Saines Pushes to Rename ‘Negro Hill’

Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) is pushing to rename a spot near Claude Moore Park long known as “Negro Hill,” to instead honor one of the area’s most prominent black farm families.

The small rise, charted and named by the U.S. Geological Service, is just south of the Cascades Parkway interchange with Rt. 7. In some records, Saines said, it bears an even more unpleasant appellation—named for the racial slur against black people that begins with the same letter.

Instead, Saines said, it should be named after the Nokes Family, which farmed the land before it was developed.

“This was unbeknownst to us,” Saines said. “We had a gentleman who lives in Alexandria who works in Sterling. For some reason, I guess, he was using Google Maps or something, and he discovered it, and of course he took offense to that name.”

Saines said the man proposed renaming it Douglass Hill, after Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery to become a national leader of the abolitionist movement before the Civil War, and for black people’s and women’s civil rights until his death.

Saines said that was “a good name to choose,” but suggested Nokes instead. That would also put it near Nokes Boulevard.

Supervisors are scheduled to vote on Saines’s proposal at their meeting tonight, Feb. 18.

4 thoughts on “Saines Pushes to Rename ‘Negro Hill’

  • 2020-02-19 at 12:15 pm

    What?!? I’ve lived in Sterling for more that 40 years and there has been no name to attributed to that hill area. The only people that would name that would be the owners of the land and I don’t think they were Spanish speakers. Besides, there is a lot of red clay up there so not sure why it would be called Black Hill.

    • 2020-02-21 at 11:31 am

      I’ve lived in Loudoun for 40+ years and I can say absolutely I have heard of it referred to that name before. When my family moved to Sterling we lived off of Potomac View Rd and our school bus took that route because Cascades parkway did not exist yet and I remember being shocked and horrified hearing that road being called that (the more offensive racial term), especially in such casual conversation. The church along the road was still tiny at the time my neighbor once offered to take me and my brother to use our metal detectors “Up in the woods off of N-hill.” There was also a goat that we would see occasionally wandering.
      Point is just because you had never heard it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a reality for others.

  • 2020-02-19 at 5:45 pm

    Richard Nokes of the Nokes family owns the house near the corner of Nokes and Atlantic Boulevards. The Nokes family has lived in that home for over 100 years. Like much of Old Sterling, the African-American communities’ century old buildings are gradually being abandoned or demolished. The historic remnants of the smaller villages are becoming relics, left to time by Loudoun’s non-stop mass development. Eastern Loudoun does have a history.

    Nokes Boulevard runs right through Dulles Town Center from Route 28 to Cascades, where the heart of Nokesville was located. The area known locally as Nokes or Nokesville derived its name from George Washington Nokes who leased land in the area after the Civil War. In 1901, Nokes purchased five acres on the south side of Thayer Road.

    The Nokes property at Thayer Road in Sterling was a modest farmstead owned and operated by an African-American family who first acquired it in 1913. The house appears to be a circa 1880 traditional I-frame house. The remaining 10-acre property (behind McDonald’s) includes several outbuildings (chicken houses, barn, spring-house) that supported the ongoing agricultural activities.

    The Edes and the Ewing families both owned farms over 200 acres in size. The Edes property, called Pidgeon Hill, was located near where Countryside Boulevard now intersects with Harry Byrd Highway (Route 7) in Sterling. The Edes ran a dairy farm operation and shipped milk to Washington, DC. The Ewing farm stood southeast, near where Home Depot now resides. It was a quiet farming community, with beautiful big pastures and corn and wheat fields everywhere.

  • 2020-02-26 at 9:16 am

    It was first called Stoney Hill at the time of the Civil War. Guilford forever forged its name in history during the Civil War’s Gettysburg Campaign when the Guilford Signal Station, now in Sterling, was set up and served as an early warning post, observation point and communication center. On June 19, 1863, Union troops commanded by Gen. John Fullerton Reynolds, I Corps, Army of the Potomac, marched along the railroad from Herndon to Guilford Station. Reynolds established his headquarters in nearby Lanesville (Claude Moore Park), erected the signal station on Stoney Hill, at 442 feet, one of the highest points between Washington, D.C. and Leesburg. The signal officer here constantly communicated with nearby signal stations attempting to locate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

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