A county review of public facilities in Loudoun honoring racist figures and symbols has found 16 public roads and the signs marking the Mosby Heritage Area in Loudoun.
Loudoun County supervisors in December 2020 asked county staff members to inventory county and state-owned facilities named for Confederate and segregationist figures. At the same meeting, they began wheels turning to rename Rt. 7 and Rt. 50 where they honor lawmaker Harry Byrd, known for leading “massive resistance” to integration in Virginia, and Confederate cavalry commander John Mosby. In May, they followed up by setting out a process for coming up with and recommending new names for those highways.
The scope of the inventory of other racist symbols was limited to things the Board of Supervisors has authority to rename, or influence in renaming. The list now includes Confederate Court near Lucketts, Fort Johnston Road near Leesburg, Jeb Stuart Road in Philomont, and near Round Hill, Hampton Road, Early Avenue, Jackson Avenue, Lee Drive, Longstreet Avenue and Pickett Road, all in the Hillwood Estates subdivision.
The county board can change the names of those roads at its discretion. In the case of Rt. 50, Rt. 7 that authority lays with the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and for the Mosby Heritage Area signs, with the Virginia Department of Transportation. The former Mosby Heritage Area Association, a conservation and preservation group in the area, has already changed its name to the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area.
More roads could also remain; the report notes it does not include names whose origin is unclear—such as several roads named Lee in Sterling Park, which could refer to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. County staff members also volunteered one more name which they said was not in the scope of the report, but which is worth noting: Kephart Bridge Landing, named for George Kephart, who owned both Coton and Belmont Plantations for a period of time. Born in 1795 and dying in 1870, he became wealthy working in the slave trade, both for one of the largest slave trading companies in the country and as the owner of slave pens and a slave ship traveling between Alexandria and New Orleans, according to the report.
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