Around 1900, a small schoolhouse named Pohick School #8 was erected along Hooes Road in Virginia to replace the Barkers School, located nearby and built in 1874. Sadly, Pohick School #8, which was also known as “the little red schoolhouse” burned down on July 12, 1928. But like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Sydenstricker Schoolhouse appeared in the same location just over four months later on October 19, 1928, and opened the following month.
The landscape of schooling changed in the 1930s, with cars facilitating the transport of students to larger schools further away. Sydenstricker closed in 1934, a mere five years after its opening, but earned a reprieve when local parents lobbied the school board and successfully re-opened the school for a two-year stint in 1937. By 1939, the school was once again shuttered as an active school. The school remained a beloved local landmark and continued to serve the community as a venue for meetings, events, and weddings.
During World War II, the schoolhouse became part of the war effort and was repurposed as a center for producing surgical dressing under the banner of the Red Cross. In September of 1948, the Upper Pohick Community League held its first official meeting at the schoolhouse, and in 1954, the Community League purchased the schoolhouse from the school district for use as a community center. Through their efforts, the UPCL made great advancements in helping to develop the rural landscape, championing the building of roads, bridges, and subdivisions to support population growth in the area.
The UPCL, still owns the schoolhouse today and supports numerous community service programs, and offers up the beautifully preserved property for various events that run the gamut from debates between state senate candidates to HOA meetings to rehearsals for a local theater company.
Know Before You Go
There is a parking lot onsite, but true to its early history, there are no restrooms and no running water inside the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse belfry still rests above the entrance and rings during "Schoolhouse 101" events during which a school marm leads students in curriculum and activities that reflect a day in the life of a student in the 1930s.