Loudoun Co. votes to revert to historic names for Routes 7 and 50

50 mosby
U.S. 50 has been known as John Mosby Highway in Loudoun County. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to return Virginia Route 7 and U.S. Route 50 in Virginia to their original names of Leesburg Pike and Little River Turnpike, removing the current names which honor a Confederate commander and governor who supported segregation.

Last year, the board voted to rename the portions of Route 7 and Route 50 that run through Loudoun County.

Currently, Route 7 is Harry Byrd Highway, named in 1968 for the former Virginia governor and U.S. senator, who opposed school de-segregation.

Today, signs along Route 50 identify the road as John Mosby Highway, adopted in 1982 to honor the Confederate commander during the Civil War.

In the past year, a task force researched and narrowed down names, seeking public opinion, and ultimately decided to return to the names the road held before they were renamed for Byrd and Mosby.

With the approval, the board must submit a resolution to the Virginia Department of Transportation, which would seek the approval of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, before the name change could go into effect.

The county would pay VDOT to manufacture and install the new signs. An earlier staff estimate ranged from $621,000 to $3,204,000, depending upon whether a larger sign was needed for longer names. Leesburg Pike and Little River Turnpike would fit on current signs.

In addition, the board voted to establish a grant program that will enable businesses along Route 50 and Route 7 to be reimbursed for costs connected to the name change.

Editor’s Note: Corrects to indicate Route 7 is a Virginia State Route.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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