(above) Looking east from the outskirts of the newly-constructed Aspen Green subdivision off Flowing Springs Road north of Ranson, with the Blue Ridge Mountains (in Maryland) in the distance.
McMurran Hall was built in 1859 as a town hall for Shepherdstown. During the Civil War, it served as the courthouse for Jefferson County until it was abandoned in 1871 when Charles Town reclaimed its role as the seat of the county government. Quickly repurposed into the home of the new Shepherd College, it still stands as a reminder of community spirit shared between a town and institution.
Jefferson County also seems poised for more changes in the years ahead. If you stand at the edge of the unbuilt road (above) and turn around, you can see dozens of new homes built within the past year. Hidden over the hill to the left in the distance is Sam Michael’s Park – a community resource developed for the enjoyment of all. In the distance to the right is Potomac Edison’s Sleepy Hollow substation – the proposed location of a 125 megawatt solar generation facility. Immediately in front, the sign is a hint of the several adjoining neighborhoods that have been planned since 2008 but are just now being built.
The US Census provides very specific numbers for the growth of the past decade. The County’s task going forward, armed with less certainty but no less energy, is to plan for the coming decades. To the east, we can see the growth taking place over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Loudoun County, where the population grew by 35 percent over the past decade to 420,000 residents. To the west, Berkeley County WV and Frederick County VA, both straddling the Interstate 81 corridor, expanded their populations by 17 percent over the past decade. Growth is coming to Jeffersion too, it’s just a question of where and how well it is managed to preserve the character of the county.By Steve Pearson