Union Street School Set for Resident Curator Program

The Union Street School, a historic Black school dating to the 1880s, could be one of the first properties in the county’s resident curator program as supervisors seek to rehabilitate and reuse it.

The two-story Union Street School opened in 1884 as the Leesburg Training School. The school would teach students as far as graduating high school until Douglas High School opened in 1941. The school continued to teach Black elementary school students until 1958. For decades, Loudoun County Public Schools used the building for storage before declaring it surplus, transferring it back to the county government.

Since then, the county has been looking for ways to save it, including soliciting interest from nonprofits to preserve and manage the property, and the Town of Leesburg has rezoned the property to a government center—which allows museums—and include it in the town’s historic district. Now, the county will seek a partner to take over the property, preserving it and curating it, possibly as a museum or other educational use. The resident curator program, formally approved in 2019, envisions private citizens or organizations taking over county-owned properties for low leases in exchange for renovating, maintaining and periodically displaying the properties.

A county contractor, Downey & Scott LLC, estimated it will cost about $2.2 million to stabilize the property, or as much as $4.2 million to fully rehabilitate the building for a museum, including complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

County supervisors voted unanimously Oct. 19 to put that project into the county’s Capital Improvement Program, solicit proposals for a resident curator and nominate the school for inclusion in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ Historic African American Sites in Virginia listings.

2 thoughts on “Union Street School Set for Resident Curator Program

  • 2021-10-26 at 4:14 pm
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    So glad to know Loudoun supervisors are serious about preserving the old Union Street School. It’s a tangible reminder of the horrors of segregation in Loudoun, which we must never forget. I hope it can become a living memorial to African-American Loudouners who were enslaved, victimized by Jim Crow & later by segregation. Perhaps it could become a museum & library that hosts ongoing educational programs for the public. If we don’t care about our past, we can’t have very much hope for the future.

  • 2021-10-28 at 8:14 pm
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    Almost 6.5 million dollars. Another waste of Loudoun taxpayer dollars by the BOS. If this was so historical why wasn’t this property maintained by the NAACP or other wealthy black residents of Loudoun?

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