Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Schools in the Town of Potomac
Town of Potomac
— 1908 - 1929 —
In September 1900, Alexandria County opened the original Mount Vernon School on this property to educate children up to the 8th grade. In spite of continual expansion, crowding was always a problem. By 1932, it was necessary to rent the bank building at 2401 Mount Vernon Ave. for classroom space. In 1935, the Mount Vernon School took over the former George Mason High School building next door and operated both school buildings. In 1968, the former high school was completely renovated and expanded, and the original Mount Vernon School building was demolished to make way for the current playground. The schools were all white, as there were no African Americans in the town in the 1920s. The few blacks in the surrounding areas were sent to Alexandria's African American schools, and the county paid their tuition.
Since Alexandria County had no high school, parents began agitating for the school board to pay their children's tuition to City of Alexandria high schools in 1915. In 1917, the district school board bought the Richard Lloyd house, about a half-mile west of here, and converted it into the George Mason High School with two
Mount Vernon School is seen here in 1907 from approximately this vantage point. At that time, the faculty consisted of just two teachers. The second floor was a single room and served as a town hall, but the building was extended to the rear and a portico added to the front of 1908. For the 1909-1910 school year, the faculty consisted of principal James Rollins of Laverne Avenue at $75 per month, and Mazie McFarland, Ella Davies, Gertrude Allan and Margaret Bashford as teachers at $50 per month. The playground now occupies the original school lot.
Special Collections, Alexandria Library
The George Mason High School class of 1929, consisting of thirteen girls, was the last before the Town of Potomac schools were absorbed by the City of Alexandria. Ruth Gary, who graduated along with her brother Robert, was born in Del Ray, but the family moved in the 1920s to 2911 Holly Street in Mt. Ida. Alma Keys was the daughter of Owen Keys, a railroad engineer and part-time land investor and his wife, Sallie, who lived at 207 Clifford Ave. Milton Harding was the son of John Harding, first president of the Bank of Del Ray, and his wife, Annie. The Hardings lived in the impressive house at 2100 Mount Vernon Avenue.
Memories, George Mason High School yearbook, 1929, Private Collection
As seen here, by 1929 Mount Vernon School had expanded considerably. George Mason High School is on the right in the background, by this time staffed by a principal, assistant principal and ten teachers.
Special Collections, Alexandria Library
Produced for the Town of Potomac Centennial in 2008 by the City of Alexandria. Research and text by Leland Ness
Erected 2008 by City of Alexandria.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Education. In addition, it is included in the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series list. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1900.
Location. 38° 49.696′ N, 77° 3.55′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Stewart Avenue, on the left when traveling north on Mount Vernon Avenue. On the grounds of Mount Vernon Community School. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2601 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria VA 22301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Asaph Racetrack (within shouting distance of this marker); Potomac Yard History (within shouting distance of this marker); The Electric Railway (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); Universal Lodge No. 1 (about 500 feet away); Mount Vernon Avenue (about 600 feet away); The Town of Potomac (about 600 feet away); Corporal Charles William Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 128 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.