Saturday, November 12, 2011

They started calling it "Linton Hall School" at least ten years before it stopped being a military school!

Linton Hall Military School, originally established as a military school in 1922, stopped being a military school in 1988, (Note 1) although there was a period during the late 1920s when the military program was dropped. (Note 2)

Recently, however, another LHMS alumnus wrote in his blog that a web site of the Benedictine sisters omits the fact that Linton Hall ever was a military school, by stating that "In 1922, on the Bristow grounds, Linton Hall School opened as a boarding school for boys ..." (Note 3) (Emphasis added.)

Upon first reading his blog, I was willing to give the sisters the benefit of the doubt, thinking that perhaps this was a simple oversight. In fact, Linton Hall Military School officially and deliberately dropped the word "Military" from its name at least ten years before the military program was discontinued in 1989.

I visited the school on Military Day 1980, and the program, still in my posession, refers to the school as "Linton Hall School." From everything I could observe, that Military Day was just like the Military days while I attended during the late 1960s. (Note 4)

Linton Hall Military School Military Day

Even two years before that, the cover of the Linton Hall calendar and brochure sent to prospective students and their parents, as well as the school's letterhead and printed envelopes, all referred to the school as "Linton Hall School."
Linton Hall School Brochure

Inside the brochure, the school is generally referred to simply as "Linton Hall."
The school's history and (rather self-serving) description refers to the school as "a boarding and day school" and "a Christian school," but nowhere does the word "military" appear, not even once. (Note 5)

The next page's recap of the daily schedule does mention "Drill" from 3:45 to 5 p.m. on Mon./Wed., and "Non-Parade Fridays" but not in a manner that makes it blatantly obvious. The photo on the page is of over a dozen boys wearing sweaters and ties, but they are standing and sitting in very casual poses which don't carry even a hint of the school's true military nature.

A few pages later, in a section titled "Faculty and Staff" the brochure states, "In addition to the excellent academic program, experiences in art, music, drama, military, sports, and field study are under the supervision of a well-trained, dedicated staff."

Note how the word "military" is mentioned in passing.

Folks, when I attended Linton Hall Military School, my "experiences" in Art consisted of such things as building a model car from a kit in "Art" class and crafting things aout of wire, popsicle sticks, and so on. But that didn't make the school into "Linton Hall Art School," now did it?

Nor did the my "experience" of marching to the beat of the Drum & Bugle Corps and listening to 45 rpm record during rest make this a music school.

But it sure was a military school!

It is only at the back of the brochure that the "Military Program" is finally described.

Of the twenty-six photos in which cadets appear, in the vast majority (23) they are NOT in the military dress uniform. Of the remaining three, one shows the cadet's head and shoulders (from ribbons on his chest and up) the second shows a cadet playing the piano at a recital attended by parents (I doubt most people would even discern that he is wearing the dress uniform, since he's way in the back of the picture) and the third, on the "Military Program" page shows the Drum and Bugle Corps. Unlike companies whose cadets carry rifles, the cadets in the D&BC obviosuly carry drums and bugles!

As far back as 1971, an advertisement appeared in a Catholic School directory, bearing the name of "Linton Hall School: (Note 6)


Prince William County
Bristow, Virginia
For Boys Grades 3-8
Linton Hall School is a private
boarding school for boys in grades
three through eight, located thirty-
five miles south of Washington,
D.C. The students are offered sound
physical, academic and religious
programs. Small classes and a
well-equipped instructional ma-
terials center provide the oppor-
tunity for individualized and
small group instruction

The words "Linton Hall School" are mentioned twice in the ad. It is only in the index that the school is listed as "Linton Hall Military School" (Note 7)

This raises a lot of questions. Why did they make such an effort to avoid revealing the school's true nature as a military school? If a military school was not the type of environment that students and parents were searching for, why did they simply change the name of the school without changing the nature of the program? If they truly believed that the military school concept was a positive one, why did they not emphasize it and its purported benefits? Is "Outdoor Education, Conservation and Ecology" (OECW for short) the same as the "Military Science" and field maneuvers we were taught while I was there during the sixties? Why are cadets wearing their dress uniform in only three of the 26 pictures in the 1978 handbook/brochure? Why are there no pictures of guns, other than adults in tri-cornered Colonial hats with a musket? And, finally, today, in 2011, when Linton Hall School has not been a military school for a long time, does the school still have the regimented environment I remember, with excessive emphasis placed on uniform dress codes, length of hair and adherence to the pettiest of rules?

1. According to the school's official web site.

2. The Fruit of His Works, by Sister Helen Johnson OSB states that the military program was dropped during the late 1920s and was revived in 1931. In addition, Military Day programs in my posession identify the year both by its cardinal number, e.g. 1980, and ordinal number, i.e. 1980 was the forty-ninth Military Day. Working back, this would make the first Military Day in 1932. This differs from the statement on the school's website, cited in Note 1, that "In 1932, the military program was firmly established, and the school became known as Linton Hall Military School. "

This is a blog by another alumnus who also attended Linton Hall Military School during the 1960s.
He has written excellent, well-researched posts about his experience.

4. Linton Hall School Military Day Program, 1980.

5. Linton Hall School, Calendar 1978-1979 Handbook. This publication is in the public domain. To protect the privacy of alumni whose photos appear in the publication, I am only posting the text.

6. The Official guide to Catholic educational institutions and religious communities in the United States, 1971, pages B-27 and B-38 Each of the following three urls has a portion of the ad: , and .

7. ibid, see

Copyright 2011 by Linton Hall Cadet.
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This blog is not affiliated with Linton Hall Military School and all opinions are those of the author. Comments are always welcome; please do not use your name or names of others.

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