Herndon Historical Society
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The official page for the Herndon Historical Society (HHS). 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
Seen here is the inside of McGuire’s store, c. 1930. At left is Benjamin F. McGuire. According to former resident Lottie Dyer Schneider, “The Andrew Hutchison store, later operated by Ben McGuire, was on the corner of Elden and Spring Streets […] 733 Elden Street.” Mr. McGuire operated his store in the 1920s and 1930s. He later sold his store to Raymond Printz in 1934. McGuire was a former Herndon town councilman, Herndon School Board member, and a Herndon Volunteer Fire Department officer. He died in 1937. Looking at historic aerial photographs, we can see that his former wood frame store building was taken down sometime in the mid/late 1950s. A brick building was built in its place and now houses the Copan Restaurant.
There is still time to come visit our Herndon history exhibit!
Attention Herndon history fans! The Herndon Historical Society’s second Herndon history exhibit runs from 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟒𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟏𝐬𝐭 at Arts Herndon, 750 Center Street. It is a photograph exhibit entitled “Sights and Sounds of Early Herndon.” These unique photos of Herndon life mostly range from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. This year’s photos, and photo themes, are different than last year’s. Please check Arts Herndon for specific hours since they vary by day.
We hope to see you there!
Seen here is the Herndon Observer newspaper office when it was located on Pine Street in 1984. The building is now used by Dellinger Wealth Management. The wooden Observer sign can now be seen in the Herndon Depot Museum.
Here is a snapshot of the south side of the 700 block of Elden Street in 1980. All of the buildings are still there (except for the gas station in the foreground), but they are all under different uses now. Check out the fancy street lights. And station wagons were still the rage! (Photo by Richard Downer)
The October 13th reception for the Herndon Historical Society’s photo exhibit, “Sights and Sounds of Early Herndon,” was a great success. Society President, Jim Cudlip, and Society Historian, Barbara Glakas, made brief remarks about the exhibit, and then the guests spent time having refreshments as they looked at the unique Herndon photographs and reading the photo captions, which told short stories of Herndon’s past. The exhibit will remain at Arts Herndon until October 31st. We invite you to go see this interesting exhibit. Arts Herndon is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Many thanks to Arts Herndon and the Great Harvest Bread Co. - Ashburn, Herndon, & Vienna for their support!
Seen here are some views of Herndon’s downtown area, on the west side of Station Street, and the area that is now Herndon’s town green. The photos range from 1984 to 1992. In the photos you can see how cars were collected behind what is now The Closet thrift shop and the Griffin Owens Insurance company. Also seen is the historic gas house that is now on Lynn Street by our current municipal center. You can also see the old concrete factory. This messy area was redevloped in the mid-1990s and was turned into our beuatiful Herndon Municipal building, the Fortnightly Library, and the Town Green that we see today.
Did you ever wonder how the Pines (shopping) Center got its name? The little shopping center was built at the corner of Elden and Monroe Streets in the 1960s. But prior to the shopping center being there the lot was filled with loblolly pine trees. Also on the lot was an old home that belonged the Barker family. Eventually little cottages were built onto each side of the house and were used as low cost rental properties. It was referred to as The Pines. The house and cottages were torn down c. 1963-64, and the shopping center was built in c. 1965.
Herndon High School was the first school in Fairfax County to have a school lunch program. Seen here are some students in the lunch line in 1942.
Don’t miss the best parade in Fairfax County! This Saturday, October 14, is the Herndon Homecoming Parade! The parade will begin at 9:30 AM at the intersection of Elden and Locust Streets, head eastward on Elden Street, and end on Lynn Street. Afterwards, stop on by the Herndon Depot Museum to buy some of the Herndon Historical Society’s beautiful holidays ornaments! The Herndon High School homecoming football game will follow at 1:00 PM.
The Friends of the Virginia Room will hold their annual meeting in the library on Sunday October 22nd at 2pm. Dr. Felicia Bell of the Smithsonian will be the guest speaker!
