“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lorton in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Occoquan Workhouse

Occoquan Workhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 19, 2007
1. Occoquan Workhouse Marker
Inscription. In the nearby Occoquan Workhouse, from June to December, 1917, scores of women suffragists were imprisoned by the District of Columbia for picketing the White House demanding their right to vote. Their courage and dedication during harsh treatment aroused the nation to hasten the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The struggle for woman’s suffrage had taken 72 years.
Erected 1982 by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area. (Marker Number E 61.)
Location. 38° 41.978′ N, 77° 15.449′ W. Marker is near Lorton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of Lorton Road (Local Route 642) and Ox Road (Virginia Route 123), on the right when traveling west on Lorton Road. Click for map. Lorton Road west of Ox Road serves as the main but always closed entrance to the Fairfax County Water Authority’s Griffith Water Treatment Plant. Marker is on the right just before the gate. Marker is in this post office area: Lorton VA 22079, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Occoquan Workhouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lorton Nike Missile Site (approx. 0.6 miles away); Occoquan River Bridges
Occoquan Workhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 19, 2007
2. Occoquan Workhouse Marker
(approx. one mile away); Town of Occoquan (approx. one mile away); The Dogue Indians (approx. one mile away); Occoquan (approx. one mile away); Historic Occoquan - Center for the Processing of Grain (approx. one mile away); Ellicott’s Mill (approx. one mile away); Rockledge (approx. one mile away); Methodist Church (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lorton.
More about this marker. It is said that when originally erected in 1982, this was the first marker in the state to recognize civil rights and women’s rights.
Regarding Occoquan Workhouse. The Occoquan Workhouse, and later the Lorton Reformatory, was a District of Columbia operated prison built 19 miles from Washington in Virginia to house prisoners from Washington, DC. Opened in 1910, it was connected to Washington first by its own railroad (the Lorton and Occoquan Railroad, 1911–1977, between the prison and a junction with the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac), and then by U.S. Route 1 and finally by Interstate
Original Location of Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 19, 2007
3. Original Location of Marker
The marker was originally erected in 1982 on Route 123 at the entrance to the Occoquan Regional Park. The Lorton Prison complex was immediately north of the marker on both sides of the road. It was removed when work began on realigning and widening of Route 123 and eventually re-erected at the Water Works north of where the prison stood.
95. ¶ The telephone exchange in the Lorton area was and still provides toll-free “local” service to and from Washington, suburban Maryland, Arlington and Alexandria, just like the telephone exchanges in Washington DC proper and unlike surrounding telephone exchanges between Lorton and Washington. Until recently there was a toll charge to call Occoquan from Lorton, about a mile away, just like a call from Washington. This was especially unique because the Lorton area of Fairfax County was not served by a Bell Telephone company like Washington, but by the independent Continental Telephone (Contel), later GTE Corp. It is only in this century that Verizon, which purchased both Bell Atlantic and GTE, merged telephone operations in the region, keeping a still unique higher cost “metro” versus regular number option for Lorton subscribers. ¶ Washington city buses (Capital Transit, DC Transit, and finally Metrobus) ran frequent daily express service from the city (non-stop via I-95) during visiting hours until the prison closed in 2002.
Also see . . .
1. Night of Terror Leads to Women's Vote in 1917. 2004 article by Louise Bernikow on Women’s eNews. (Submitted on May 19, 2007.) 

2. Photo of the Original Wooden Occoquan Workhouse Building, Circa 1920. (Submitted on May 19, 2007.)
3. Retelling Lorton’s History of Suffrage. 2006 article by Amber Healy in The Connection newspapers. (Submitted on May 19, 2007.) 

4. History of the Lorton Prison Complex. (Submitted on May 19, 2007.)
5. Women Suffrage Prisoners at Occoquan Workhouse Marker. An interpretive marker in Occoquan Regional Park. (Submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
Additional keywords. 19th Ammendment to the Constitution
Categories. Civil Rights
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 6,148 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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