What Is that Building?
For years we drove by this little building with the chipped paint on Ashburn Road. Little did we know that a piece of history was slowly falling apart in front of our eyes.
January, 2015 — While searching for property to build our new campus on, we found not only a great spot for our new building, but also discovered that the little building right next to it is the Ashburn Colored School - one of the few remaining African American schoolhouses in Loudoun County.
Eighth Graders Adopt Project
January, 2015 — In eighth grade, Loudoun School for the Gifted students work on a group project during the second semester. When these students found out about the Ashburn Colored School, they decided to try to take on the rehabilitation project as their eighth grade project.
Rehabilitation Project Becomes a Club
September, 2015 — Because so many of our students were interested in helping with the rehabilitation, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, we opened up the project to all of our students as an after school club.
Intro to Archaeology
September, 2015 — Our first task was to understand more about the building and its history. Jana Shafagoj and Katie Needham from Morven Park provided an overview of archaeological methodologies. Topics included soil layers/age, context, tools, excavation phases and choosing a scope of work. Students then selected the locations around the perimeter of the building for Shovel Test Pits (STPs).
Students Dig First Test Pits
October, 2015 — Katie Needham from Morven Park lead students in the first STP excavation, screening, documentation and artifact processing. While we didn't discover any "treasurers," we learned a lot.
GoFundMe Campaign Launch
November, 2015 — Students launch their first crowdfunding campaign with GoFundMe.
Student Article About Restoration Project
December, 2015 — One of our 8th grade rehabilitation project team members wrote this article that serves as a background for the project.
Understanding Historic Architecture
December, 2015 — As we started to raise money, we needed to put together the rehabilitation plan. Jana Shafagoj from Morven Park walked students through an introduction to historic architecture. She presented a basic overview of how buildings are read and understood, and explained how we would need to think through the decisions we needed to make for the rehabilitation.
Cypress Contracting Stabilizes and Winterizes School
January, 2016 — Cypress Contracting donated their time and supplies to get the Ashburn Colored School ready for winter. They supported the back corner of the building that was falling in, added a safety railing around the front porch, made sure that the boards covering the windows were secure, fixed the door that didn't like to lock, and put up a barrier to keep wildlife out.
National Register of Historic Places
January, 2016 — Jane Covington, from Jane Covington Restoration, helped us through the first step of becoming listed on the National Register of Historic Places by filing our Preliminary Information Form. Thank you very much Ms. Covington!
Documenting Foundation Issues
February, 2016 — Students spent a very cold afternoon at the Old School site documenting the issues with the foundation with help from Jana Shafagoj from Morven Park. They will be putting together a document to go out for bid in the next couple of weeks. We're hoping that our GoFundMe campaign will have raised enough funds to move forward with rebuilding the foundation as soon as the weather warms up enough!
Local Articles Feature Rehabilitation Project
February, 2016 — In February, word of our project started to get out to a larger audience. We had three amazing articles in local papers:
Loudoun Now — Old Ashburn Schoolhouse to Get New Life
Loudoun Times Mirror — Students work to save historic Ashburn schoolhouse
Washington Post — While building a modern school, Va. students hope to save a historic one
Our First TV News Coverage
February, 2016 — The Ashburn Old School project team was interviewed on News 4. Gwyneth was the main interviewee, with support from Katie, Shailee, Kamran, Ella, and Taz.
Watch the interview here (it has some great footage of the interior as it stands at this point).
Lunch with Former Student, Ms. Yvonne Neal
March, 2016 — We had an amazing lunch with former Old Ashburn School student, Yvonne Neal and her daughter. She described what the Old School looked like, and what an average day at the school was like.
Meeting Lola Jackson's Brother, Reverend Alfonso Harrod
March, 2016 — We had the pleasure of meeting Reverend Alfonso Harrod. Reverend Harrod is the younger brother of Lola Jackson, who taught at the Ashburn Old School. We heard wonderful stories about his life, as well as Ms. Jackson's. Thank you Donna Bohanon, chair of the Black History Committee at the Thomas Balch Library, for inviting us to his presentation!
Windows Removed to Begin Restoration
March, 2016 — Fairview Restoration picked up our windows to begin their restoration. Once the foundation is rebuilt, the windows will be reinstalled.
