Replacement Foot Bridge Eases Access for Snickersville Academy
Susan Freis Falknor
It hasn't always been that easy in recent years to find Bluemont's
historic Snickersville Academy.
Although the log structure, built in 1825, lies just behind the
historic Carrington House, across Snickersville Turnpike from
Clayton Hall, the passing decades had disguised its location along
the once-well travelled Mason Street that led up to the settlements
on the Old Mountain Road. Tall weeds, brush, and a creek stood
in the way.
But now a sturdy wooden structure, built by long-time Bluemonter
Michael Elsea (see photo) provides an inviting and easy way to
visit this treasured piece of Bluemont history.
The Snickersville Academy lies across Butcher's Branch, a stream
that flows down through Bluemont -- fuller during some months
than other. Before the new bridge was constructed, visitors could
cross the creek on a two-part plank footbridge, built by the Academy's
neighbors to facilitate their volunteer lawnmowing efforts at
the log structure. The plank bridges were sometimes wobbly, however,
and, glimpsing downward as you crossed, you could make out a disused
narrow, rather frail-appearing metal bridge, apparently older
Building a replacement access bridge across the creek was the
first construction project carried out by Friends of Bluemont
in its campaign to stabilize the Snickersville Academy and make
it a focus for learning about the pre-Railroad-Era Bluemont.
Once this diminuitive log cabin sat in the middle of things in
the village of Snickersville. The land on which it stands -- located
just behind the ~1820s tavern at Carrington House -- was donated
to the village as a schoolhouse and house of worship by Amos Clayton
in 1825. It thus became the first public building in the village,
serving the community for decades. By contrast, the old stone
Methodist Church was established in 1852 and the Mountain Shadow
school on Snickersville Turnpike, which replaced the Academy,
was built in the 1870s.
Towards the end of the 1800s and into the 20th century, the "old
schoolhouse" became a residence. It was finally a summer
home for Catalina Hatcher, whose sons Tom and Walter donated it
to Friends of Bluemont in September 2010.
To contribute to the restoration of the Snickersville Academy,
join Friends of Bluemont online.
Or, join via postal