Leader and Loudoun Today,
October 20, 2010
Bluemont's First Schoolhouse Gets New Start
Old Bluemont village has a "new" historic site: the
185-year-old Snickersville Academy, originally built to serve
the young village as a schoolhouse, church, and a community meeting
In September, Tom and Betty Hatcher, along with Walter and Joyce
Hatcher, gave the structure to Friends of Bluemont, a local citizens
association focused on the community's history. The Hatchers live
in Florida, but have deep roots in Western Loudoun County.
"The historic Snickersville Academy has survived more than
185 years," declared Friends of Bluemont president Susan
Freis Falknor. "Now, with a lot of help from the community,
it can continue for centuries more."
"We hope to make the Snickersville Academy a site for visitors
to learn about the village's earliest history and experience the
charm of a bygone time," she added.
The Hatcher family who live in Florida, but have deep roots in
Western Loudoun, made the gift in memory of Tom and Walter's mother,
Catalina Hatcher, a strong-minded and beloved figure in the village,
who summered in the log structure through the 1990s.
Tom Hatcher remembers his mother's love of the cabin, of the woods
around it, and the feeling of "serenity" there. He recalls
a story that one evening, when his mother was resting on the porch,
a Bluemonter watched a bear ramble past the cabin and on into
Says Hatcher: "The bear didn't bother her, and she didn't
bother the bear."
Friends of Bluemont, a preservation organization founded in 2003,
has long hoped to save the Snickersville Academy. Friends of Bluemont
founder and Loudoun schoolteacher Evelyn Johnson started off the
formal effort with a fundraiser picnic in 1999.
"Snickersville," the original name of the village, was
replaced by the more dignified name of "Bluemont" in
1900, with the arrival of the railroad and upscale vacationers
escaping the summer heat of the Capital Area.
To follow the progress of the preservation of the Snickersville
Academy, see www.BluemontVA.org or www.friends-of-bluemont.org.