Thoroughfare Community

Historical Significance

After the Civil War, a group of African Americans, Native Americans, and people of mixed heritage founded Thoroughfare Community, now part of Broad Run, Virginia. Community members built houses, and in 1885, constructed the one-room North Fork School to educate their children. In 1899, community growth compelled the families to construct a second floor room and hire an additional teacher at their own expense. In 1909, members of the community built the Oakrum Baptist Church.

In the years leading up to the Depression, many young men commuted to hotel jobs in Florida in the winter and to resorts in Saratoga, New York during the summer, but came home for the planting and harvesting season. However, most of these hotels closed as a result of the Depression, and Thoroughfare's young families joined the wave of rural Americans in moving to large cities — primarily New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Around the 1950s, development and construction began to encroach on the area, and the newly built Interstate 66 forced many residents to move.

On October 10, 2004, the Prince William County Historical Commission erected an historical marker on the south side of John Marshall Highway to honor the founders of the Thoroughfare Community. The silver marker includes names of the founding families, and gives a brief account of the community's history. 

Physical Description

The historic marker for the community is located on the south side of John Marshall Highway, between Thoroughfare Road and the railroad tracks, across from the Broad Run Grocery.

Geographical and Contact Information

John Marshall Highway (Virginia Route 55) west of Thoroughfare Road
Broad Run, Virginia
20137

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Thoroughfare Community,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 28, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/438.

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