Oakton residents celebrated the historic Vale Schoolhouse with a mini farmers market and dozens of other local crafters and organizations filling schoolhouse's grounds.
Vale Club, the social club based out of the schoolhouse, honors the building's tie to the community with a fall festival every year, but Saturday's festivities marked another important moment in Vale Schoolhouse's history.
Earlier this year, the building was listed on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, which will be marked with a plaque on the schoolhouse. A replica of that plaque was unveiled Saturday.
The ceremony — opened and closed by fifth- and sixth-grade chorus members from Waples Mill Elementary School — included remarks from Supervisor Michael Frey (Sully) and county historic preservation planner Linda Cornish Blank, and club members Flossie Delaney-Nix (president), Carol Cross and Trish Strat. Letters from U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and regional director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, David Edwards.
"It matters that the Vale Club has protected and preserved this property for nearly 80 years," Blank said. "They continue to take pride and care in their community. They have honored those that have come before, while leaving something better for those that come after."
Vale Schoolhouse, built around 1884, was an active school until 1931. In 1934, Oakton newcomer Florence Jodzies lobbied the county to reopen the building as the home base for the newly formed Vale Home Demonstration Club, which offered extension and home demonstration activities.
Seventy-seven years later, the club is still in action as the Vale Club, which has evolved with the times in the types of activities the women engage in. Now members can sign up for clubs within the larger group, such as wine, book, gourmet or outreach clubs.
The ceremony went beyond honoring the schoolhouse, with some of the speakers touching on the importance of revering history by taking care of our present.
"We need to preserve what's here ... because where we've been is something we're all very proud of. It has made us what we are today," Frey said.