Loudoun County supervisors have voted unanimously to rename two roads in Loudoun named for Confederate figures, along with writing a new ordinance to prohibit such names in the future.
After the vote Nov. 3, the county government will launch a process to rename Jeb Stuart Road, which passes through Philomont and is named for Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, and Fort Johnston Road, a private road near the Rt. 7 Leesburg bypass which leads to the area of a Civil War-era fort named for Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.
County staff members were also directed to reach out to the Town of Round Hill about renaming several roads in the Hillwood Estates subdivision. Roads in that subdivision, which is partially in the Town of Round Hill and partially in the Joint Land Management Area surrounding the town, are named for Confederate leaders including Early Avenue, Hampton Road, Jackson Avenue, Lee Drive, Longstreet Avenue, and Pickett Road.
Vice Chair Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) said “there was no place for it back then, when it was done, there’s no place for it now, there’s no place for it in our future either.
“This is huge. You know, we don’t need to make a big old fuss about it or anything of that nature, but this is huge for this county and for us to be doing what we’re doing here today,” Saines said.
“This is not an item about erasing history or inconveniencing residents. It’s about possibly returning to something more historic to the area before the road was named to honor someone who fought against our country,” said Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run).
“If you can imagine knowing that that somebody did all that they could to harm your family member in every way they could—to keep them enslaved to, to separate them from their family, to rape the women, to beat the men, to whatever they could do to the demoralize and harm them—and now I’m driving down the street named after that person,” said Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).
The new ordinance will also allow a county staff member, the director of the Office of Mapping and Geographic Information, to initiate the process of renaming other roads found to violate the prohibition on Confederate and segregationist symbols.
Supervisors in 2015 had already renamed the publicly-owned portion of Fort Johnston Road, now known as Leeland Orchard Road. That name will likely be extended through the rest of the road. Jeb Stuart Road could be renamed to Milton Lee’s Road, the road’s historic name according to Loudoun historian Eugene Scheel. In either case, the county’s renaming process involves a public comment period on the new name for people with addresses along the road where the name will be changed, and may also include an opportunity for people along the road to submit and vote on ideas for a new name.
The renaming continues the work begun by supervisors in December 2020 to find and rename public symbols named for people primarily known for their association with segregation or the Confederacy. That includes Loudoun’s two major east-west corridors, Rt. 7 also called Harry Byrd Highway, and Rt. 50 known as John Mosby Highway.