History of Lane and Reunions

October 2023
Due to overbooking the meeting room at East Rivanna Fire Department, we moved our reunion to the Earlysville Fire Department.  Emails, notes and phone calls went out to notify classmates about the change.  We had 268 classmates and guests enjoy a great reunion on October 14 in Earlysville.

COVID19 hit in March 2019, and after much discussion, the Reunions Committee decided to go ahead with an All-Class Reunion at the East Rivanna Fire Department in 2021.  We had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed the spacious venue and good food provided by Wayside Takeout.  We are adding more and more people to our classmate lists, so lots of new faces attended this year.

In all the many years of Lane High Reunions, 2018 was the first to be cancelled. Last year, in spite of the threat of Hurricane Irma, we decided to take the chance and go ahead with the picnic. We were rewarded when, after a dark and dreary Thursday, Friday turned out to be a good day. In 2001, our picnic was scheduled for the fateful day of 9/11. We went ahead with heavy hearts. Some didn’t come, but those there were glad to be able to share their concerns with their classmates. This year, with the prediction of what Hurricane Florence might bring to this area, we decided to cancel. Even though we did not get the storms predicted, we still feel that we made the right decision. By cancelling on Monday, we were able to get refunds on the sound system and the table decoration mums. By cancelling the shelter, Albemarle Parks and Rec. employees who have been so helpful in preparing the shelter in the past, were freed to be at Darden Towe Park to help all those who wanted to fill free sand bags in preparation for the predicted heavy rains of next week. Brute Gardner, our tent supplier, had said that he would have only one tent to put up since two of his tents had been destroyed in a violent thunderstorm several weeks before. At the last minute, he decided not to risk putting up even that one. With the already soggy ground and no tent, the showers we did get Friday afternoon would have made our picnic very uncomfortable.

This area turned out to be over prepared for Florence. Even UVA athletic department decided to move Saturday’s UVA/Ohio football game from Scott Stadium to Nashville, TN. (We can sympathize with those people who made that decision, because we are so aware that when you are presented with certain facts and a time constraint you must make the decision NOW.) Area churches prepared to open their doors to shelter the homeless from the storm. Hundreds of Dominion Power workers gathered in staging areas in the state, prepared to restore power wherever needed. (Many of them will be deployed to the now devastated Carolinas)

By Tuesday morning, cancellation notices had been sent to all classmates with email addresses, and a telephone list of all others had been called. Notice was also posted on our Website, on Facebook and local TV stations were asked to add it to their crawl if the need arose.

Refunds will be sent to all who requested them, though many chose to apply their refund to next year’s event.

Rosters have been mailed to all who requested one (whether they were to be picked up or mailed.)

Because of September’s unpredictable weather, we will consider moving indoors next year.

In the days before our annual Multi Class Reunion on September 15, we anxiously watched the progression of hurricane Irma as it churned its way toward Florida, wondering how it would affect the weather in Virginia on that Friday. We had calls asking if the picnic would be cancelled but decided to go ahead with it as planned. As it turned out, we got rain from the remnants of Irma on the first three days of our picnic week, but clearing on Thursday so the tents could be set up. On Friday there were a few clouds, but we had a fine day for our gathering. As we thought of all those so devastated by Harvey and Irma in Texas, the Gulf coast, Florida, Georgia and the islands, we felt truly blessed. Almost 200 classmates and guests attended. (To see who came, click on 2017 List of Attendees by Class on the website.) We had representatives from every class from 1942 thru 1965 and also from 1940, 1967, 1968, 1971 and 1974. Our guests included quite a few spouses but also friends, children and grandchildren. Lane graduate families were Hollis PROFFITT (40) (Hollis was in the last class to graduate from the “old Lane High” up on the hill) and Nancy PROFFITT Guthrie (65), Elsom JOHNSON (43) and Jackie JOHNSON Lockwood (65) and Mary BIRCKHEAD Trogdon (46) and Susan TROGDON Barnett (68). Early Dudley (54) and Shirley ARMSTRONG Dudley (55) brought their son, Flip DUDLEY (74). Flip was from the last class to graduate from Lane. The class of 1955 had the most classmates attending (16), followed by 1957 (15), 1954 (13) and 1953 (12). Irma kept some classmates who were registered to come from Florida and Georgia from attending. Elaine ACREE Pleasants (64) maintains our database with help from Nancy TYLER Oakey (48) who is constantly searching for corrections to update the information. (Note: if you know of any corrections to the roster or of any classmates who would like to be included, please email Elaine at dandepleasants@outlook.com). Elaine was able to send an up-to-date roster to ZIPrint the Friday before our picnic. Bob SNODDY (50) picked up the rosters that week and labelled them for classmates who had requested to pick them up at the picnic, saving these folks the cost ($2.24) of mailing. Most were picked up and any that were not were mailed along with all those who had requested that it be mailed to them. (Elaine will also email newsletters and rosters for FREE to anyone who requests them at the above email address.) How times have changed since some of us graduated in the 40s and 50s. (Mrs. McCue taught us to type them and print them on the mimeograph machine. Of course, we could probably mail them for fifteen cents).

