School History: Masonville Elementary School
Remembering Our Past
In 1951, construction began on a new housing subdivision between the communities of Masonville and Annandale called Broyhill Crest. The influx of residents into this new community, many of whom had young school-age children, quickly led to overcrowding at nearby Woodburn Elementary School. In September 1953, the old schoolhouse at Bailey’s Crossroads, that had been built in the 19-teens, was reopened as an annex of Woodburn with four classes of students in grades 5-7.
In December 1953, the Fairfax County School Board worked to secure a suitable school site in the Broyhill Crest area. During the planning process for the new school, on April 1, 1954, the School Board gave it the name Masonville Elementary School. In August 1954, five months before ground was broken on the school site, Masonville Elementary School was organized with a principal and six teachers. During the 1954-55 school year, Masonville students attended class in the old Bailey’s Crossroads School, which was referred to that year as Masonville Elementary School. The names and salaries of Masonville’s first teachers were recorded in the meeting minutes of the School Board.
|Mr. Arthur T. Coogan, Jr., Principal||$4,790, 10 months|
|Miss Dona L. Frantz||$3,200|
|Mrs. Alice B. Graves||$4,400|
|Miss Mary G. Hayes||$3,200|
|Mrs. Ida E. Hein||$3,500|
|Mrs. Stella J. Hill||$2,800|
|Mrs. Mary V. Rubin||$3,900|
On January 20, 1955, the School Board awarded the contract for the construction of Masonville Elementary School to the John L. Reid Construction Company of Alexandria, Virginia. The school was supposed to be completed on or before August 15, 1955, but progress was hampered by building material shipment delays.
In 1955, from September to mid-October, Masonville’s students were divided between two school buildings. Children in grades 1-2 were housed at Woodburn Elementary School, and students in grades 3-7 attended class in the old Bailey’s schoolhouse. Masonville Elementary School opened its doors to students during the week of October 17, 1955. On Wednesday, October 19, 1955, J. Leslie Ehringer, president of the Broyhill Crest Citizens’ Association, presented a United States flag that had flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to Masonville Elementary School’s student council president, John Chamberlain, and vice president, John Ferry.
“Family Fun” is the theme of a carnival sponsored by the Masonville Parent Teacher Association to be held on May 12 at the school in the Broyhill Crest subdivision. Ray Haney, Washington television star, is the featured guest. A carnival queen will be crowned. The opening game of the community Little League is scheduled at 3 p.m. Pie eating, pop drinking, and egg throwing contests are scheduled. ~ The Washington Post, May 6, 1956
In November 1956, construction began on a six-classroom addition to Masonville Elementary School. The roof slab paper on the northeast wing of the building was removed and a second story was constructed on top.
Built by contractor L. R. Broyhill at a cost of $77,950, the addition was completed in time for the opening of schools in September 1957.
Masonville in the 1960s
In September 1960, when Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) opened its first intermediate schools, Masonville Elementary School’s seventh-graders were reassigned to Edgar Allan Poe Intermediate School. Masonville operated with grades 1-6 until 1968, when FCPS introduced kindergarten classes at elementary schools county-wide.
From its founding in 1870 until the mid-1960s, FCPS operated a “dual school system” with racially segregated schools for white and Black students. The desegregation of the county’s public schools began in September 1960 and proceeded slowly over a six-year period. A desegregation report prepared by FCPS showed that during the 1964-65 school year there was only one Black child enrolled at Masonville Elementary School.
From 1965 to 1970, enrollment at Masonville Elementary School slowly increased from 500 to 546 students.
By the mid-1970s, enrollment at Masonville Elementary School was on the decline. The following enrollment data for Masonville was included in a report prepared by FCPS in January 1980.
|School Year||Total Enrollment|
In March 1980, Masonville was placed in a group of schools that had been identified for possible closure. Called Cluster D, the group also included Beech Tree, Devonshire, Graham Road, Pine Spring, Shrevewood, Timber Lane, Walnut Hill, Westlawn, and Woodburn elementary schools. On May 22, 1980, the School Board voted to close Masonville Elementary School permanently at the end of the school year in June 1980. After the school closed, Masonville’s students were reassigned to Beech Tree and Woodburn elementary schools. Shortly thereafter, Masonville was converted into an administrative office for personnel in the school system’s Instructional Services Department.
In the late 1950s, Masonville Elementary School hosted movie screenings on Saturday mornings for children. Admission was ten cents and kids could purchase a small bag of popcorn and other snacks. Alumni recall seeing comedy films from the “Francis the Talking Mule” and “Ma and Pa Kettle” franchises.
When Margaret Robinson was Masonville’s principal, students didn’t recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" – they sang it! Principal Robinson had the words of the pledge set to music, and Masonville students sang it at the start of each school day and during assemblies.
Masonville Elementary School did not have a gymnasium. Physical education classes were held outside during warm weather, or in the cafeteria. In the 1970s, a classroom in the school’s lower hallway was converted for use as a small gym. Alumni recall playing crab soccer, dodgeball, red rover, and learning how to dance the Virginia Reel.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fairfax County elementary students learned a traditional folk dance from the Philippines called the “Tinikling” in their physical education classes. The Tinikling dance at Masonville involved four students: two who knelt on the ground and beat two bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in a rhythmic pattern, and two students who stepped and hopped between the poles as they moved.
If you had Glenn Scheid for a teacher, then you learned how to dance “The Hustle.” Alumni fondly recall Mr. Scheid, who taught at Masonville from 1972 to 1980, pushing his classroom’s desks aside and teaching the children disco dance moves to Gloria Gaynor songs.
The principals of Masonville Elementary School, verified by FCPS personnel records, were Arthur T. Coogan, Jr. (1954-58), Evelyn J. Tubbs Metzler (1958-64), Margaret R. Robinson (1964-75), Paul C. Kelley (1975-78), Richard A. Claybrook (1978-79), and Bette I. Schwarzman (1979-80).
Lacey and Mason Crest
In 1985, the Masonville Instructional Center was renamed the Donald Lacey Instructional Center in honor of a former FCPS teacher and administrator.
On the night of February 3, 2007, the Lacey Center was severely damaged when a fire, which began in the center’s print shop, swept through the building. The blaze destroyed the old kindergarten through second-grade classroom wing, which was never rebuilt. In the 2000s, the school-age population in the Annandale area was once again on the rise. The School Board decided to reactivate the former Masonville School site for use as an elementary school. However, because of the age and condition of the building, the Lacey Center was razed, and a new school was constructed on the site.
Built at a cost of $13.7 million, the new school, named Mason Crest Elementary School, opened in September 2012.