Groveton at first was almost totally by itself. My daughter, who was in the eighth grade, was just learning to drive and we would bring her here and let her drive around the parking lot at Groveton.
The Unitarian Church ground - I still remember what beautiful grounds those were. Allan Steven's father had always been the caretaker there. I remember the play casts sometimes would go over there. Allan had the whole place to himself, and we'd have cast parties and such, but the grounds were much better kept at that time, and I think that it was much more gardenish. Students did not hang around there at that time. Not that they were not permitted to, I guess it was because there were more woods around. They didn't really have to congregate in this one small last spot of nature. The grounds have really shrunk to a very minute part of what they once were.
All the way down from the Groveton area, on Route 1, there was the Dixie Pig and Three Hundred Club. What is it called? The one that has go-go girls? (1320 Club) Along that area there was absolutely nothing and from there on out to Ft. Belvoir you would drive for miles before you'd find any kind of established buildings.
The breakdown in school (zoning) is kind of interesting. I'm trying to think of the name of that area across Ft. Hunt Road --West Grove. When I came here West Grove was feeding students (to Groveton) and Belle Haven and Jefferson Manor and Gum Springs. This was all Groveton. Mt. Vernon picked up the students on out towards Ft. Belvoir. The first "chunk", I believe, was bitten off by Edison. They took Jefferson Manor. There was no Hayfield. Anyway, Groveton was bulging at the seams. Mt. Vernon came down the road toward us a little bit. Then Fort Hunt was built and they chopped off West Grove.
Due to parents who didn't want their kids to go to Groveton?
Well, that wasn't the way those of us who lived in the community were told. The population was growing so, actually, I believe that it could be more accurately said that they just needed a new school. But you do have a point. Unfortunately, in 1958, the "greasers", quote, unquote, the ones who slicked their hair back, really had a bad reputation. They were considered the renegades of the school. Somehow Groveton had that reputation accumulated way back at the beginning of the school. And we never have been able to live it down to this day. You still talk with people - ''I remember when…" - and they feel that Groveton has never gotten away from that. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a great number of parents, Groveton has always had high quality education.
The cheerleaders were asked to be stationed almost like a welcoming committee. The whole thing, when I look back on it, was a real farce. We expected one, possibly two, (black) students. Anyway we were getting one student and you'd think we were being mobbed. The cheerleaders came that told to dress in their uniforms. They were to greet this student. Teachers were stationed throughout the school to avoid an uprising. In walked this beautifully dressed, male student who was all smiles and very cultured, and eventually became president of the student body his third year here. It really was amusing. Apparently the Virginians were not ready to accept this kind of invasion.