Over several years, those of us on the committee whose ages ranged from late 60s to 70, 84, 88 and, yes, 91 have been constantly saying that unless some of the “young” folks stepped up, the Reunion, after 51 years, was in danger of coming to an end. Last year some fine folks decided to answer. Jane SMITH Thomas(67) stepped up to relieve Bob (50) and Mary Elizabeth ARMSTRONG Snoddy (50) of the job of registrar. She has done marvelous and efficient work receiving the registrations, getting database changes promptly to Elaine ACREE Pleasants (64), recording who is coming, who wants a roster and passing notes and messages from the alums along to be put on the website (under We Heard From). Mary Elizabeth was doubly blessed when Brenda WEAKLEY Croxton (61) and Diane PLANT Spencer (61) took over her duties as liaison with our caterer, Wayside Catering. Unfortunately, this year, Diane’s husband, Hugh, had some health concerns and Brenda worked hard by herself to make sure the food was done right for our pleasure. Of course, Elaine ACREE Pleasants has done her year round tasks of keeping the database current, and producing our stellar website, LaneHSOnward.Com, which we urge everyone who has a computer (or can get access to one) to visit frequently. Nancy TYLER Oakey (48) with her husband, Oran (43), by her side is a top notch researcher who can find you people wherever you “hide”. Barbara TURNER (55) serves year round as our treasurer, and along with her classmate, Anna Jane HAYES (55), arranges for delivery of the chrysanthemums that decorate the tables. Betty BRANHAM Paine (50) works with the Albemarle Parks and Recreation department to be sure the facility is neat and clean and that the restrooms are cleaned before the event. Who can say enough about the job that the ALDERMANS, Bill (55) and Margaret (honorary Laneite) do to produce the main event, the picnic? They rent and arrange delivery of the large tents, the tables and chairs and direct getting the tables covered with plastic. They bring to the event the plates, knives, forks and spoons. They bring tubs and coolers and the ice, water and soft drinks for before and during the meal. They bring Subway sandwiches for the crew who arrive at Noon to set up everything. Bill works hard setting up the small tents for greeting the arrivals, hanging the LANE HIGH SCHOOL banner and hooking up the sound system. Bill would be very happy to have someone take over these tasks.