Happy Indigenous People’s Day! Thousands of years ago Indigenous people were located in Herndon where they would hunt and forage. Water was also plentiful in Herndon, with Sugarland Run. These Paleo-Indians were the earliest inhabitants of our area. Found artifacts in Herndon date as early as 8,000 B.C. They made and used stone tools, such as arrowheads (projectile points) that were used on arrows and spears for hunting game. Many stone points were found in the 1970s on the Herndon Centennial Golf Course property, the Clearview Elementary School property, and in Runnymede Park, the town’s 58-natural park on the east side of the Herndon Parkway. Shown in the photo are projectile points found in Herndon, that are now on display in the Herndon Depot museum.
Happy 100th Birthday to Mrs. Marcia Stirewalt! For many years, Mrs. Stirewalt, her husband Ed, and their three children, lived in on Monroe Street in Herndon, beginning in the 1950s. Mrs. Stirewalt was a teacher at Herndon High School and her husband was known as the father of the Herndon Parkway. Mrs. Stirewalt now lives in Harrisonburg, VA, and recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Congratulations! (Photo courtesy Doris Rosenberg).
Boo! Who doesn't love a good ghost story?
Remembering Herndon's History: The Ghost In Brush Strokes' Salon Historian Barbara Glakas puts on her Ghostbusters gear to investigate October's Remembering Herndon's Haunted History column.
Attention Herndon history fans! The Herndon Historical Society’s second Herndon history exhibit will open on October 4th at Arts Herndon, 750 Center Street. It is a photograph exhibit entitled “Sights and Sounds of Early Herndon.” These unique photos of Herndon life mostly range from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. This year’s photos, and photo themes, are different than last year’s. The exhibit will be open from October 4 to October 31. Please check Arts Herndon for specific hours since they vary by day.
The free exhibit reception will take place on October 13 at 6:30 PM. There will be light refreshments and brief remarks from the exhibit curator.
We hope to see you there!
Did You Know?... That a reunion of Col. John Singleton Mosby’s Rangers occurred in Herndon in September of 1910? It occurred on Joseph J. Darlington’s property, then known as “Darlington’s Grove,” now known as the Darlington Oaks neighborhood, near the intersection of Van Buren and Monroe Streets.
Surprisingly, Mosby (1833-1916) himself did not attend this particular reunion. In a newspaper interview he said, “there were too many frauds.” He explained that between 100 and 200 men claimed to be his men, but he doubted if there were even 100 remaining. He continued, “Every time they have a reunion there are some 100 or more who register as Mosby’s men, and they are looked on as heroes. I bet a lot of them have been born since the war began. If I had had as many men as they now say there were with me, I could have driven Grant out of Virginia.”
According to the Encyclopedia of Virginia, Mosby “attended only one reunion of his Rangers, in Alexandria, Virginia, in January 1895, preferring to look forward not back.” However, he did attend the reunion in Manassas in 1914. He is seen in this Manassas reunion photo, at 81 years old, second from the right. Sitting next to him, second from the left, is Lycurgus E. Hutchison (1835-1924), a Herndon resident and fellow Ranger who lived on Dranesville Road.
This c. late 1920s photo shows some prominent Herndon men on the back of a train. They include: Edgar E. Gillette (builder), unknown W&OD official, K. Utterback (farmer), Arthur Buell (realtor), Dr. Ernest Robey (pharmacist and bank president), and an unknown porter. Gillette and Robey were also Herndon mayors at different points in time. (Berkley Green Photo Collection of the Herndon Historical Society).
We noticed in a recent post about the c. 1908 post card, that some of our Facebook followers commented on previous owners of the house at 825 Elden Street. We thought you might like this post which includes two “before and after” photos of that house and two of its owners. The older photo shows dentist Dr. Benjamin Detwiler and wife sitting on their front porch, c. 1895. You can see the “Dentist” sign on one of the poles of the porch. The more modern photo shows Richard and Judy Downer in 1987, sitting on the front porch of the same house, reproducing the same poses in the earlier photo. Maybe we need to get an updated photo with the current owners? Send it to us!
UPDATE as of Saturday 9/23: Unfortunately, due to weather conditions they have decided to cancel Nature fest this year. We’ll try again next year!!
