Meadow Hall - The Early Years

The information in this article has been gleaned from newspaper clippings that were part of the Meadow Hall time capsule that was recovered in May, 2000. The newspapers are the November 5th, 1961 Washington Star and the October, 1963 issue of the Twinbrook Citizen's Association newspaper, Twinbrook Life . The photographs were generously donated to us by Mrs. Billy Gonano, one of the original teachers here at Meadow Hall ES. 

In 1954, there was an unprecedented number of new students in Rockville as a result of the baby boom and the post-war growth of the Washington DC area. Rockville's existing school facilities were being quickly outgrown. Twinbrook Elementary had become too crowded and the county decided that another school should be built to handle the growing number of students. It would be built in the undeveloped Meadow Hills section of Twinbrook Forest.

In September of 1955, those students who would be attending the new schools began the year in Glenview Manor. Yes, the Glenview Manor of the Rockville Civic Center. We were not a separate school yet, and were considered an annex of Twinbrook Elementary under the supervision of Mrs. Elsie Pohle.

MH-1955
Our first home was here - Glenview Manor 1955

In September of 1956 our school was officially named Meadow Hall ES, with Mrs. Pohle as our Principal. "Meadow Hall" was the name of the very fancy house and lands on the corner of Meadow Hall Drive and Twinbrook Parkway. Over the years this area had been owned by various families including the Viers, the Woodwards (of Woodward and Lothrop) and the Bullis family. Since the new building had not yet been finished we continued to hold classes in Glenview Mansion. 

In January of 1957 we were finally able to move into our new school. From the air the building looked like a giant capital letter "I" oriented in a north-south direction.  Since the Meadow Hills section was not fully developed, there was no road leading to the school. A temporary pathway from Baltimore Road was cleared giving students and staff a way in. That pathway would eventually become Twinbrook Parkway.

We started out with ten classrooms, nine classroom teachers, and Mrs. Pohle as Principal.

MH 1956 Side Entrance
In 1957 the main entrance was on the side of the building next to, what is now, the teacher's lounge.

 In the summer of 1959 a new wing with twelve more classrooms was added and the staff grew from ten to twenty two. Shortly after that, the student population grew so much that Carl Sandburg ES had to be built to handle the overflow. While we were given the name Meadow Hall, it was Carl Sandburg that was built on the site of the old Meadow Hall estate.

MH Front 1956
The front of Meadow Hall around 1960 - On the right is our first addition.

During the 1959 - 1960 school year Meadow Hall became a pilot school in the Non-Grading method of education. This experiment was based on grouping students into classes not by age or "grade level", but by skill. Seventeen classrooms held five hundred and thirty two students. While computers were not to be in the picture for a while, we did have an up-to-date science lab in the room where the computer lab would eventually be built and a functioning kitchen classroom.

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