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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

PIF Resource Information Sheet

This information sheet is designed to provide the Virginia Department of Historic Resources with the necessary data to be able to evaluate the significance of the property for possible listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. This is not a formal nomination, but a necessary step in determining whether or not the property could be

considered eligible for listing. Please take the time to fill in as many fields as possible.

will result in a more timely and accurate assessment. Staff assistance is available to answer any questions you have in regards to

this form.

A greater number of completed fields

General Property Information


For Staff Use Only





Property Name(s):

Woodlawn School

Property Date(s):


Property Date(s): 1937 Circa Pre Post Open to Public?  Y e s Limited No


Property Date(s): 1937 Circa Pre Post Open to Public?  Y e s Limited No


Property Date(s): 1937 Circa Pre Post Open to Public?  Y e s Limited No


Open to Public?


Property Date(s): 1937 Circa Pre Post Open to Public?  Y e s Limited No


Property Date(s): 1937 Circa Pre Post Open to Public?  Y e s Limited No


Property Address:

8505 Highland Lane





County or Ind. City:


USGS Quad(s):

Mount Vernon


Physical Character of General Surroundings




Setting (choose one):

Acreage: Roughly Setting (choose one): Urban Town Village  Suburban Rural Transportation Corridor


Acreage: Roughly Setting (choose one): Urban Town Village  Suburban Rural Transportation Corridor


Village  Suburban

Village Suburban

Village  Suburban


Acreage: Roughly Setting (choose one): Urban Town Village  Suburban Rural Transportation Corridor

Transportation Corridor

11 acres


Site Description Notes/Notable Landscape Features:


Woodlawn School is located close to Route 1 (Richmond Highway) on Highland Lane in a residential neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia.

Secondary Resource Description (Briefly describe any other structures (or archaeological sites) that may contribute to the

significance of the property:

A noncontributing modular classroom annex was constructed at the east end of the building in ca.


The annex is not connected to the main building, but is linked by a covered walkway.


Ownership Category:








Individual Resource Information


What was the historical use of this resource? Examples include: Dwelling, Grist Mill, Bridge, Store, Tobacco Barn, etc…

Woodlawn School has always been a public elementary school.


What is the current use? (if other than the historical use)


Architectural style or elements of styles:


Colonial Revival


Architect, builder, or original owner:

The original owner was the Fairfax Co. School Board. The 1937 architect was the Division of School Buildings at the State Department of Education. The 1937 builder was Newport News-based contractor C. C. Vellines.

# of stories



# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated

Excellent Good

Excellent  Good


# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated


# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated


# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated


# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated


# of stories 1 Condition: Excellent  Good Fair Deteriorated Poor Ruins Rebuilt Renovated


Are there any known threats to this property?

None known.


Preliminary Information Form Revised August 2009, QH

Resource Component Information

Please answer the following questions regarding the individual components of the resource. If the component does not exist, answer “n/a.” If you feel uncomfortable in answering the question, please leave the space blank. Photographs of the features can also help our staff identify specific feature components. Usually, priority is given to describing features on the primary (front) facade of the structure.

Foundation: Describe the foundation that supports the structure. Examples include piers, continuous brick, poured concrete. The Woodlawn School building has a continuous red brick foundation laid up in a Flemish variant of American bond on all elevations.

Structure: Describe the primary structural component of the resource. Include primary material used. Examples include log,

frame (sawn lumber), and brick.

Also include the treatment, such as a particular brick bond or type of framing, if known.

The building has unpainted red brick masonry bearing walls, which are laid up in a Flemish variant of American bond on all elevations.

Walls: Describe the exterior wall covering such as beaded weatherboard or asbestos shingles. The unpainted red brick walls are laid up in a Flemish variant of American bond on all elevations. There is a brick soldier course at the water table of the original building.

Windows: Describe the number, material, and form of the primary windows. This includes the number of panes per sash, what the sashes are made of, and how the sashes operate (are they hinged or do they slide vertically) Have the windows been replaced? Many of the building’s windows are modern replacements. Windows on the front are six-over-six, double-hung sash. The 1952 wing contains large metal windows that appear to have been installed in the 1980s. The rear, 1956 addition contains original glass block windows and modern awning windows. 1980s wings have metal windows. Historic windows appear to be limited to several multi-light wood transoms, and 1950s glass block.

Porch: Briefly describe the primary (front) porch. List the primary material, shape of the porch roof, and other defining details. The school has no projecting porches. Most entries are sheltered by recessed brick alcoves. Paired historic doors at the main entrance are recessed within an arched alcove. Secondary entries are covered with alcoves with flat lintels.