On Friday September 16, 2016 about 200 classmates gathered at Darden Towe Park for our annual Lane High Reunion. We had  representatives  from every class from 1941 through 1976 with the exception of ’69, ’72, ’73 and ’75. Dan TOWNSEND, as he has  for many years, represented the class of 1941 along with his son, Jim TOWNSEND from the class of 1971. Elsom JOHNSON (43)  and his daughter, Jackie JOHNSON Lockwood (65) attended. Mary BIRCKHEAD Trogdon (46) came with her daughter, Susan  TRODGON Barnett (68). The classes of 1952 and 1955 tied for having the most classmates attending (18), with the class of ’57  close behind.  The classes of ’53, ’54 and ’56 were also well represented. We were blessed with near perfect weather, a great day  to reconnect with those who have attended for many years as well as welcome a number of first time attendees. Some of those  had heard about the reunion through Facebook and our website. Elaine ACREE Pleasants (64) has done a masterful job of  maintaining the website LaneHSOnward.com. If you have not visited it, please do so. You will love the information and pictures  there!  This year we welcomed some younger classmates to help keep our reunions going. Jane SMITH Thomas (67) served as  Registrar, receiving and recording registrations and donations. Diane PLANT Spencer (61) and Brenda WEAKLEY Croxton (61) worked  with Wayside Takeout and Catering to make sure that we had plenty of food. We actually had some left over due to the 24 classmates who sent in reservations but did not attend. (Dang!)  Scott LEAKE (66) sent three of his classmates to help set up tables, chairs and small pop-up tents. Some members of the committee who have been coordinating reunion picnics for 10 or more years were still on the job. Bob (50) and Mary Elizabeth ARMSTRONG SNODDY (50) produced the August newsletter and with the help of Oran (43) and Nancy TYLER OAKEY (48) folded, stuffed, stamped and mailed about 1,300 of them.  Our thanks to Elaine ACREE Pleasants (64) who maintains the database and generated mailing labels from it. Nancy Oakey (48), as she has for many years, organized badges and made lists so that we could check off those who came. Bill ALDERMAN (55) took care of renting tents, tables and chairs and made sure we had enough paper goods, cold drinks and ice. Anna Jane HAYES (55) and Barbara TURNER (55) arranged for the delivery of the lovely chrysanthemums that decorated our tables. Betty BRANHAM Glass Paine (50) worked with Albemarle Parks and Recreation to make sure the facilities were spic and span and well lighted. Many hands helped produce our 2016 picnic.
One thing we need for future reunions is more folks to stay and help take down the tables, chairs and small tents and clean up the area. Please volunteer at the Picnic!  With the help of younger classmates, we hope that the “all class reunion” will be carried on into the future.


This year we had three big, festive yellow and white tents in place for the 2015 Lane High School Multi-class Reunion Picnic in case the weather did not cooperate. However, Friday September 11, turned out to be a bright and sunny day, sandwiched between a very rainy Thursday and Saturday. About 230 classmates and guests attended, with every class from 1941 to 1968 plus 1970 and 1973 represented. The class of 1955, celebrating their 60th, had the largest group there, with the class of ’53 close behind. The  classes of ’50, ’52 and ’57 were also well represented. (Our website has a complete list of attendees. Just under the picture you will find the direction “Click Here”) Again this year we must thank Wayside Takeout and Catering for the many choices of great food and their excellent service. Thanks also go to Albemarle Parks and Recreation for having the shelter facilities ready for us and for helping with table and chair set-up. We had several responses to our plea for younger classmates to help with future picnics as our current committee ages. We will be calling on them to take over some of the many tasks required to keep our Lane High grads informed and to put on an annual get-together.

The Lane Class of 1964 held their 50th Reunion on September 20, 2014 at the Charlottesville Omni.  A buffet dinner was followed by a dance with music by The Detours (Larry Shifflett(64), Tom Bibb(64), Ronnie Pugh(65), Stan Butler(65), Gary Bibb(68), Allen Ponton, Randy Thomas, and Pete Carey.  78 classmates and invited guests attended.  The class also had 5 tables reserved for them at the Lane High All-Class Reunion picnic on September 19.

by Mary Elizabeth Snoddy (50)

