School History: 1950-1957

Following World War II, rapid growth of the Federal government brought an influx of workers and returning veterans with young families to Northern Virginia. In the early 1950s, the Springfield area was a hotbed of new home construction. The sprawling suburban growth quickly put pressure on Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), because very little funding was available for the construction of new schools. Originally, the closest school to Springfield was Franconia Elementary School. Built during the Great Depression, Franconia was too small a school to absorb all the new children suddenly living within its boundaries.

Black and white photograph of the original main entrance of Franconia Elementary School taken in 1942 for the Fairfax County School Board’s Fire Insurance Survey. A late 1930s-era car is visible to the right.
Franconia Elementary School, 1942

In 1950, there were 16,163 children enrolled in FCPS. By 1960 that number would climb to 59,870. For Springfield area families, relief seemed in sight during the summer of 1953 as construction of the new Garfield Elementary School neared completion. However, much to their disappointment, the school was overcrowded the day it opened with an average of 42 children in each class.

Black and white newspaper advertisement for the Lynbrook Subdivision printed in the Washington Post in 1955. The ad has a drawing of several homes with the word Springfield above it. Below the illustration of the houses is the word Lynbrook and a paragraph of text. The text is surrounded by an elegant looking frame. It reads: Accessible... convenient... elegant... Lynbrook, one of Virginia's most beautiful developments is located at Springfield, and just minutes from Washington via the modern Shirley Highway. Out of a projected plan to build 350 houses, over 250 homes have already been sold with the remaining 100 homes now being offered for occupancy in the latter part of 1955.
Lynbrook advertisement, The Washington Post, April 24, 1955

In August 1954, developers Michnick and DiMaio held the grand opening of their new Lynbrook neighborhood, and the Fairfax County Police Department estimated that approximately 20,000 people came to inspect the model homes on opening day.

Photograph of a black and white survey of Section One of the Lynbrook Subdivision created in 1954. This survey is the property of the Fairfax County Circuit Court and was submitted by the developer of Lynbrook. The drawing shows Floyd Avenue and numbered lots on both sides of the street. Metes, bounds, acreage, the name of the developer, and other official information are recorded.
Lynbrook Elementary School was named for the surrounding neighborhood. The developers of Lynbrook set aside 10.6 acres of land for a school, and by October 1954 the title to this property had been transferred to the Fairfax County School Board. The above image is part of the plat of Section One of the Lynbrook Subdivision from Fairfax County Plat Book 2, Page 3059. Courtesy of the Fairfax County Circuit Court Historic Records Center.

Design and Construction

During the 1950s, the United States Congress authorized the appropriation of financial aid to school districts impacted by the growth of the federal government workforce. Shortly after obtaining the title to the Lynbrook property, FCPS applied for a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Government to build a 10-classroom school on the site. In May 1955, the School Board assigned the architecture firm of Dixon and Norman to design the building, but it quickly became apparent that a 10-classroom school would not suffice. The School Board directed the architects to increase the number of classrooms from 10 to 16 to house 480 pupils, and to add space for a library, clinic, administrative office, and a cafeteria and kitchen. FCPS revised its grant applications for Lynbrook and several other schools, and received appropriation of $447,000 for the Lynbrook project. On December 15, 1955, the School Board awarded the contract for the construction of Lynbrook Elementary School to L. R. Broyhill, Inc., of Arlington, Virginia, in the amount of $489,373. The contract stipulated that the school would be complete and ready for occupancy by December 1956.

Black and white photograph of Garfield Elementary School taken in 1954 for a fire insurance survey for the Fairfax County School Board. The picture was taken from Old Keene Mill Road and faces the east side of the building. This side of the school looks very similar today, except the main entrance has been moved to face Spring Road.
Garfield Elementary School, 1954. The opening of Crestwood Elementary School in February 1956 brought some relief to overcrowding at Garfield, but steady student-population growth continued unabated. Prior to the opening of Lynbrook Elementary School, some of our students were housed at Garfield.

By June 1956, it was already apparent that Lynbrook Elementary School would not be completed by December as planned. Construction was hampered by unusually severe weather and delays in receiving construction materials because of a strike at a glass factory. Steel was also in short supply.

The First Year Begins

The 1956-57 school year began with 38,500 students enrolled in FCPS, and with the completion of Lynbrook Elementary School approximately 66 days behind schedule. At Garfield Elementary School, twelve classrooms of future Lynbrook teachers and students were grouped separately from Garfield’s staff and students with the intention that Lynbrook’s teachers and their classes would move en masse to the new building when it opened. Approximately two miles away, in the North Springfield neighborhood, four more classrooms bound for Lynbrook were housed in rented homes on Axton Street.

Black and white photographs from the Springfield Independent newspaper from an article entitled Emergency Classroom that was published on December 5, 1956. Students can be seen seated at desks and at a table in the dining room and living room of a rambler-style home. The teacher is standing, holding a book in her hand, and is speaking to the students seated in one of the rooms.
The Springfield Independent, December 5, 1956. During the 1956-57 school year, FCPS rented five houses from North Springfield developer Edward R. Carr for $75 a month for use as classrooms. The school in these houses was collectively referred to as the North Springfield School. The majority of the students taught in these homes would attended North Springfield Elementary School when that school opened on September 3, 1957.
Color photograph, taken in 2018, of a home on Axton Street that was used as a school from 1956 to 1957. The house is a split-level rambler commonly found in neighborhoods built in the 1950s and 60s in our area.
One of the five homes used for classrooms in 1956-57. Of the five rented homes, only three were still standing in 2018.

Finally, in early February 1957, word came that Lynbrook was ready for occupancy. The pre-approved transfer of Mrs. Ida B. Auerbach from seventh grade teacher at Garfield to principal at Lynbrook became effective. Lynbrook Elementary School would soon open to students.

Black and white class photograph taken during Lynbrook's first year of operation. The students are seated on metal chairs with book storage beneath the seat and an attached writing surface. They are arranged four rows across and seven rows deep. The boys are wearing button down plaid shirts or suits with ties, and the girls are wearing dresses or skirts. The teacher can be seen standing at the back of the room.
At approximately 12:00 p.m. on February 10, 1957, the first group of students bound for Lynbrook packed up their books at Garfield Elementary School and boarded school buses waiting to take them to their new school. This is the earliest photograph in our collection, from the 1956-57 school year, taken after students had moved into Lynbrook Elementary School. The class pictured is a combined class of 6th and 7th graders in Room 13.

Fun Fact

In the same way Garfield housed future Lynbrook students, Lynbrook Elementary School has housed students bound for Bren Mar Park, Keene Mill, Saratoga, and Springfield Estates elementary schools.

Lynbrook's School History was written with assistance from Robyn Carter.