Roof: Describe the roof, listing the shape and the covering material. The original 1937 portion of the school is covered with a slate gable roof. All the building’s later wings and additions are covered with flat, built-up or membrane roofs. The slate roof is visible from the front and sides of the building. The membrane roofs are concealed by brick parapets, and are not visible from the ground, or any public rights-of-way.

Chimney(s): List the number of chimneys and the materials used. Include the brick bond pattern if possible. The building has no chimneys.

Architectural Description of Individual Resource: (Please describe architectural patterns, types, features, additions, remodelings, or other alterations. A sketch of the current floor plan would be appreciated)

Summary Description

A one-story, red brick elementary school built 1937-38 and expanded six times, Woodlawn School fronts on

Highland Lane in southeast Fairfax County, Virginia. Originally Colonial Revival in style, the building was expanded with a series of additions to the north side and rear. The original building was designed with simple ornament, and with a combination of massing and details that have come to suggest archetypal Virginia public school design in the 1920s and 1930s. These elements include symmetrical massing reflecting a symmetrical floor plan, brick walls, white trim, and Colonial Revival details executed in brick and cast stone. The property occupies an L-shaped site close to the Richmond Highway (Route 1). The single historic resource on the property is the school building.

Site Located in the Northern Virginia suburbs between Interstate 95 and the Potomac River, Woodlawn School is sited

in a neighborhood of single family dwellings built in the 1930s. A post office, fraternal lodge and paved parking

areas separate the school from the nearby Route 1, the Richmond Highway. Woodlawn County Park flanks the north boundary of the property.

Exterior The primary façade is comprised of a seven-bay-wide central projecting mass between two recessed, four-bay pavilions. A brick soldier course tops the foundation of the original building. At the center of the 1937 building, a pediment and Doric pilasters indicate the main entry, a pair of paneled wood doors sheltered within an arched alcove, and topped with an arched transom. Windows on the front are a mix of six-over-six and eight-over-eight, double-hung replacement sash. Front windows have cast stone sills. The 1937 portion of the building is topped with a slate gable roof. A simple molded wood cornice marks the eaves. In 1938, the building was expanded to the

rear with two classroom wings. The area between the wings was filled with another addition in 1947, which added four classrooms, a cafeteria, kitchen and teacher’s lounge to the school. The recessed south side entry consists of ca. 1947 paired paneled doors topped with a multi-light transom. In 1952, a large wing was constructed north of the main block, to house a clinic, auditorium, multi-purpose room and classroom. Due to the sloped site, the 1952 wing was connected to the earlier building with a stair and corridor. At the front of the 1952 building two pairs of flush-panel doors with half-lights are topped with transoms. Expansion to the rear continued with a 1956 addition, which supplied eight more classrooms, an enlarged kitchen and a larger library (a converted multi-purpose room).

Further additions were made to the north side and rear in 1986-87. The architectural treatments of the later wings are far simpler than those of the original building. Although all portions of the building are constructed of red brick, later additions have flat roofs and larger punched openings. Simple metal coping marks the rooflines of the additions. Windows in the additions are a mix of large fixed panes, long expanses of glass block and awning windows. A free-standing noncontributing, modular classroom building was installed at the rear in ca. 2000. The modular classroom is linked to the main block by covered walkways.

Interior The building’s much-evolved plan and expansions are easily legible from the building's exterior. The oldest sections of the building, constructed 1937-1947, are at the front (southwest) corner of the site. Original classrooms and corridors remain, with their plaster walls, yellow glazed brick wainscot, paneled wood doors, transoms, wood cabinetry and wood trim (photos 21-23). Dropped acoustical tile ceilings conceal the original ceilings, but could be easily removed (photo 24). At the front of the 1952 wing is a cafeteria/auditorium, with a stage at one end. The 1956 classroom addition was constructed to the rear of the 1952 wing. Interior finishes in the 1950s wings include painted brick and concrete block masonry walls, carpet and tile floors, and dropped acoustical tile ceilings. Woodwork includes paneled wood doors, transoms, casings and classroom cabinetry (photos 31, 33, 37-38). The halls of the 1956 wing have green ceramic tile wainscoting. The most recent additions from 2000 and 2001 are at the east end of the property, and are connected to the main block by walkways.

