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The End Of An Era At Woodlawn Stables

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A view of the property surrounding Woodlawn Stables. U.S. Route 1 widening will cut through the property where the stables are located, and those that use the stables have been hoping to find an alternative. 
Michael Pope
A view of the property surrounding Woodlawn Stables. U.S. Route 1 widening will cut through the property where the stables are located, and those that use the stables have been hoping to find an alternative. 

Employees and others at Woodlawn Stables in Fairfax County are feeling forlorn about the facility's future. The widening of U.S. Route 1 — known as Richmond Highway in the area — is expected to cut right through the stables' property.

At the Woodlawn stables, it's been six weeks since April, one of the stables' equine inhabitants, has been shod. As farrier Arvin Reynolds prepares the horseshoe, he thinks back on his 20 years here.

"A lot of history, a lot of good times, a lot of struggles, a lot of fights, and it seems for naught now for the sake of a highway and a failure to renew a contract," says Reynolds.

That's the contract with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has decided against renewing Woodlawn's lease agreement after 2016.

"It's a sad day," he says. "I think it's a blow. I think everybody is really upset about it, and kind of devastated."

Ross Bradford, an attorney with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, says it was a difficult decision, but a necessary one.

A few feet away, Woodlawn Baptist Church pastor Travis Hilton says it's unfortunate that the horse stable will be shutting down. But he's also relieved that the Federal Highway Administration will not be widening U.S. Route 1 in place, and is instead winding the road to the south in a way that protects Woodlawn Plantation and the church graveyard.

"I've seen some comments online, people saying that this is just a bunch of dead people, says Hilton. "What a cold comment you could make about family members and people who have been buried in a place for generations."

The Federal Highway Administration is expected to issue a final decision in the coming weeks.

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