Come join us at the NatureFest this Sunday, September 24, from 1:00 to 5:00 at Runnymede Park in Herndon! It’s a great event for kids and their families, with many hands-on activities. The Herndon Historical Society will be there too, with displays and artifacts about Runnymede’s historic saw mill, stone cabin, Native Americans and general history about the town of Herndon. We hope to see you there!
It’s September and we wish all the students a happy fall as they return to school! Seen here is a class photo from 1932, when Herndon High School was located on Locust Street. At the far right is the principal, Mr. Rice, who was at the school from 1932 to 1945.
The fall air is here, and so is our new 2023 ornament! This year’s beautiful ornament is of Herndon’s Town Hall. We’ll be selling them for $22 at the Herndon WinterMarkt on December 9th, but if you want to get yours early, come on by the Herndon Depot Museum (open on Sundays from 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM). We will also be selling our ornaments from the last two years which depict the Herndon Caboose and the Herndon Depot. They make great holiday gifts!
This early 1900s photo shows the hubbub of activity around the Herndon depot. Seen here are people crowded all around the depot, passengers hanging out of windows, freight or luggage crates all around, and the back of the uniformed train conductor in the foreground. In the center of the photo is the very dapper Mr. John Israel Fulton (1846-1920). In this photo he was reportedly on his way to a camp meeting in Purcellville. He lived on Elden Street and at different times was a carpenter or a store clerk. He was also the father-in-law of Charles S. Cooper, a long-serving Herndon Station Master.
Seen here is an old post card of Herndon, with a postal stamp date of 1908. The photo itself may be even older. The view is looking east on Elden Street. The big house in the center of the photo is 825 Elden Street, which was built in the 1890s and belonged to a town dentist, Benjamin Detwiler. Across the street from the house you see the original Saint Timothy's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Elden and Grace Streets.
A little token can tell a big story. Shown here is a Douglas Ford, Inc. token, recently obtained by The Herndon Historical Society. Ford automobile sales and repair companies go back to about 1920 in Herndon when William I. Harrison and his son, Bentley, ran the Harrison Garage on Station Street. The Harrison Garage (shown) was in the building that now houses The Closet of the Greater Herndon Area thrift shop. Bentley Harrison later sold his Ford business to Grayson Douglas. However, Harrison retained the tractor aspect of his business on Station Street. Douglas ran his new Ford business at the corner of Elden and Van Buren Streets (the current location of the Elden Street Service Center). The heraldic design on the token was a classic Ford emblem, used in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1961 Douglas sold his Ford business to Mike Valltos, who re-named the business the Herndon Motor Co. In 1979, Valltos moved his Ford company to Sterling at Herndon Junction (on Rt. 7 near the intersection of Dranesville Road). In 1985 Valltos sold to Dick Gillis. And in 1986 it was sold to Koons Ford. The business on Rt. 7 is still Koons Sterling Ford today. A senior Koons employee informed us that the company is still called “Herndon Motor Co.” on their business license. It’s nice to know that Koons Ford harkens back to the earliest Ford businesses in Herndon that sold and serviced Ford automobiles, including the Model T!
We found this photo on the Northern Virginia History page (posted by Lew Christian). It shows a group of people standing in front of the First Baptist Church of Herndon, which was built in 1900 and still stands at the southeast corner of Elden and Monroe Streets. They may have been standing in a yard across the street from the church, which would be where Anita's New Mexican Food Herndon Restaurant and the American Carpet store now stand. Does anyone know who the people are in the photo or what year the photo was taken?
Shown here is an early photo of Joseph J. Darlington (1849-1920). He was a prominent Washington lawyer, who bought a large summer home in Herndon in 1893 and slowly accumulated additional acreage, forming what is commonly referred to as the Darlington estate. The home used to sit in the vicinity of where the Walgreens and 7-11 stores are now, near Elden and Van Buren Streets. Darlington’s family spent the summers in Herndon. He employed many locals who ran his estate. He hosted an annual Labor Day party at his estate and invited the whole town. He also hosted many socials for D.C. dignitaries. He donated the lot where Herndon's First Baptist Church was built in 1900. Herndon’s Darlington Oaks neighborhood is located on part of his former property and was named after him. He was well-respected and in 1923 a memorial was erected in his honor at Judiciary Park, at 5th Street and D Street, in Northwest, D.C.. The inscription on the base says: “This monument has been erected by his friends with the sanction of Congress in memory of Joseph James Darlington, 1849–1920, counselor teacher lover of mankind.” His Washington home was a row house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. At a later point in time his former row house was turned into a well-known restaurant called the Childe Harold. Even later it was converted into a restaurant/bar called – appropriately - The Darlington House.
