the wording for a
Virginia Historical Highway Marker describing this person, event or place;
apply to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to approve the marker;
and, finally, have a marker erected.
the World projects seek to make learning more authentic for students by creating
a product or service that can be shared with the community.
teams of seventh-graders put forth proposed markers after conducting research
and composing a presentation on their neglected moment in history. On
Wednesday, November 2nd, nine of the teams presented their work to a panel of
judges – Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Supervisor of Social Science and
Global Studies Bill Brazier; LCPS Public Information Officer Wayde Byard; Laura
Christiansen, curator of manuscripts at Thomas Balch Library; technology resource
teacher Carol Wenger; and social sciences teacher Erik Sassak. (Thomas Balch
library served as a source for primary research for many of the students.) The
judges were tasked with narrowing the projects down to two, which will be
submitted to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources by December 1st.
projects were underway, Dodson said they morphed into a personalized learning
experience. Many students found other areas of history they thought had been
neglected and designed projects reflecting their research.
following projects were considered by the judges:
- Three teams researched
the Ashburn Colored School, which educated African-American students from 1892
until the late 1950s. The former school was recently vandalized and became the
object of a community renovation effort.
- The Leesburg Firemen’s
Pool, which was filled in during the 1960s when it was faced with
- A marker to
commemorate the 1930 drought, which devastated crops and caused three major
rivers (the Potomac, Rappahannock and Rapidan) to virtually dry up. The team
suggested their marker be placed near the Point of Rocks Bridge to give it
- The Goose Greek
Bridge; one of the last stone-arch bridges in Virginia. During the Civil War
Battle of Upperville in 1863, the bridge was a key strategic point.
- The Second Street
School in Waterford was a school for African-American students, a house of
worship and an alleged stop on the Underground Railroad that took runaway
slaves to freedom.
- A prisoner of war camp
just outside of Hamilton housed German prisoners who helped harvest crops
during the manpower shortage near the end of World War II.
- Nichols Hardware in
Purcellville, a business founded in 1914 and run uninterrupted since. This
store is emblematic of Loudoun’s mercantile past.
judges decided the two projects that would be submitted to the Virginia
Department of Historic Resources for consideration would be the Ashburn Colored
School and Leesburg Firemen’s Pool. (The three teams that researched the
Ashburn Colored School will be merged into one for their presentation.) Dodson
said the LEF Grant, supplemented by funds from Farmwell’s PTA, has provided the
$1,830 necessary to cast and place one historic marker.
are considering a project that could raise funds for two markers if both are
accepted by the Department of Historic Resources. Students will find out if
their marker(s) has been approved February 1st. Dodson said the hope is to
install the new marker in May.