After years of preserving and compiling data on the Oakton Schoolhouse, two interpretive markers now stand outside to inform the public of its history.
The Fairfax County Park Authority and Hunter Mill Defense League (HMDL) presented the two markers in an unveiling ceremony at the schoolhouse in Oakton Community Park on Saturday.
"I would really like to thank the Hunter Mill Defense League for all they have done, not just with these plaques here, which are wonderful, but for all they have worked on to make people aware of the history of the Hunter Mill Corridor, of the Oakton area," Supervisor Linda Smyth (Providence) said. "This is really a special community and you have helped raise the awareness of that and preserved the history."
Along with Smyth, Park Authority Board member Ken Quincy, Park Authority Director John Dargle, HMDL members and other residents of the Oakton community.
The Oakton Schoolhouse is one of three schoolhouses that date back to 1851, when Mary Holland Bell stood before students as the school's first teacher. Anna Pauline "Pat" Price, 86, and one of her sons, Don, attended the unveiling ceremony.
"It just makes me feel so good to know my ancestors were good, honest, hard-working people. They were just the salt of the earth, so to speak," Pat Price said. "They weren't terribly important or outstanding, but just decent, wholesome people, and that's the way I like to think of myself."
The schoolhouse moved to Oakton Community Park in 2007, a few years after Appalachian Outfitters — which owned the building along with various additions made throughout the 20th century — shut its doors at the corner of Chain Bridge and Hunter Mill roads. Chevy Chase Bank, now Capital One, bought the land and helped pay to have the schoolhouse moved to honor the community's wish to have the building preserved.
The two signs in front of the schoolhouse are the ninth and 10th signs HMDL has helped place along Hunter Mill Road. HMDL has used various fundraising efforts, from bus tours of the 's history to sales from its DVD and books on the same topic, to help pay for the signs.
"We look forward to the time when the park is fully developed ... and used for the community," said Charlie Balch, of the HMDL history committee.