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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Arcola Elementary School
Reference Number 13000363
State Virginia
County Loudon
Town Sterling
Street Address 24244 Gum Spring Road
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 6/5/2013
Link to full file
Arcola Elementary School, built in 1939, was the fifth PWA (Public Works Administration) construction project and the only PWA school built in Loudoun County, Virginia. 5 Built during the era of public school racial segregation, Arcola was Loudoun's first elementary school for white students with individual classrooms for each grade, marking a major shift in standards of education. Where the traditional one-room school dictated a limited curriculum of math and arithmetic, the multi-room school allowed space enough to offer a varied curriculum. Therefore, the school is locally significant under National Register Criterion A in Education for its association with the PWA's history of educational reform and Loudoun County's transition to modem educational standards, although the county maintained racial segregation in its public school system until the 1960s. Additionally, the Arcola School is locally significant under National Register Criterion C as an excellent example of PW A architecture in the Colonial Revival style. Built as part of the New Deal Public Works Administration building campaign, which lasted only from 1933 to 1939, the Arcola Elementary School demonstrates architectural characteristic of its time. While 1920s architecture focused on style and grandeur, PWA Great Depression-era buildings espouse a practical focus on function and economy of design; ornamentation was restricted to simple lines and classical detailing. Typical of PW A design theory, great attention was given to how the classroom design would impact academic behavior. Classroom design and proportions were specifically dictated and the Arcola classrooms are a typical example.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria