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One of Dahlgren's pioneers, Rose Hancock, is out and about as she nears her 105th birthday
Rose Hancock at her high school graduation in Maryland. She moved to the Dahlgren area in 1925.
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By Ed Jones
ROSE HANCOCK remembers
The newlyweds moved to the isolated Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren in King George County. They ordered a Sears Roebuck house that was shipped to Fredericksburg, and then trucked to a spot just outside the base.
That was the spring of 1925. Calvin Coolidge was president, the dirt roads around Dahlgren were dusty in the summer and muddy in the spring, the berries and oysters were plentiful, the Hancocks made do without electricity or running water, and the only way to cross the Potomac from Dahlgren to Hancock's native Maryland was by ferry.
Eighty-five years later, Rose Hancock still lives in her Sears house, and still remembers that moment on July 13, 1924, when she was introduced to Budd. She'll be 105 in September.
Budd died in 1973, and Rose says "I miss him something terrible." But all in all, she says she's doing just fine, reading two newspapers a day, watching the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, keeping up with her National Geographics, taking a daily walk with her caregiver and receiving the guests who consider her one of the last of the generation that created the community that is now Dahlgren.
All six of Hancock's children attended Dahlgren School on the base--a nine-decade-old institution that will hold a major reunion on Saturday, May 1. (For details and to register, go to fredericksburg.com
But Rose also was instrumental in establishing in the 1950s King George County's Potomac Elementary School just outside the base, to serve off-base students who otherwise would have had to go all the way to King George Courthouse.
Hancock helped launch a rescue squad in Dahlgren and was instrumental in bringing electricity to the area outside the base.
Those are some of the many memories grateful Dahlgrenites have of Hancock, whose 100th birthday celebration at the base's Community House attracted more than 200 well-wishers from all over the country.
Undine McElroy, whose father, Earl Brown, began working at Dahlgren when it was first established in 1918, attended Dahlgren School during the 1930s, graduating from the ninth grade in 1941.
Some of Rose Hancock's children are expected to attend the Dahlgren School Reunion on Saturday, May 1. For details and to register, which is required for access to the base, go to fredericksburg.com/dahlgren.
Read about Mike Gould, superintendent of a school district that stretches 1,600 miles from New York to the Caribbean, with stops in between at Dahlgren and Quantico. Coming next Wednesday in Region.