School History

Construction of Stenwood Elementary School began in the spring of 1963 on a 10-acre site in the Dunn Loring Woods subdivision. Our school originally had 20 classrooms and cost $431,000 to construct. Construction of our school was not completed in time for the opening of schools in September, so classes were held at three elementary schools. Students were picked up at their homes and transported by bus to Dunn Loring Elementary, where three classes were housed. From there, three classes were shuttled by bus to Vienna Elementary, and the remaining four classes were transported to Flint Hill Elementary School. Our first librarian, Mildred Stroble O’Neill, travelled to the three schools and circulated books from each library. Our first principal, William “Bill” Berkeley Martin, worked out of an office at Vienna Elementary School.

Newspaper clipping from February 1964, showing a black and white photograph of Principal William Martin holding open the door as students leave after their first day of school. The caption states that the school is located at 2620 Dunn Loring Road, and was completed at a cost of $431,000. The school has 20 classrooms, and a cafeteria which doubles as an auditorium.
Newspaper Clipping From 1964

Stenwood Elementary School was completed and moved into on February 3, 1964. Our school was originally designed with folding walls between classrooms that could be opened during sessions of cooperative teaching. During our first year, enrollment was approximately 400 students. By September 1964, that number had grown to 584 students, and by September 1965 enrollment had swelled to 705 students.

Photograph of Stenwood Elementary School main entrance in early 1964, shortly after the school opened. It is late winter or early spring and the school grounds are exposed dirt.
Stenwood Elementary School, 1964
Black and white photograph of the front of Stenwood Elementary School from the 1978-79 yearbook.
Stenwood Elementary School, Circa 1979
Collage of the covers of Stenwood Elementary School yearbooks from 1979, 1981, 1997, and 2003. The 1979 yearbook features a black and white photograph of the front of the school. The 1981 yearbook has drawings of a plant leaf, an atom, a butterfly, a pencil, crayon, and ink brush, and math symbols. The 1997 yearbook is a student drawn image of the Earth where the continents spell out the name Stenwood. The Earth is set above an American flag. The 2003 yearbook has a blue / gray cover with an American flag at the center. The Pledge of Allegiance, printed in white, fills the cover.
Stenwood Elementary School yearbook covers from 1979, 1981, 1997, and 2003.

The Stenhouse Family

After construction of our school was complete, Edna Walker Stenhouse, who lived across Gallows Road from our school, planted dogwoods and azaleas in the elevated circle in our driveway, and had a sundial placed there in memory of her husband Walter Stenhouse, for whom our school is named. In 1983, as part of the preparations for our school’s 20th anniversary, the sundial’s brick base was rebuilt by three generations of Stenwood supporters: Joe Bell; his son, Ted, a Stenwood alumnus; and Ted, Jr., then a kindergartener at Stenwood. The brass dial was refurbished by Dante Notaro, husband of Antoinette Notaro, a teacher at Stenwood. The sundial was rededicated during the anniversary celebration.

Our Principals

Camp Alger

Following the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, in May 1898, Secretary of War Russell Alger selected several farms near Dunn Loring and Merrifield upon which to build a training facility for the United States Army. By the end of June some 23,000 troops were stationed in the area at Camp Alger. The land where Stenwood Elementary School stands was used as a campsite by the United States Army’s 13th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. The Army’s 1st Division Headquarters was located a short distance southwest of our school. From July to November 1898, a typhoid epidemic, spurred on by contaminated drinking water, swept through Camp Alger, eventually forcing its closure.

Three black and white photographs showing scenes from Camp Alger. On the left, cavalry soldiers on horseback are formed in a line. One holds a flag showing that the men are from New York. In the center, a group of soldiers stand, arms crossed, facing the camera. Behind them are scores of soldiers at work in the camp. On the right is a photograph of African-American soldiers in kneeling position, guns at the ready, shooting target practice.
Scenes from Camp Alger