Herndon Historical Society

Herndon Historical Society


Are you REALLY open on Sunday as today's Facebook post says?
Here's an old photo, ca. 1940 give or take a couple of years. The car belonged to Herndon Fire Chief Walter A. Farr. You can see the FD (Fire Department) emblem on the car grill, and sirens, extra lights. The license plate tag 'topper' has CAMP LEE. Chief Farr moved to Petersburg, VA ca. 1941 and worked as a machinist at CAMP LEE. I'm not sure whether this photo was taken at his residence on Spring St. in Herndon, or in Petersburg. His two daughters are pictured, Cathleen (second from the left) and Louise (second from the right). The other girls are unidentified.
Love this Old Town and appreciate all the work of the Herndon Historical Society❤️
Herndon High
Dr Charles Russell, Herndon physician
Herndon library "little helpers" 1931
Benjamin D Utterback obit from Oct 1899. Quite an interesting story of bravery at the end of the War Between the States. Mr Utterback prior to enlisting with J. Mosby was incarcerated as a citizen for conspiring with the enemy. When released he joined Mosby's Rangers.
Postcard. Still there?
Back of picture says Old Stone House, home of Olive Wrenn. Does anyone know where this home is?
Herndon, Va
Fairfax 1909

The official page for the Herndon Historical Society (HHS). The Herndon Historical Society was founded in 1971. Its purpose, as stated in the Society's constitution, is “…to bring together those people interested in history, and especially in the history of the Herndon, Virginia, area.” The Society established a museum in conjunction with the Town’s centennial celebration in 1976.

The museum, which is open from noon to 3PM on Sundays, is located in Herndon’s historic train depot adjacent to the WO&D trail in the heart of the downtown. The museum contains an array of materials and collectables that illustrate the life, conditions, events, and activities of Herndon and the surrounding area. If you would like to become a member of the HHS, please click here: http://www.herndonhistoricalsociety.org/images/MembershipForm_rev2.pdf.

The Society is involved in many activities beyond maintaining the museum. More details can be found in the Society's newsletters (www.herndonhistoricalsociety.org/newsletterminutesarchive.html), however some of those activities include: • THE DEPOT Although the Town of Herndon owns the depot, the Historical Society has from time to time expended funds to help maintain it. The most recent project was the restoration of the original railroad semaphore that is fixed on the depot roof. • HISTORIC HOMES REGISTRY The Society sponsors the historic home registry program designed to increase public awareness of Herndon’s older homes and buildings and their contribution to the Town’s distinctive character and spirit. Once an owner documents the history of the home and demonstrates that it satisfies certain criteria—such as the original structure being 50 or more years old and compatible with the character of Herndon, as well as being of historical or architectural significance to the Town—the application is approved and a request for a resolution is submitted to the Herndon Town Council. Once the resolution, which certifies the historic significance of the structure, is adopted, the structure is eligible to receive a plaque. All documentation becomes part of the Society’s research library, and a picture and brief history are placed on the Historical Society’s website. . Click here for more information about applying for the Registry. • THE CABOOSE In 1989, longtime Society member and railroad aficianado George Moore located a surplus Norfolk and Western caboose, arranged for it to be transported to Herndon, and coordinated with the Herndon Department of Public Works to install the section of track on which it sits. Located adjacent to the W&OD trail—formerly the W&OD railroad line—the caboose serves as a reminder of the town’s rail history. Although the caboose is now the property of the Town of Herndon the Society continues to monitor its condition and to fund the interior maintenance. Following his death in 2003, the caboose was dedicated in George’s memory. In 2008, the interior was restored and the windows were improved to make them water tight. • ANNUAL MODEL TRAIN SHOW Each December for the last few years the Historical Society, along with the Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts and the Herndon Chamber of Commerce, has sponsored an Annual Model Train Show. This event—which is held in ArtSpace, Herndon’s community art gallery—features both HO and N gauge model trains. • THE GAS HOUSE MINI PARK In 1999, the Historical Society funded restoration and improvements at the gas generating facility located across from Herndon’s Municipal Center. Improvements included a display that explains how the facility operated, along with landscaping for the mini-park that surrounds it. The park is dedicated in memory of former Society president Larry Clarity, and the benches it contains were donated in memory of another longtime member, Bill Moffett. • AND MORE ... The Society continues to engage in educational and preservation-oriented activities designed to ensure that the public remains interested in and aware of the history of the Herndon area. For example, Society members were actively involved in working with the Town to ensure that the historic “yellow house” was relocated from behind Adams Green Funeral Home to a new site at the corner of Oak and Pearl Streets and made available for sale when it was slated for demolition.


Part of the 1997 science fiction movie “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster, was filmed at 755 Grace Street, right here in Historic Herndon!! 👽 Scenes in which you can see the home include when the little girl is star-gazing from her home’s balcony, and during the post-funeral gathering (inside and outside the home). 🏠 Many Herndon residents remember watching this movie being made! (The exterior of the house has since been painted a new color.) 🎥

Herndon Historical Society


Enjoy a fascinating tour of Historic Herndon! 😍 The Herndon Historical Society's new Walking Tour brochure is now available!! The brochure highlights two self-guided tours that take you past buildings and homes that have received plaques from the Historical Society. 🏠 Many of the town's Historic Markers are highlighted, as well, further enhancing your tour.

Pick up a FREE brochure at the Herndon Florist 🌺 or Green Lizard Cycling 🚴‍♀️, both of which are directly across from the Herndon Depot (717 Lynn Street). Conveniently, the Depot is also where the tours begin. So head into town and get your history on today!


Enjoy a fascinating tour of Historic Herndon! 😍 The Herndon Historical Society's new Walking Tour brochure is now available!! The brochure highlights two self-guided tours that take you past buildings and homes that have received plaques from the Historical Society. 🏠 Many of the town's Historic Markers are highlighted, as well, further enhancing your tour.

Pick up a FREE brochure at the Herndon Florist 🌺 or Green Lizard Cycling 🚴‍♀️, both of which are directly across from the Herndon Depot (717 Lynn Street). Conveniently, the Depot is also where the tours begin. So head into town and get your history on today!


Remembering Herndon's History: Virginia Greear's Memories


patch.com Virginia Greear spent much of her life researching and sharing the history of Herndon.


Did you know that the Upholstery Shop on Elden Street was Herndon’s first movie theatre? 🤔 It was built c. 1921 and owned by Thomas Reed. Originally it was called Elden Hall but when it was sold to Henry Lego in the 1930s the name changed to The Herndon Theatre. Inside you can still see the old stage and where the balcony used to be. 😃 It stopped operating as the theatre sometime in the 1960s. The brick façade on the outside was later added onto this wood frame building. If anyone has any old photos of this building when it was a theatre, please contact us! 🎥

A cheerfully bright and colorful painting of Historic Herndon - "Lynn and Station Street" by Pam Coulter Blehert.


An historic Herndon landmark - "Lil' Caboose" by Catherine Hillis

Permission of Catherine Hillis, www.catherinehillis.com

Just a reminder to RSVP for the walking tour if you’d like to join us!! 🏘 We are limiting the number of participants so be sure to grab a spot while you can. We hope to see you there. Happy walking!! 🤗

Walk, don't run, to the Herndon Depot Museum on August 1 for a guided walking tour of Historic Herndon!! 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Space is limited so please pre-register by emailing the Herndon Historical Society: [email protected]. And please remember to "maintain your space and cover your face". 😷👍😊


Frederick Washington's Life In Segregated Herndon


patch.com Remembering Herndon's History: Frederick H. Washington talks about growing up in a segregated town.

Walk, don't run, to the Herndon Depot Museum on August 1 for a guided walking tour of Historic Herndon!! 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Space is limited so please pre-register by emailing the Herndon Historical Society: [email protected]. And please remember to "maintain your space and cover your face". 😷👍😊

We can never thank healthcare workers enough for all of the sacrifices that they are making now, and for everything that they’ve always done - in Herndon, in Virginia, in the US and all around the world.

We can only imagine the challenges that these three doctors overcame to pursue their callings to care for their fellow human beings. Thanks to them for paving the way for all who followed.

The three women pictured in this incredible photograph from 1885 -- Anandibai Joshi of India, Keiko Okami of Japan, and Sabat Islambouli of Syria -- each became the first licensed female doctors in their respective countries. The three were students at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania; one of the only places in the world at the time where women could study medicine.

As Mallika Rao writes in HuffPost, "If the timing doesn't seem quite right, that's understandable. In 1885, women in the U.S. still couldn't vote, nor were they encouraged to learn very much. Popular wisdom decreed that studying was a threat to motherhood." Given this, how did three women from around the world end up studying there to become doctors? The credit, according to Christopher Woolf of PRI's The World, goes to the Quakers who "believed in women’s rights enough to set up the WMCP way back in 1850 in Germantown.”

Woolf added, "It was the first women’s medical college in the world, and immediately began attracting foreign students unable to study medicine in their home countries. First they came from elsewhere in North America and Europe, and then from further afield. Women, like Joshi in India and Keiko Okami in Japan, heard about WMCP, and defied expectations of society and family to travel independently to America to apply, then figure out how to pay for their tuition and board... . Besides the international students, it also produced the nation’s first Native American woman doctor, Susan La Flesche, while African Americans were often students as well. Some of whom, like Eliza Grier, were former slaves."

To inspire your kids with more true stories of trailblazing women in medicine of past and present, visit our blog post, "Medical Heroes: Children's Books, Toys, And Clothing Celebrating Doctors and Nurses," at https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=29667

To introduce children to more pioneering female doctors, we highly recommend the picture books: "Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children" for ages 5 to 9 (https://www.amightygirl.com/dr-jo), "Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell” for ages 4 to 8 (https://www.amightygirl.com/who-says-women-can-t-be-doctors), and “The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath” for ages 5 to 9 (https://www.amightygirl.com/the-doctor-with-an-eye-for-eyes)

There is also an excellent book about 21 trailblazing women in medicine, “Bold Women of Medicine" for ages 12 and up at https://www.amightygirl.com/bold-women-of-medicine

For a fascinating book for adults about America's first Native American doctor, Susan La Flesche, we recommend "A Warrior of the People" at https://www.amightygirl.com/a-warrior-of-the-people

And, for more books to show kids that science is for everyone regardless of gender, check out our blog post, "Ignite Her Curiosity: Books to Inspire Science-Loving Mighty Girls," at https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=13914


Today in History - July 4

Wishing a safe Independence Day to you and yours!! 💥🇺🇸


loc.gov Independence Day

A Grand Old House!

Some of you may remember this grand old house that use to sit at the northwest corner of Elden Street and Herndon Parkway, now the current location of the Bank of America, Chipotle and Starbucks. It was part of a farm that stretched from Elden Street westward, all the way back to Rock Hill Road. A development company bought the land in the early 1950s and a former Herndon blacksmith, Henry Moffett, rented the farm from the developers for over 20 years. At different points in time various families rented the house. Redevelopment of the lot occurred sometime in the mid/late 1970s. We can see this house on historic aerial images as far back as they go, to 1937. We are not sure of the origins of this house but an 1860 Fairfax County tax map shows that a man named Martin Irish owned this land. Irish was a Quaker farmer who was born in New York c. 1812 and came to Herndon sometime between 1850 and 1857. An 1860 Federal Census Mortality record showed that he died a widow in 1859 at the age of 47 of dropsy (edema).


Remembering Herndon's History: Durbin Van Vleck's Subdivision


patch.com By Barbara Glakas

What’s This?

Found under a floor board of the recently demolished auto dealership building at 770 Elden Street was an Old Quaker whiskey bottle. The west wing of this building once housed Herndon’s first ABC store which opened in 1936. The markings on the base of this bottle indicate that the bottle is dated 1935. Was this a legal bottle of whisky that was stocked at the ABC store? Or was it a bootlegged bottle that someone hid under the floor?


This past week the old auto dealership building at 770 Elden Street was demolished in preparation for the downtown redevelopment project. The building dated back to at least 1929 when Robert and Ivy Horn, and their son Huntley Finch, started their auto repair business called Horn Motors. The Horns may have acquired the business from someone else before that, so we are not sure if the building goes back prior to 1929. In the 1930s, the Horns acquired a Chevrolet and Oldsmobile Agency. The Oldsmobile portion of their business continued until the Horns sold to Bob Ashwell in the mid-1950s. Ashwell later sold to the Paul Brothers, who sold Oldsmobiles and Subarus. It eventually became Stohlman Subaru and remained that until it closed a few years ago.

Herndon: Did You Know? ...

The Town seal was designed by town resident Tony DeBenedittis in 1976 in a competition organized by the Town to help celebrate the nation’s bicentennial? The four quadrants show Commander Herndon and his ship, the Herndon family crest, the Herndon train depot and Dulles Airport. Note the inscription says: “In Our Past Lies the Hope of Our Future.” The seal pictured is hanging in Herndon’s Town Hall.

The Historical Society has a speaker online this year since the Depot Museum is temporarily closed. See the link below if you would like to listen to an interesting talk!

In lieu of an in person HHS member meeting this evening, a YouTube presentation is available for your review. Please find details on the attached flier, and access the presentation here: https://youtu.be/60QSzI9ZG2s

In lieu of an in person HHS member meeting this evening, a YouTube presentation is available for your review. Please find details on the attached flier, and access the presentation here: https://youtu.be/60QSzI9ZG2s

Herndon: Did You Know?....
The old stone church at 718 Pine Street, that now houses HRI Associates, was the original St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, dedicated in 1926?

(Photos from the J. Berkley Green Collection of the Herndon Historical Society, and Barbara Glakas).


