- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

The town of Herndon in western Fairfax County, within minutes of Washington Dulles International Airport and 23 miles from the District, offers a complex blend of small-town charm and contemporary development.

The third largest town in Virginia, with 22,000 residents, according to the Herndon town government Web site (www.town.herndon.va.us), Herndon includes an array of recreational amenities, a variety of housing styles in nearly every price range, restaurants, retail developments and commercial centers.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Herndon was rural and agricultural, according to the town Web site. In the early 19th century, a mill was built near present-day Locust and Elden streets, leading to future development as the number of farmers in the region increased.

In 1857, a railroad depot was built when the settlement near the mill was chosen to be part of route of the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, according to the town Web site. By the time the railroad was completed in 1859, stores and a livery stable were in place to serve the additional settlers in the area.

The settlement was officially named Herndon in 1858, in commemoration of naval hero Capt. William Lewis Herndon, the skipper of a ship that sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Capt. Herndon, who was born in Fredericksburg, gained national recognition for his role in saving the lives of many of the passengers on the ship. He went down with this ship, the Central America, in 1857 and was honored with a monument at the U.S. Naval Academy in addition to having the town named after him, according to the town Web site.

The Civil War began shortly after the establishment of Herndon, with the Union Army seizing the railroad between Herndon and Vienna. According to the town history, the presence of nearby Union forces helped spare the town the destruction experienced by so many Northern Virginia towns.

After the war, the town continued to develop as Northern soldiers and farmers relocated to take advantage of lower land prices and a more moderate climate, according to the town Web site.

Between the Civil War and 1900, the first school was established, several churches were built and the Fortnightly Club, a literary association, began meeting. Eventually this group would establish the town library.

The town history reports that by 1911, milk shippers, land agents, a hotel, a newspaper office, guesthouses, a bank and general stores were all part of Herndon.

Later changes in Herndon include the electrification of the railroad, with electric trolleys eventually becoming part of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, which discontinued its service in 1968, the town Web site says.

The path of this railroad system now serves as a popular regional walking and biking path known as the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park.

In addition to its portion of the W&OD; Trail, Herndon has nine parks with picnic facilities, softball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields and playground equipment.

The Herndon Community Center, built in 1979, serves 75,000 customers who purchase daily, multiple-use and annual passes, the town’s Web site says.

The center, which includes a swimming pool, multipurpose rooms, game rooms and classrooms, is being expanded.

The daily fee Herndon Centennial Golf Course, rated three stars by Golf Digest Magazine, the town’s Web site reports, includes 18 holes of golf, a driving range, a practice facility and a clubhouse with a pro shop.

Herndon draws crowds from all around the Washington area for several annual events, including the Friday Night Live free concerts on the Town Green in the summer months, the Herndon Festival in June, weekly farmers markets from May to October, and the Labor Day Jazz and Wine Festival.

More than 75 restaurants are located in Herndon, representing a wide range of ethnic cuisines.

The Herndon Depot Museum, operated by the Historical Society of Herndon, includes artifacts from local history and is a landmark in the Old Town Herndon area.

In 1995, another landmark was completed in the community, the Herndon Municipal Center. This complex includes the Herndon branch of the Fairfax County library, meeting facilities and a government office, plus the Town Green, where concerts and other events are held throughout the year.

The Reston-Herndon commercial market, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (www.FairfaxCountyEDA.org), is home to more than 1,000 technology companies with more than 33,500 employees.

The Northern Virginia regional office of the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a nonprofit organization seeking to increase the research and development capacity of Virginia’s major universities, is in Herndon.

Several large companies have chosen to establish their regional headquarters in Herndon, including EDS, Equant, Fannie Mae, Network Solutions and Scitor Corp.

Housing in the Herndon area includes resale town homes, condominiums and single-family homes from the historic to new homes. Two new developments include Fortnightly Square in Old Town Herndon and Coppermine Crossing off Centreville Road near the Dulles Toll Road.

At Fortnightly Square, two-bedroom condominiums are available at the Fortnightly Square condominium, priced from the $400,000s. Call 703/435-4848.

Carrhomes Inc. is building town homes at Fortnightly Square, priced from the $600,000s, with a two-car garage. Call 703/689-3719.

This community is located within walking distance of the library, shops, restaurants and the W&OD; Trail.

At Coppermine Crossing, K. Hovnanian Cos. is building three-level, town-home-style condominiums with garages, priced from the $500,000s. Call 703/793-9333.

Pulte Homes Inc. is also building garage town homes in this community, priced from the $500,000s. Call 571/643-0521.

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