Photo of Philomont white school was taken in 1940.
Address Community Center, which was the second school, is 36592 Jeb Stuart Rd.
P.O. Box 268, Philomont, VA. 20131
According to the insurance records in the Edwin Washington Archives, the structure was built in 1917 as two story, detached, frame stucco building with metal roof on stone foundation; however, we believe this is the 1919 pebble dashers referenced in a history developed by the village of Philomont. The building contained two room for school purposes and was lit by electricity and heated by stoves, the brick flues of which were of standard construction. There are some architectural differences, so further research is required.
As of 1940, the School Board only owned the first floor of the building, so in order to arrive at an insurance rate, the agent simply used one half of the estimate for the entire building. The main portion was approximately 57′ x 29.5′ with an entrance hall 20.5′ x 17.5′ and an addition of approximately 16′ x 16′. In 1940, the building was in fair condition, the metal rood showing signs of rust and in serious need of paint. Insured in 1940 for $3,000.
See also History of the Philomont Community Center. In John James Dillon’s log appears this entry: (Provided, courtesy of the Philomont Community Center). There are some differences in the history from the above account, which was developed by the insurance agent for LCPS in 1940.
“Free School commenced at Philomont, February 6, 1871.”
The two room stone school was completed in 1871 and by 1890 the Masons had affixed a frame wing for a village hall. In its yard by the pike, stood the old log school mentioned by Yardley Taylor in 1834. Some of the stone school’s original teachers included: Marian Chamblin, Lucy Simpson, Jennie Gates and Janie Tiffany. Virginia Rust was one of the school’s first principals. Additional teachers of the times were Clara Hersberger, Ida Bocock, Margaret Franklin, Helen Simpson, Francis Mayse and Mary Kephart.
The original old stone school burned in 1917 and was consequently moved to the upper Philomont store. There it stayed a year until 1919 when John and Bright Tavenner built the pebble dash two roomer. Later, Albert Milhollen donated $2,500 to add a community hall atop the classrooms, where the drama club met.
Once purchased by the Loudoun County School Board, the lower level was used as the Philomont School, while the large multipurpose room was used for special events, town meetings, plays and the like. Revenue raised from these events were used for town projects, such as the installation of a sidewalk. Several town residents today remember attending the Philomont School in their youth.
The last full year for the school was 1944. There were 13 children in attendance but not enough gas to bring a bus down from Purcellville. That year, Rosebud James, the student’s regular teacher was very ill so Terry Hirst and O.E. Emerick persuaded Dixie Lake to finish out the term. Ms. Lake closed out the school in January 1945.
After its closing, Cliff Rust purchased and re-sold the old school building to Reverend B.E. Manuel and the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. After remodeling, Reverend Manuel’s family resided in the downstairs portion of the building while religious services were held upstairs.
In 1961 the building was sold to Richard and Mary Irwin. Now as a private home, the Irwins resided in the building until their deaths in 1986.
1945; Center outgrew Philomont Fire Department, Mrs. Dixie Lake teacher.
1985; The Philomont Community Center began by renting space from the Philomont Volunteer Fire Department only two days a week.
Folowing the death of both the Irwins, which occurred within a two year span, the building was reentered into the real estate market. It was the community’s desire to have the building converted into a community center.
1987; The building was purchased by Loudoun County to be operated as the Philomont
Community Center by Loudoun County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.
1988; Community and county renovations by November 1988 allowed the Philomont Community Center to open its doors to the community once again. Nine rooms, available seven days a week. Staff hours increased and programming greatly expanded. Preschool grew to 29 children with total attendance reaching 4,700 with a revenue of $6,300.
Over the years the Philomont Community Center has continued to grow both in attendance and revenue projections. From its humble beginnings, the center now serves over 20,000 patrons a year and currently earns revenue in excess of $25,000. Through the efforts of the community and county partnership, each year programs, equipment and activities have continued to grow to meet the needs of the ever-growing population in western Loudoun. Some of the highlights over the years include:
1989; Playground and fencing were added to the park area making it one of the favorite parks in all of western Loudoun. Game room established with ping pong, pool and foosball tables in existing office. Preschool scholarship fund created.
1991; Advisory Board began fund raising to build a pavilion in the park, completed in 1995. The community rallied around the Community Center to save it from closing during the budget crunch in the 90’s – thank you!
1992; Center received a $3,000 grant from the Robey Foundation to completion the pavilion. Barbeque chicken and yoyo quilt raffle fundraiser held. Children’s Garden designed. Annual Halloween Trick or Treat Hayride and Carnival attendance up to 200!
1994; Advisory Board raised funds through a Breakfast with Santa and a Wreaths and Roping sale for the holidays for back property line fence. Center Manager Ann Puleo retired after serving the community for eight years. Beth Rogers welcomed as new Center Manager.
1995; Manager Mrs. Fran Whitson and staff held largest Easter Egg Hunts with record crowds of close to 300. Mrs. Debbie Ludtke joins the center as Fran’s center assistant.
1999; Debbie Ludtke becomes manager (1999 – ).
2002; Game room converted to current office. Philomont’s first annual Big Truck Day – still a huge success!
2003; Office staff hired on full time
2004; New playground purchased by county, Neighbor – Debbie Pitts, played active role (many thanks!)