Posted on December 8, 2021 at 3:56 PM by Nancy McCormick
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has voted to approve new names for Harry Byrd Highway (Route 7) and John Mosby Highway (Route 50) within Loudoun County. The Board’s vote follows its September 2020 decision to inventory Confederate and segregationist symbols in the county, such as roads, buildings, markers and monuments, for renaming consideration.
“People who supported the enslavement of others and the segregation of Americans should not continue to be honored today by having roads and facilities named after them or statues on display to pay tribute to them,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and Sterling District Supervisor Koran T. Saines. “The Board recommended these name changes and is taking additional steps to rename other features in the county that are within our purview because it is the right thing to do to demonstrate Loudoun is known as a moral and inclusive community.”
During the December 7, 2021 meeting, the Board approved changing the name of Harry Byrd Highway to Leesburg Pike and changing the name of John Mosby Highway to Little River Turnpike. These designations honor the names traditionally used for these roads, which were developed as major transportation and trade routes between Alexandria and the Shenandoah Valley in the early 1800s.
The Board’s action affects the segments of Route 7 and Route 50 in unincorporated areas of Loudoun County. It does not affect segments of Route 7 and Route 50 within the county’s incorporated towns.
The roadway names recommended by the Board will be sent to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in early 2022 for final approval. Approval by VDOT and CTB is required for state-controlled primary highways, such as Route 7 and Route 50.
Loudoun County conducted a thorough public process for identifying and recommending new names. A task force, comprised of community representatives and members of the county’s Heritage Commission, was created to conduct research, engage the public, review public name submissions and recommend alternative road names to the Board.
Route 7 extends across the entire county and connects with Clarke County to the west and Fairfax County to the east. In Fairfax County, immediately adjacent to Loudoun, Route 7 is named Leesburg Pike. The name Harry Byrd Highway continues into Clarke County. Harry F. Byrd Sr. was the governor of Virginia from 1926 to 1930 and a U.S. senator from 1933 to 1965. A proponent of Virginia’s highway system, he was an opponent of school desegregation. The State Highway Commission named Route 7 in memory of Harry Byrd in 1968.
Route 50 extends across the entire county and connects with Fauquier County to the west and Fairfax County to the east. The General Assembly named Route 50 in Loudoun and Fauquier counties in memory of John Singleton Mosby, a Confederate Army colonel, in 1982.
In addition to meeting local and state naming standards, the names were required to be appropriate to Loudoun County and Northern Virginia history and culture; reflect the natural or cultural geography of Loudoun County; not already used or sound like another street in Loudoun County; and be considerate, sensitive and respectful to all Loudoun County residents.
Once the highway renaming receives final approval from the state, Loudoun County will provide information and resources for those affected by the changes. The county is developing a grant program to assist impacted businesses with costs related to address changes.
For more information about the renaming of Route 7 and Route 50, including a link to sign up for updates about the project, visit loudoun.gov/renaming7and50.
Background & Future Action
Renaming Route 7 and Route 50 are among several projects that have resulted from the Board’s September 2020 decision to identify and review Confederate and segregationist symbols in the county. Since the review was completed in July 2021, the Board has approved measures to address, change or prohibit the current and future naming of county roads after Confederate or segregationist figures, symbols or slogans.
In addition to changing the names of Routes 7 and 50, the Board will also consider at its January 18, 2022, meeting whether to change the name of Kephart Bridge Landing, which is a trailhead and canoe launch facility located within Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park. The landing was originally named for George Kephart, a slave trader who owned land along Goose Creek. Following a public process that included engaging the community on possible names, the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Board recommended changing the landing’s name to “Riverpoint Drive Trailhead.”
The county’s inventory also identified Jeb Stuart Road, located in the Philomont area, which has been named for Confederate General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart since 1962, and Fort Johnston Road, just west of the Town of Leesburg, which references a Civil War-era fort named for Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. On November 3, 2021, the Board approved moving forward on renaming these two roads. The county will soon begin a similar public road renaming process involving those in the area who may be affected by address changes resulting from the renaming.
In addition, the county will engage the Town of Round Hill in a coordinated effort to rename streets identified in the inventory that are located within the Hillwood Estates subdivision, because portions of some of these roads fall outside of Loudoun County’s jurisdiction.
More information about the Board’s initiative is available on the Review of Confederate & Segregationist Symbols webpage.
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Posted on October 25, 2021 at 9:48 AM by Heidi Kellum
On October 20, 2021, the Renaming Route 7 and 50 Task Force met for the last time to receive an update, review the renaming project process, review the results of the public’s input, and make their name recommendations for each roadway.
The Task Force will provide their recommendation for the two roadway names to the Board of Supervisors during their December 7, 2021 Business meeting. At that meeting, the Board will consider the public’s input and Task Force’s recommendations in making their decision.
To watch a recording of the Task Force meeting and review the presentation, visit loudoun.gov/renaming7and50.
In December 2020, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors initiated the process of renaming Harry Byrd Highway (Route 7) and John Mosby Highway (Route 50) in collaboration with regional jurisdictions. Route 7 extends across the entire county and connects with Clarke County to the west and Fairfax County to the east. Route 50 also extends across the entire county and connects with Fauquier County to the west and Fairfax County to the east with portions of it weaving in and out of Fauquier County.
The renaming of these two roadways is one of two projects that have resulted from the Board’s initiation, in September 2020, of a review of Confederate and segregationist symbols in the county.
For more information about the Renaming Route 7 and Route 50 project, including a link to sign up for updates about the project and information regarding upcoming public meetings, visit loudoun.gov/renaming7and50.
Posted on September 30, 2021 at 8:49 AM by Heidi Kellum
As part of the public input process, Loudoun County is asking the public to rank a short list of proposed roadway names for Harry Byrd Highway (Route 7) and John Mosby Highway (Route 50) in order of preference. To take the survey, members of the public are encouraged to visit loudoun.gov/renaming7and50. The survey will be open through October 14, 2021.
On September 29, 2021, Loudoun County hosted two public input meetings on the renaming of the roadways. At these meetings, the proposed names were unveiled to the public. To view the recording and review the presentation visit loudoun.gov/renaming7and50.
The ranked roadway names will be sent to the Task Force for their review on October 20, 2021, and then the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to review the public’s and Task Force’s recommendations in December. The approved name for each roadway will be sent to the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board for ultimate approval.