Lane High School was built in 1939 at the foot of Vinegar Hill on the site of an African-American Episcopal Chapel where Preston Avenue  and McIntire Road met. It first opened in the fall of 1940 and remained open until 1974, except for a brief period from September 19, 1958 until February 4, 1959 as Virginia Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. ordered 9 schools in Virginia, including Lane, closed as a part of the state’s Massive Resistance to the Federal Court’s order to integrate all racially segregated schools. When Lane High became over crowded in the 60s, two junior high schools, Walker and Buford,  were built to ease the burden. Finally the expanding school population led to the construction of Charlottesville High School. Our beautiful Lane High School building had out lived its use as a school. Many feared it would be torn down, but in 1981, after extensive renovations, it reopened as the Albemarle County Office Building. At first the Albemarle County police department occupied our old gym wing. That department later moved to the new Albemarle County offices on 5th Street Extended. The Community Development offices are now housed in our gym. Offices for the departments  of Parks and Recreation, Finance, Taxation, Human Resources, Building Permits and many more, as well as the County Attorney and the Superintendent of Schools now fill our “class rooms”. The county supervisors meet in the auditorium where we once attended assemblies, concerts and plays, and where many of us received our diplomas at graduation. The auditorium continues to be called LANE AUDITORIUM and a large, tasteful sign in the lobby says “LANE HIGH”. Our football stadium continued to be used by the Charlottesville High Black Knights until a new stadium was built on Melbourne Road across from the new school in the early 1980s. Our old stadium is now a parking lot. You may enjoy making a “nostalgia trip” back to your old building to see that it is still alive and well and a vital part of our community.

Lane High Reunions — IN THE BEGINNING
by Mary Elizabeth Snoddy (50), 2014

The class of 1941 held their 25th reunion in 1966, spearheaded by Jack MURRAY (41), Mildred SADLER Johnson (41), Fred GREAVER (41) and others with only the 1941 classmates invited. In 1971, when they held their 30th, the classes of 1940 and 1942 were included. Reunions were held at 5 year intervals in 1976, 1981 and 1986 which continued to include the 1940 and 1942 classes as well as classmates from other years who wanted to attend. In early 1988 Jean SADLER Surgi (43) suggested that her class plan a 45th reunion for that year, but asked her sister, Mildred, to help with plans which would include 40s through 43s and any other interested classmates. From the beginning until her stroke in 2002 Mildred was the heart and soul of Lane High Reunions. She planned the events, put together the Newsletter filled with classmate news and statistics, received reservations and paid the bills, all while living in Reston, Va. The first several years’ reunion events were held at the Elk’s Lodge and lasted for three days. In 1991 the grads returned to their old Lane High School building for a reception and then partied at Farmington. In 1992 and 93 all events moved to the “new” Senior Center.
The year 1993 marked two important events for Mildred and her husband John (40), celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary as a part of the reunion and a move to their retirement home in Charlottesville at Gazebo Court. In 1994, 95 and 96 the reunions returned to the Elk’s Lodge and Farmington. After the 1996 reunion Mildred wrote in her January 1998 (Vol. 18) newsletter “Your editor had every intention of sending out a newsletter in December 1996 but, alas, the Chief of Procrastinators is just now getting her act together to bring you up-to-date on our long silence.   After 9 years of reunions every year, I decided to back off on reunions at least for now. I am not saying I will never put together another reunion, but for the foreseeable future I am not planning one.”   (Ed.note – As Robert Burns said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley). After her brief hiatus, Mildred was begged and coerced into planning another reunion for 2000 for “a few from 1937 and 1938 and anyone we can find for 1939 through 1948”. This reunion was held at Pen Park and the Mount Vernon Motel. Up until this point all reunions were Friday, Saturday and Sunday affairs, but the 2000 reunion started the tradition of holding them mid-week.
The 2001 reunion picnic was planned for Tuesday, September 11th at Pen Park. Who could have known the terrible events that would take place that day? A number of those who had signed up did not come, but those who did found comfort in sharing their shock with old friends.  Many also attended the luncheon at Farmington the next day. Classmates from every year from 1938 through 1951 were at this gathering.
After Mildred’s 2002 stroke her sisters determined to carry on her tradition of reunions. A picture on the back or the December 2002 newsletter was captioned “It took this many people to do what Mildred used to do almost single-handedly”.  The picture included her husband John JOHNSON (40), who became keeper of the check book, Henry (47) and Maxine CRADDOCK BURTON (49) who arranged the Pen Park picnic, Oran (43) and Nancy TYLER OAKEY (48) who produced picture name tags and took charge of registration, Virginia CREASY Castiel (43) who did beautiful flower arrangements, Ed ROSEBERRY (42), photographer, Ken WALLENBORN (47), master of ceremonies and quartet singer, Kitty BURTON Javins-Harlow (44) of the Silver Steppers and others. The Flashbacks Band with Charles GLEASON (42) played. Paul LYDAY (40) came from California to sing a special tribute to Mildred. The 2003, 04 and 05 reunions followed the same pattern of a Tuesday picnic at Pen Park and lunch at Farmington on Wednesday.   We were blessed to have Mildred back with us in 2004 and 2005. At the 2005 picnic Bob SNODDY (50), substituting for Paul LYDAY, expressed everyone’s feelings of appreciation for all she had done when he sang “UNFORGETTABLE” to Mildred. Sadly, Mildred passed away on June 5th, 2006. At the time of the 2005 reunion a number of reunion committee members announced that they would no longer be able to serve. Bill Alderman stepped in to oversee a new committee composed mainly of members from the class of 1950 with some 1955 alums joining  later. We were fortunate to have John Johnson remain as keeper of the funds, and the Oakeys, who would still do name tags and registration. In 2006 the luncheon was still held at Farmington, but the reunion saw one major change – the picnic was moved to Darden Towe Park with its convenient restroom facilities. (Ed. note: Darden Towe was a Lane High School graduate). Wayside Catering provided many delicious choices and will continue to do so through our 2014 picnic.
The 2007, 08, 09, 10 and 11 reunions settled into a routine of Darden Towe picnics and Farmington luncheons with people attending from classes in the 1930s to the 1960s. The 2012 luncheon was moved to the Omni Hotel as Farmington prices continued to rise. The 2012 reunion saw over 200 at the picnic and 113 at the luncheon. In 2013 we were again at the Omni and Darden Towe with 210 attending.
In 2014 it was decided not to have a luncheon, only a picnic and 250 attended. This year, 2015, we will have only a picnic on Friday,  September  11th, still hoping to draw classmates from the later 60s and 70s who are not yet retired. If the reunions are to continue, we need new people to take over to carry on the Lane High Reunions tradition started by Mildred SADLER Johnson so many years ago.

