Hall’s Corner: Finding Local History in the Suburbs
8511 Hooes Road , Springfield, VA, USA
Hall’s Corner: Finding Local History in the Suburbs Springfield Reviews
Searching for Local History Sep 29, 2007
History is all around us. Sometimes it’s obvious, as represented by an ancient site, a cathedral, temple or mosque, or a museum. At other times, the history of a place may not so evident. One has to dig to find local history in the Springfield, Virginia, area. Nearly all trace of the rural communities and life that once existed here has vanished, replaced by suburban housing developments and business. Only historical makers tell of a past with a colonial tavern, Civil War railways, and Keene’s Mill. But, two structures in the Springfield neighborhood known as Hall’s Corner remain to attest to an earlier time in Fairfax County.
Hall’s Corner is named for the Hall family. The Halls were farmers and merchants in the area and operated a general store at the crossing of Hooes Road and Pohick Road in what is now a part of Springfield. (The nearby Hall’s Corner Sunoco gas station and convenience store continues the tradition.) An old farmhouse and barn tucked next to a commuter parking lot mark the general locale. Nearby are an old rural school building and church.
The Little Red Schoolhouse, is a rural one-room school dating from the early 20th century. No one knows exactly how long a school has stood here, but an 1878 map of Fairfax County shows a “Sch[oo]l Ho[use]” on this site. It is thought the present buidling was built about 1919 to replace an earlier sructure lost in a fire. Sydenstricker School, as it was known, was in use as a county school until 1939 when school busses and centralized multi-grade schools made it obsolete. It’s been used as a community center since the 1950s. The interior retains its schoolhouse appearance with a chalkboard, several wooden desks, and row of coat hooks. It fronts on Hooes Road, once a farm-to-market wagon road that now carries commuters on their way to work, school busses, and suburban families going about their daily errands.
Sydenstricker United Methodist Chapel next door to the schoolhouse dates from 1911. It was built on land adjacent to a grove where a Methodist congregation held outdoor services. The chapel was in regular use until 1981 when a larger church was built across the street on land donated by the Halls. The churchyard gravestones document the lives of the individuals and families who once lived here.
Visiting these structures, those interested in local history can begin to form a picture of life in Northern Virginia a century ago.
Part of the Daytripping around Virginia travel blog
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!