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History of the Park

History of the Park

Claude Moore Park is named in honor of Dr. Claude Moore (1891-1992), the last private owner and resident of L
anesville.  Dr. Moore, a 1916 graduate of the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical School, was a medical officer in the U.S. Army, serving in France during the First World War.  Following the war, Dr. Moore practiced medicine at the Mayo Clinic and Georgetown University Hospital. His work in radiology helped to develop the initial process of making x-rays. As a medical student, he played on the varsity football team at UVA, disregarding his medical advisor who insisted that he pick either football or medicine. In Moore’s senior year, the advisor finally learned that Moore was a star football player, along with being first in his class in medicine.

Dr. Moore purchased the property now included in Claude Moore Park, and in the Park View High School campus, in 1941 from Irene Bridges. Irene, granddaughter of Keturah Lane Keene Bridges, was the last of four generations of the Lane family, who built Lanesville in 1779, to live in the house.  The Lane family owned the property for 162 years. Dr. Moore possessed the property until 1975, when he donated it to the National Wildlife Federation for environmental education outreach.  He retained life-estate and continued to reside in Lanesville until his passing in 1992. It is rare that a property with such history was home to only two families during the 213 years it was occupied.

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Much to Dr. Moore’s displeasure, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) sold the property to developers in 1986. Dr. Moore fought an unsuccessful multi-year fight in the courts to block the sale of the property. After the case was decided, Loudoun County purchased the property from the developers. Loudoun citizens passed a bond referendum for the purchase, supporting Dr. Moore’s vision that this historic and natural property be kept as open space for active and passive recreation.

The County opened Claude Moore Park in 1990, with the help of many volunteers. In the early years, The Friends of Claude Moore Park staffed the old Visitor Center and opened the park on weekends. Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts, and civic and church groups opened the trails; built bridges, benches and picnic tables; mapped the park; monitored the ponds; established a Bluebird Trail; set up Frogshackle Nature Center; and constructed the first fishing dock. Volunteer efforts have continued to enhance the park over the years. More than 75 Boy Scout Eagle Projects and several Girl Scout Gold Award Projects have been completed. Volunteers were also responsible for the restoration of Lanesville, the listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places, and the addition of the Guilford Signal Station within the Park on the Virginia Civil War Trail.

Initially the park operated out of the old Visitor Center, built by the NWF, on Old Vestal’s Gap Road.  This small building, now our Education Center, was home to all of the early programming and camps.  The new entrance, Loudoun Park Lane, was built and the first phase of the Sportsplex, Fields 1-5, the concession kiosk, and the football fields, was opened in 1995.  Softball fields #9 and #10 were added a couple of years later.  The Vestal’s Gap Visitor Center, with the Discovery Room and staff offices, was opened in November 1998.  Nature and history programming continued to expand with the addition of the Visitor Center and the completed restoration of Lanesville in 2003.

Three additional facilities provide varied recreation opportunities along Loudoun Park Lane

  • Heritage Farm Museum , which was developed in conjunction with Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, Inc,. opened on September 27, 2003.The museum highlights the significant place held by farming in the county's history.
  • Claude Moore Recreation Center, opened on March 31, 2007, features an Olympic size competition pool, a leisure pool with slide, a climbing wall, exercise equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and meeting rooms.  A wide variety of lessons and programs are offered.
  • Claude Moore Community Center, formerly Sterling Annex Community Center, relocated to the park in November, 2007. The center operates a state-licensed preschool program, along with many other classes and programs. Meeting rooms are available for rent. The playground located behind the center is open for public use during daylight hours when the center is open.

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