From Midway to Lane
from the 1960 CHAIN

In 1890, twenty years before the CHAIN saw the light of day, Charlottesville’s first high school was organized.  The site was the old Midway Building on Vinegar Hill.  The purpose was to prepare public grade-school pupils for college.

Two resolutions of the school board at its organizational meeting, held August 8, 1890, in the office of the Chief of Police are interesting:  “both Boys and Girls shall be admitted and taught….studying in different rooms.”
“There shall be 2 Teachers, a Principal and Assistant, the former to receive $80 a month and the latter $65 for nine months.”

The first subjects taught were Latin, German, French, history, and mathematics.  The school opened on September 10, 1890, with thirty pupils attending.  Classes remained small and no changes were made in the curriculum until 1909.  In that year Mr. James G. Johnson became school superintendent and added a business course of study.  New subjects offered were typewriting, stenography, bookkeeping, and commercial arithmetic.

In 1924 the Charlottesville High School was renamed Lane High in honor of Mr. James W. Lane, principal from 1895 to 1919.

During the nineteen thirties a gradual change in the philosophy of high school education resulted in broadening the curriculum.  Three types of diplomas were awarded:  the College Entrance Diploma, the Commercial Diploma, and the General Diploma.  The practice today, however, is to award one diploma to all Lane graduates.

In 1940 the present building at Preston Avenue and McIntire Road opened its doors to 931 students.  A high of 1046 was enrolled in 1957-58.
The current year of 1959-60, after last year’s unsettling events, finds our enrollment standing at 763.  Through all these ebbs and flows and vicissitudes our school annual, the CHAIN, has embodied the most consistent efforts to record and preserve the day to day history of Lane High School.  We trust you think this fiftieth anniversary edition takes a worthy place in this tradition.