Happy Labor Day! The U.S. Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, to be celebrated on the first Monday of September. The purpose of the holiday was to recognize the achievements of American workers and their many contributions to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. Herndon had many workers dating back to the 1800s, including railroad workers, farmers, blacksmiths, store keepers and more!
Check out this month's Herndon history article about Dr. William Meyer!
Seen here, in 1973 and 1989, is an interesting building that used to be located at the southeast corner of Grant and Grove Streets. The building was constructed sometime between 1937 and 1949. A long-time Herndon resident recalls that Lawrence and Louise Surato and their three children used to live there as early as 1940, if not before. He was a dairy farm worker who later worked as a maintenance man for the Town of Herndon. In the 1970s, Judy Downer bought the building and ran a business there called Log Cabin Ceramics, where people would go to paint and fire pottery. The building was taken down in the late 1980s. A new brick retail/office condo building was built on the lot, and Grove Street was eventually extended eastward.
Seen here is an aerial view of part of Herndon, dated c. 1920 -1927. In the foreground is the intersection of Vine and Grace Streets. The photo was likely taken from atop the water tower that used to be located near the intersection of Vine and Center Streets. On the far left you can see the old St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church (now the Herndon Masonic Lodge ) at the intersection of Grace and Elden Streets. In the background at center, you can see the square brick Herndon High School on Locust Street, which burned in 1927. (Photo from the J. Berkley Green Collection of the Herndon Historical Society).
Virginia was in the Confederacy during the Civil War, so it is not surprising that many Herndon residents fought for the South. Seen here in uniform is Eppa Hunton, a lawyer from Warrenton. He became a Confederate officer who formed a unit called the 8th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry, made up of companies from Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County. Some Herndon residents who served in the 8th Virginia included William I. Robey, Henry F. Bicksler, Conrad R. Bitzer, Joshua M. Hutchison and Samuel Underwood, to name a few. But there were also those in Herndon who either fought with, worked for, or spied for, the Union. Some of those included Nathaniel Hanna, John H. Kitchen and Isaiah Bready (shown). After the war, Hunton became a U.S. Congressman and later a U.S. Senator from Virginia. Hanna left Virginia and went to Texas; Kitchen died in the war; and Bready became Herndon’s first Mayor.
Back in the early 1950s, Welton T. Updike started constructing a small housing development along Jonquil Lane that he called Herndon Estates. The aerial photo shows Jonquil Lane in 1960. The homes were small affordable boxy cottage homes, as Updike thought it was important for people to be able to own their own home. By the 1980s developers were already starting to look into purchasing the Jonquil Lane land for redevelopment. You can see in the 1988 Herndon Observer photo how the 1986 Atrium building, located across Elden Street from Jonquil Lane, dwarfs one of the old Herndon Estates homes. Some commercial redevelopment started in the 1980s along Elden Street by the entrance of Jonquil Lane. By the mid-2000s all of Updike’s little homes along Jonquil Lane were gone and replaced by high-end townhomes, a development called The Village at Herndon Mills.
Seen here is a passenger train pulled up next to the Herndon depot in c. 1940s. In the center is conductor John Kelly. You can also see a baggage cart being used. The old platform by the freight room door (on the west end of the depot) can be seen as well. (Photo courtesy Paul McCray).
We were sad to learn that our friend, Arthur Nachman, recently passed away. Arthur’s family has lived in Herndon for three generations. His grandparents (Julius and Anna) bought a historic building at 718 Lynn Street in 1919, which would become the Nachman’s clothing store. The grandparents lived upstairs for many years. The business was later taken over by Arthur’s father (Philip “Melvin”), and later by Arthur and his brother, Howard. The Nachman family still owns the building, which now houses the Green Lizard Cycling, LLC Shop on the first floor. See this interview that Arthur recorded about eight years ago, where he recounts the history of his family and Herndon life in the mid-20th century.
