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History

(Excerpt from Dr. Dennis Pfennig's history of Hayfield Secondary School)

 

It is thought that George Washington acquired the land on which Hayfield was built around 1761, in order to increase the holdings of his Mount Vernon Estate. Colonel Washington came to use the land he purchased as his hayfield - hence the name of the school. When General George Washington returned from the Revolutionary War, he decided to ease his debt by selling 360 acres of the western section of his land to his cousin and plantation manager, Lund Washington, who was married to the former Elizabeth Foote, also one of the General's kinsman.

 

Lund and his wife built the lovely Hayfield Manor House which remained standing until a fire destroyed it in 1917. Also on the site was a formal boxwood garden that was said to be one of the finest in the state of Virginia. Lund died in 1796, and his wife later bequeathed the land to her nephew William Foote. His widow conveyed the land to Richard Windsor in 1860, who then sold the land to William Clarke in 1874.

 

Clarke added more acreage, and is credited with building the famed double octagon, or sixteen-sided barn, apparently based on the plans of a barn built by General Washington. It was located across from the school in the vicinity of what is now Hayfield Park. The shape, it is reported, was such to ensure that the devil would have no corner in which to hide in his ever-ending quest to drag souls into the fires of hell. Reportedly, the barn remained standing until 1967, when it also fell victim to a fire.

 

In 1906, Clarke's widow conveyed Hayfield to Joseph R. Atkinson, who in turn sold it to J.M. Duncan. In 1918, after fire had destroyed the farm dwellings, it was conveyed to Hayfield Farm Co., Inc. It was during this time that some of the historic Hayfield boxwood was sold, and it is said that some of it thrived at the National Cathedral (placed there by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson). Some of it may also have been planted at the National Masonic Memorial.

 

In 1954, the property was sold to W.S. Banks and W.M. Orr, who developed a herd of Charolais cattle there. They sold to Wills and Van Metre in 1963, and their construction company began to develop housing plans.