Five Fairfax County residents long associated with local historical research and preservation efforts are the first recipients of a new award created by the Fairfax County History Commission.
The five, including two who received posthumous recognition, were honored with Distinguished Service Awards in a ceremony at the Board of Supervisors' meeting Monday.
The awards went to the late Winslow R. Hatch, Dorothea deWilde, the late Bayard D. Evans, Elizabeth Miles Cooke and Nan Netherton.
Hatch, a botanist, professor and historian who died in May, was honored in several areas of historical research. He was an authority on old roads in Fairfax County, including colonial trails dating back to 1639. He was an expert on the McLean area, where he discovered foundations and ruins of some of the earliest homes, including those of the Adams family of millers and other early settlers.
History commission member Ceres H. Gaskins, who nominated Hatch for the award, said the historian shared his research with students at all levels, lectured in schools and led activities such as walks through historic areas.
Hatch led McLean's bicentennial efforts in 1976, organizing people of all ages to work together on a history of the area.
Evans, founder and owner of Evans Farm Inn, died in a September automobile accident. He was the first chairman of the Fairfax County Landmarks Preservation Committee and the Fairfax County Landmarks Preservation Commission -- predecessors of the present History Commission.
Evans was instrumental in persuading the Fairfax Park Authority to purchase the decaying Colvin Run Mill on Leesburg Pike and restore it to working condition.
DeWilde, a librarian who retired recently, was honored for her work in the Virginia Room of the Fairfax Central Library, where she earned a reputation as a helpful expert on genealogy.
"Her performance far exceeds the normal requirements for a librarian," said commission member Milburn P. Sanders, who nominated deWilde. "She deserves the title, 'Virginiana Genie."'
Cooke, nominated by commission Chairman Donie Rieger, researched, wrote, illustrated and published "History of the Old Georgetown Pike," and has participated in many efforts to preserve landmarks in the county.
Cooke was a leader of the drive to save the 340-acre Burling Tract along the Potomac River from developers (it is now a county park) and to designate Georgetown Pike a Virginia Historic Byway.
Netherton is an author, editor and researcher whose published works include the official Fairfax County history, a 780-page volume published in 1978, and "Clifton: Brigadoon in Virginia," an illustrated chronicle of the tiny Victorian town in southern Fairfax. She and her husband Ross published the first countywide street map and directory of civic associations.
Netherton recently has spent hundreds of hours preparing a catalog of Fairfax's photographic archives.