Adora and Bob on the front steps of the original Sydenstricker Schoolhouse (2015)
Back to School pictures this year came with a lesson American education! I started researching one room schoolhouses in Virginia when I came across and fell in love with this little red school house in Springfield. It’s called the The Historic Sydenstricker Schoolhouse and it was built in 1928. This gem in our backyard is basically in it’s original condition- a real rarity when it comes to early 20th century school houses. The Upper Pohick Community League has maintained it since 1954. Fun fact.. they bought it for $550! Our visit was a real treat. The moment you walk through the doors you can smell an era long gone. The wood beneath you creaks and bends beautifully. The natural light shines perfectly through the old windows that you know have seen a lot of stories come and go. I had the best history guide to show me around. Lisa Friedrich Becker a history lover met me there. She has had a huge hand in efforts to preserve the school which is on the National Historic Registry. She showed me the hooks where kids use to hang their coats and the spot a local couple held their wedding reception in 1954. I brought my kids and gave them a little lesson on how eschool use to be back in the day. To be honest, it was more like a recollection of Little House on the Prairie— a show I was obsessed with as a child. Watching my children run up the stairs into the school house was a brief transport back in time. A time when things seemed so simple. Adora and Bob caused a bit of ruckus jumping and laughing and running in circles on the hardwood. They especially got a kick out of the chance to pull the rope and ring the original school bell. The bell, which was bought in Alexandria survived a fire that burned down the original building.
During the 1950s the League sponsored a Boy and Girl Scout troop, as well as a “Litter Buggy” which collected trash from local roads. You can see the Schoolhouse in the background.
The school officially closed in 1939 but has played host to many community and private events since then despite it’s limitations– no running water, no bathroom.. unreliable heating and cooling. I’m surprised more photos have not surfaced over the years. They are always looking for anyone who attended Sydenstricker Schoolhouse or were early members of The Upper Pohick Community League. The search is on for any photos or documents they could help tell this unfolding story. Below is an event that the group is having to celebrate and raise awareness about the school.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Community Coffee House, 6-9 PM
FREE live music, coffee and baked goods all donated by members of our community and local businesses! Featuring the Fairfax Band Association Saxophone Quartet, singer Dave Brunelle… and more! Delicious food donated by The Swiss Bakery, Whole Foods Springfield, the Springfield Hilton and more!! There will be no charge for admission, but donations are greatly appreciated. It will be a great evening to celebrate our community!!
The Historic Sydenstricker Schoolhouse is located at 8511 Hooes Road in Springfield, VA 22153 More information available here.
Here’s to learning things… new and old this School Year!
Bob enters Pre-K this year!
Adora with her pencil that really writes!
One of the first students to attend Sydenstricker Schoolhouse (1928)
Can you imagine how much tag was played outside this school.
Adora is sitting about where the fridge is in this undated picture of a dance.
Here’s the schoolhouse decked out for an event in recent years (oh those floors!)
Bob sitting on a vintage school desk donated by a local resident.
Bring on the books!
(photos taken with my iPhone for more historic and recent photos like the one below check out Sydenstricker Schoolhouse’s facebook page)