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.
Glenview Manor in 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 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. Since the Meadow Hills section was not fully developed, there was no road leading to the school so a pathway was cleared giving students and staff a way in. That pathway would become Twinbrook Parkway.
We started out with ten classrooms, nine classroom teachers, and Mrs. Pohle as Principal. In the summer of 1959 twelve more classrooms were added, and by opening day of 1960 the staff had grown 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, the new school was built on the site of the Meadow Hall estate.
A side view from the same time
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, Meadow Hall did have an up- to- date science lab.