Remembering Herndon's History: The Herndon Fortnightly Club and Library Association

As promised yesterday ... 🤗❤️📚


patch.com The Founders of Fairfax County's First Lending Library


The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky

This bit of history is not local, but too fun not to share. What do you know about the rich history of our local Fortnightly Library? An article about that coming up next! Happy reading!! 🤗❤️📚


blueridgecountry.com During the Depression, they delivered books and other reading materials in remote rural areas, to people with no other access to the world of reading.


Here are two photos of Station Street (near Lynn Street) from 1927 and 2020. The Chamblin’s Pharmacy building burned in 1969 and was never replaced. The next two buildings are now the home to the Maude salon. The wooden A-frame building in the 1927 photo was replaced with what is now the Mediterranean Breeze building. Lastly is the old 1910 bank building, which was then the National Bank of Herndon. Various building signs in 1927 advertise Victrolas, Rexall products and Whitman’s chocolates. Posters advertise the annual Herndon Day event, fire work sales and movies. Note the hat in the middle of the road. What else do you notice?

Photo credits: National Archives and Barbara Glakas

The Herndon Historical Society misses seeing you, however the Depot Museum remains closed until further notice. We look forward to once again welcoming visitors as soon as it is deemed safe to re-open. Until then, happy history to you!

Vintage postcard c. 1957; Artist - Vara Perterson


Remembering Herndon's History: Historic Street Names


patch.com By Barbara Glakas


Shown here is a portion of the new working telegraph exhibit which includes antique telegraph equipment as well as a computer through which messages can be sent wirelessly. Also, outside the depot is a replica Western Union sign, such as the one that was once on the depot in the late 1800s.

Come see all the interesting artifacts that represent Herndon’s rich history at the old Depot Museum in the heart of Historic Herndon, open Sundays from 12:00 – 3:00. (NOTE - the Depot Museum is currently closed due to the Governor's COVID-19 Stay at Home Order.)

How well do you know Virginia's history? Take this quiz and find out ... good luck! ‍🤗



Herndon Historical Society

The Herndon Historical Society in accordance with Governor Northam’s executive order on March 30th, will not be opening the Depot Museum until after June 10th or when the executive order is rescinded by the Governor. The Historical Society will be looking for ways to interact with the community through Facebook to continue our mission of sharing Herndon history with the community.

Please stay healthy and look for interesting stories etc. on the Historical Society website, www.herndonhistoricalsociety.org or our page.

Herndon Historical Society Board of Directors

herndonhistoricalsociety.org Please look for future events on this website, www.herndonhistoricalsociety.org, or our page https://www.facebook.com/HerndonHistory/.


Remembering Herndon's History: Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary


patch.com The Ladies Auxiliary formed in April 1930 to support the Herndon Volunteer Fire Department.


These two photos are from c. 1953 and 2015. Located at the southeast corner of Sterling and Rock Hill Roads, the Oak Grove School was built in 1953 and was the last segregated school for African American students in Herndon. The school closed in 1964. In the early 1980s the Town of Herndon bought the building from Fairfax County and put a new façade on it, turning it into the Herndon Police Station. Now the building is home to Herndon’s Zoning Enforcement Office.

Image Credits – Herndon Historical Society and Barbara Glakas, respectively.


Wearing Pants: How Mary Edwards Walker Broke Gender Stereotypes During the Civil War and Beyond | Historic Heroines

In honor of Women’s History Month and National Medal of Honor Day, we invite you to read this article about the only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor!


historicheroines.org Mary Edwards Walker is the woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War,

The Civil War on the W&OD Trail - Herndon

Today is the 157th anniversary of Mosby’s Raid on Herndon Station. Watch the video below to learn more about this fascinating moment in Herndon's history.


This is the fifth segment of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority film "Region Divided: Civil War in the Northern Virginia Regional Parks," produced...


The Herndon Historical Society’s special presentation this Sunday, March 22nd, by Lynn Garvey-Hodge recreating the life of Amelia “Mimi” Walker, woman suffragist, has been postponed. The Historical Society will reschedule the event for another date in the future.

In order to support the recommendations made by State and Federal officials working to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Herndon Depot Museum will be closed on Sundays through the end of March, at which time the Historical Society's Board will look at recommendations to determine if the Depot can reopen.

Please look for future events on the website, Herndonhistoricalsociety.org, or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HerndonHistory/.

On behalf of the Board of the Herndon Historical Society, please stay safe and well.

Want your museum to be the top-listed Museum in Herndon?

Click here to claim your Sponsored Listing.



717 Lynn St
Herndon, VA

General information

The mailing address for the HHS is PO Box 99, Herndon, Virginia 20172-0099. However the physical street address of the Depot Museum is 717 Lynn Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170.
Other History Museums in Herndon (show all)
Herndon Depot Museum Herndon Depot Museum
717 Lynn St
Herndon, 20170