Lunch Discussion with Former Student, Ms. Louise Winzor, and Family
March, 2016 — We got to meet another former Ashburn Colored School student — Ms. Louise Winzor! Ms. Winzor and her family came to visit us and share stories from the Old School.
GiveChoose Fundraising Event
May, 2016 — GiveChoose is a 24-hour online fundraising event organized by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. We raised $575 through this event!
Yard & Bake Sale to Save the Old School
May, 2016 — Our yard sale to save the Old School raised $1,026.93 and just as importantly raised awareness for the Old School project! Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this event a success — from donating items, to baking sweets, to organizing and pricing items, to driving students, to working the sale — it was an awesome community effort!
4th Graders Support the Cause
June, 2016 — 4th grade students from Mill Run Elementary School visited with our Ashburn Old School rehabilitation project team yesterday to find out more about the Old School and see the work that we are doing. Our students updated them on our progress and gave them a tour of the interior of the schoolhouse. These 4th graders are amazing! Their teacher, Katie Wheedleton, told them about our project and the students decided that they wanted to help us raise funds to save this historic one-room schoolhouse. They are having a bike wash on June 6th to raise money and even created a really cool video to advertise for it.
Local Artist Donates Original Painting
June, 2016 — Artist Joe Gastrock created this beautiful pastel of the Ashburn Colored School and donated it to the students. We are hoping to have t-shirts featuring this painting available in the future.
Loudoun Now Article
June, 2016 — Loudoun Now featured an article about the progress we're making on the Ashburn Colored School rehabilitation project.
Shelving Removed from Interior
August, 2016 — We've taken the interior shelving down and now you can really get a feel for the size of the school (and what we'll need to do to restore it).
Restored Windows Reinstalled
September, 2016 — Fairview Glass finished restoring and reinstalling the original six over six windows. Light is finally flooding the School again after years of darkness.
Yard & Bake Sale to Save the Ashburn Colored School
September, 2016 — Our second yard and bake sale for the Old School raised almost $2,000 and just as importantly raised awareness for the Old School project! Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this event a success - from donating items, to baking sweets, to organizing and pricing items, to driving students, to working the sale — it was an awesome community effort!
October 1st — October 9th: Vandalism and Community Restoration Celebration
Visit this page to read the whole story of the vandalism and restoration.
Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins Donate $35K
October, 2016 — Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation donated $35,000 to complete the GoFundMe campaign goal of $100,000. We can't thank them enough for enabling us to move forward with the complete rehabilitation project!
November, 2016 — The interior walls and ceiling have been stripped of the rotting beaverboard and mold-cover lath strips. We've also removed the beadboard to take it off-site to have the lead paint removed. Next comes the flooring...
November, 2016 — Eric built a new outhouse for the Ashburn Colored School as part of earning his Eagle Scout rank.
January, 2017 — We're ready to start rebuilding the interior of the Old School. The floors and walls have all been removed. It's fascinating to see what has been supporting this structure for the last 100 years - we're lucky that it has lasted!
Building from the Ground Up
February, 2017 — Work has begun on shoring up the framing of the Old School. They are also replacing the exterior boards that are cracked or broken beyond repair.
March, 2017 — We were excited to see a brief mention of the rehabilitation project in the RollingStone article, Inside the Trump Effect: How One District Is Fighting Hate at School.
June, 2017 — The drywall and floor support has been installed.
Historical Marker Dedication
June, 2017 — Mr. Anthony Dodson and students from his seventh grade social studies class applied, received a grant, and were approved for a historical marker for the Ashburn Colored School. On June 6th, they hosted a dedication ceremony at the site. Job well done!
Article about Dedication Ceremony in Loudoun Now
Kelsie McCrae, an LSG alum who interned with Loudoun Now for the summer, wrote an article about the dedication ceremony: Educators Behind Restored Ashburn Schoolhouse Prepare for Unveiling.
September, 2017 — Interior complete. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Jeff Lagana of Lagana Floor Services, the interior was finished in time for the dedication ceremony — it looks amazing!
September 16, 2017 — we celebrated the end of the first chapter of the rehabilitation story with approximately 200 guests, including six past students (pictured to the right). There is still much to do, but we are so grateful to everyone who helped us get to this point! Read more about the ceremony here.