Woodlawn School, Additions, Alterations, Architects and Engineers


Work completed



Original construction of current building

Division of School Buildings, State Department of Education Richmond, VA


Rear classroom additions

Division of School Buildings, State Department of Education Richmond, VA


Addition and alteration

Dixon & Norman Architects, Richmond, VA


Additions and alterations

Frederick Tilp, AIA, Registered Architect, Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC


Additions and alterations

Bailey and Patton, Registered Architects Arlington, VA


Additions and alterations

Bailey and Pye Architects



Sheridan, Behm, Eustice, Ltd., AIA, Arlington, VA



Abrash Eddy and Eckhardt Architects, Great Falls, VA


A/C retrofit

Architecture, Inc., Reston, VA



SHW Group Inc., Reston, VA


Modular classroom addition

Landmark Building Systems, Inc. (note: a separate building)

Significance Statement: Briefly note any significant events, personages, and/or families associated with the property. (Detailed family genealogies are not necessary.) Please list all sources of information. It is not necessary to attach lengthy articles or genealogies to this form. Normally, only information contained on this form will be posted for consideration by the State Review Board.

Statement of Significance Woodlawn School meets National Register Criterion A because the building is an intact example of an historic Fairfax County public elementary school and because the school holds a unique place in Fairfax County history. There are no other individually listed schools in Fairfax County.

One of the county's oldest educational institutions, Woodlawn School was founded by Quakers as a "free white school" ca. 1847. From ca.1847 until 1938, Woodlawn School occupied various buildings, including, briefly, the Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (NRHP) and the Woodlawn Plantation House (NHL). By 1871 the school, which had moved to a free-standing one-classroom school house fronting on Route 1, was operated by the Fairfax County School Board. A replacement four-classroom school building -the subject of this document- was commissioned on a nearby site in 1937. At the time of its completion in early 1938, this new Woodlawn School was “the most modern school building in the county” (Fairfax Herald, 02/04/1938). Woodlawn was expanded as the County’s population continued to swell. Its additions date to 1938, 1947, 1952, 1956, 1986, and 1987. Even while the building was under construction, plans were developed for its expansion. Woodlawn still serves its original function as a public elementary school for Fairfax County. The building's nearly continuous expansion from the late 1930s through the present is a result of the rapid expansion of Fairfax County as a bedroom community to Washington, DC.

Historic Context - Origins of Woodlawn School The history of Woodlawn School began with the migration of Quakers to Fairfax County around 1846. The Quaker population placed a strong emphasis on the education of all children. The Gillingham-Troth Company, a Quaker organization, purchased historic Woodlawn Plantation from Lorenzo Lewis, son of Nellie Custis and her husband Major Lawrence Lewis (Woodlawn NHL form). The Quakers migrated to Fairfax to establish a community of families who might farm the land with free, rather than slave, labor. Advocates for education, Quaker community leaders designated a room within the Woodlawn mansion (NHL) as a free school. As attendance grew, a small miller’s cottage on the property was rehabilitated for use as a school building. Woodlawn School served Fairfax County children from the cottage at Woodlawn, the main house (NHL), and later from the Woodlawn Quaker Meeting House (NRHP) until 1869 (Mattie B. Cooper). The founding of the "free white school" at Woodlawn predated Virginia’s public school system by nearly 25 years.

Recognizing the need for Woodlawn School to have a permanent home, as a public school, local landowners Mason and Courtland Lukens gave land fronting on the Accotink Turnpike (now Route 1) to the Trustees of the Woodlawn School, for that purpose in 1869. Long time Principal Mattie B. Cooper described this facility in her 1968 school history as “a very small crude building containing two rooms with a hallway between.” Cooper notes that the school was “…built by interested parties and patrons of the school…” Ca. 1917-1918, Woodlawn School burned. The original stone foundation was reconstructed, and new whitewashed walls were framed up. The rebuilt school was operational by autumn of 1918.

In February 1927, Woodlawn School was accredited in a letter from the State Educational Office to the Fairfax County School Board office. ("Accredited Schools." Fairfax Herald 18 Feb. 1927. Print.) When it became clear that the small frame school was too small to meet the community’s needs, the Fairfax County Superintendent of Schools began the process of inspecting sites for a new school building planned for constructed in the vicinity of the existing school. Funds to construct the school were to be borrowed

from the State Literary Fund after the community voted down a measure to pay for the new building through school bonds ("Inspecting Sites." Fairfax Herald 13 Mar. 1936. Print.)