(Photo of Arthur and Howard in their store, 1993).
Here is another oldie but goodie photo of Station Street. We date this photo to c. 1934. At left is the old Chamblin’s Pharmacy which, shortly thereafter, became The Herndon Pharmacy, owned by the Sasher family. That building burned down and no longer exists; it was later replaced by the west end of Lynn Street. Next are two buildings that were, at different times, owned by William Taylor, the town’s jeweler. In this photo the bottom of one building is occupied by a lunch room. The bottom of these buildings are now occupied by Maude Hair Salon, with other businesses up above. Next you see a short building that says “Sanitary” on it. The Sanitary Store was the precursor to the Safeway store. The tall building to the right of that is the National Bank of Herndon, built in 1910. On the far right you can see the corner of a building that used to sit at the corner of Station and Lynn Streets. That was Dudding’s Hardware store. That building later burned down and the space is now a small parking lot. (Photo by John W. Shetter, courtesy Randy Creel).
Check out this month's Herndon history article about our town's first library!
The Herndon Depot officially closed as a railroad facility in 1968. Afterwards, it was used by various town departments for a while. Eventually, the Herndon Historical Society got permission to use it as a museum. The Herndon Depot Museum opened in 1981.
Seen in the photo is a 1980 concept sketch of the set-up of the depot interior – soon to be a museum - drawn by Tony DeBenedittis, artist and former President of the HHS, based on guidance from Mr. and Mrs. Richard Peck, who were also early Historical Society members. Much of what is drawn in the sketch is still the same today, with a few exceptions. Room A is now the Next Stop Theatre office. Room B remains the Station Master’s Office. Room C (which looks to be a “G” in the drawing) is still the Commander Herndon Room, also known as the Waiting Room. And Room D is the Freight Room (the room where the Society holds their meetings). Room E is not really a separate room, but is a bay window area that is part of Room B, and has an updated telegraph display there.
The Depot Museum is open Sundays from 12noon to 3pm. Come visit and see us!
This postcard is postmarked 1912. It shows the office of Dr. Edwin Detwiler, which used to be located at 711 Pine Street, and is now the building which now houses the Brush Strokes Salon. The postcard was published by William W. Taylor, who formerly owned a jewelry store on Station Street. Although we are not able to identify the writer of the postcard, we were happy to read how the writer was “busy shopping” and referred to his/her “sweet life in Herndon.”
Seen here is Bowman’s store in 1998, which used to be located on Centreville Road in the Floris area. It was constructed in c. 1892-93 by members of the Walker family. On the lower level was a store and on the upper level was a residence. The general store was operated by various proprietors over the years, including Misters (Clarence) Walker, Orrison, Kirk, Armfield and Bowman. For a while the Floris post office operated out of the store. Bowman expanded it to include general merchandise such as new and used furniture. By the 1940s he was operating Bowman’s Furniture Store. Curtis Holdaway operated a new and used future business there from 1990 to 2008. In 2008 the building was demolished to make way for the widening of Centreville Road. (Photo Courtesy Bill Ayre).
Ever wonder where Runnymede Park got its name? In 1979 the Town of Herndon started participating in the international Sister Cities program. The mission of the Sister Cities program is to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation—one individual, one community at a time.” Runnymede, England was the Town’s sister city. In the late 1980s the Town purchased the parkland on the east side of Herndon. The park was named Runnymede Park after our sister city.
A couple of interesting things about Runnymede, England… it was the location of the signing of the Magna Carta. Also, one acre of US land is located in Runnymede, England. It was symbolically gifted to the US in 1965 by Queen Elizabeth II, in perpetuity, for a memorial in honor of President John F. Kennedy. See this 2-minute video to learn more about it.
Friends of Runnymede Park
Do you recognize this big blob of cement, rebar and dirt? It’s the Herndon Municipal Center being built in April of 1994. The photo was likely taken from on top of the town’s caboose, looking northward. In the background you can see the Herndon Moose Lodge #2274 (the old Burger Hall) at right, and the Park Avenue Apartments at left. (Photo by Richard Downer)
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