Last Thursday was unseasonably warm and sunny, even for northern Virginia, making it the perfect day for a drive through the country. As we drove along Route 15, luxuriating in the 70-degree weather, I spotted a small red building just to the side of the road; Sammy was napping in the back seat, so I pulled the truck over, grabbed my camera, and set off to take some pictures.
Constructed in 1886, Mountain Gap School was Loudoun County’s last operational one-room school when it closed in 1953. It survives as the sole remnant of the small village of Mountain Gap.
I peered into the windows and was pleasantly surprised to see that the interior appeared to be frozen in time; there were lessons written on the chalkboards, banners and maps hung on the walls, and there was even a bell on the teacher's desk.
The school is located just minutes from the historic Oatlands Plantation (I had hoped to take advantage of the lovely weather and take a tour of the house and gardens but unfortunately it's closed for the winter and won't reopen until March); the one-half-acre tract that the school is located on was obtained from George Carter of Oatlands in 1827, although the school wasn't actually built for another sixty years. The school is under the stewardship of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is part of the Oatlands Historic District.