History of the Current Building By 1935-36, the student population at Woodlawn had had increased from 78 to 162 students. In March of 1936, then-School Superintendent Woodson and a small committee scouted sites for the new facility. More than ten acres of nearby land was given to the county for the new Woodlawn School. Before Woodlawn School could be built, the school board had to overcome a zoning hurdle. The deed for the property specified that only dwellings -and no other building types- could be constructed on the land. County officials eventually secured the community’s approval to construct the building ("Woodlawn School. Board Having Trouble in Plans for Its Construction." Fairfax Herald 2 July 1937: 1. Print). In July of 1937, the construction contract for Woodlawn School was awarded to Newport News contractor C. C. Villines. Construction began a few days later, and was scheduled to be completed within 150 working days ("Contract for School." Fairfax Herald 16 July 1937: 1. Print.)

In late January 1938, the new Woodlawn School building was placed in service with 160 students. The building was constructed at a cost of about $37,000. The building was centrally heated, and contained four classrooms, a library, clinic, as well as a principal’s office. At the time of the school’s construction, it was one of 19 public elementary schools for white children in the county and 18 elementary schools for “colored” children.

Woodlawn was designed to allow the building to be easily expanded to keep pace with the

neighborhood’s growth ("New School in Use." Fairfax Herald 4 Feb. 1938: 6. Print).

classrooms were added in the last quarter of 1938 to accommodate a student body that had increased to 219 children. As the county’s schools opened for the 1939-1940 school year, local newspapers reported congested classrooms at numerous school facilities. Badly overcrowded from the start, Woodlawn School was specifically mentioned ("Schools Crowded." Fairfax Herald 29 Sept. 1939: 1. Print.).

Two additional

In 1947, a substantial addition was constructed at the rear of the school, and included four classrooms, a cafeteria, kitchen and teacher’s lounge. Following the 1947 addition, the school’s population grew to 372 pupils. Growth of the student population continued at such a rapid pace that in 1952, another county elementary school was constructed in the vicinity to reduce overcrowding. A clinic, auditorium, multi- purpose room and classroom were added to Woodlawn in 1952. In 1956, the school was supplemented with eight more classrooms, the kitchen was expanded and the multi-purpose room made into a library. Despite the school’s numerous expansions, it was not large enough to accommodate a still-swelling population. Between 1963 and 1965, two more schools were constructed nearby to meet the community’s demands (Cooper, Mattie B. History of Woodlawn Elementary School. 1968. Print).

The Woodlawn School improvements continued, with a 1986 renovation, a 1987 addition, and a 2000 modular classroom addition. These changes have occurred without loss of character. The building's expansion over time is easily understood from the exterior window and roof treatments and from the variety of interior treatments.

Though its location and facilities have changed many times, Woodlawn School and its community continue to recognize and represent a rich legacy as a Fairfax County public elementary school with mid- 19th-century origins as a Quaker free school.

Legal Owner(s) of the Property (For more than one owner, please use a separate sheet.)




Dr.Mr.  Mrs.   David L. Printz  


David L. PrintzMr.  Mrs. Dr.     Mr.  Mrs. Dr.    



Miss Ms. Hon.   School Board of Fairfax County


Hon.Miss Ms.   School Board of Fairfax County


School Board of Fairfax County





8115 Gatehouse Road, Suite 3500

Falls Church








(Zip Code)




(571) 423-2210


(Email Address)

(Daytime telephone including area code)

Owner’s Signature:




• • Signature required for processing all applications. • •


In the event of corporate ownership you must provide the name and title of the appropriate contact person.

Contact person:


Daytime Telephone:

Applicant Information (Individual completing form if other than legal owner of property)



Mr. Mrs. Dr.  


Mr. Mrs. Dr.  


Mr. Mrs. Dr.  


Ms. Hon.


Mary Harding Sadler

Sadler & Whitehead Architects, PLC





726 W. 33rd Street










(Zip Code)



(804) 231-5299


(Email Address)


(Daytime telephone including area code)

Applicant’s Signature:





In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the department to confer with or notify local officials of proposed listings of properties within their jurisdiction. In the following space, please provide the contact information for the local County Administrator or City Manager.



Dr.Mr.  Mrs.  

Mr.  Mrs. Dr.  


Miss Ms. Hon. Anthony H. Griffin County Executive


Hon.Miss Ms. Anthony H. Griffin County Executive

Anthony H. Griffin

County Executive





Fairfax, Virginia

Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 552







(703) 324-2531




(Zip Code)

(Daytime telephone including area code)

Please use the following space to explain why you are seeking an evaluation of this property.

The School Board of Fairfax County owns the Woodlawn School building, and would like to complete a tax credit rehabilitation of the property.

Would you be interested in the State and/or the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits? Yes

Would you be interested in the easement program?


Rehabilitation Tax Credits? Yes  Would you be interest ed in the easement program? Yes No



Rehabilitation Tax Credits? Yes  Would you be interest ed in the easement program? Yes No