On May 19, 2020, Preservation Virginia, the Commonwealth’s leading preservation advocate, officially added Loudoun’s extensive network of unpaved rural roads to its “Most Endangered Historic Sites” listing.
Of the roads network, Preservation Virginia states:
“Bordered by trees and punctuated by stone walls, sunken lanes, cemeteries, mills and other historic sites, western Loudoun County’s network of rural roads is largely unchanged, a living museum of 300 miles of gravel roadways that traverse the Loudoun Valley. The changing lifestyle of parts of the county from agrarian to commuter need not be an obstacle to protecting the historic road network, the scenic and environmental resources and disappearing agrarian traditions.”
This important recognition of the road network’s value and the threats to it is largely the work of Jane Covington, a member of both the Coalition’s Rural Roads Committee and America’s Routes (our program of research, education and information about our roads) – and of support for the listing by Robert Pollard and the Heritage Commission.
“We hope this event will aid us in building awareness of the significance of our network of 18th and 19th century unpaved roads and of the potential damage to them from misguided efforts to suburbanize our rural community,” said Mitch Diamond also a member of both the Rural Roads Committee and America’s Routes.
This local nonprofit’s work to protect Loudoun’s rural roads includes a 2019 documentary, “The Long Road Home,” which was awarded an Emmy in 2019. The video also was a regional winner of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Video.