The Rebirth of Historic Herndon

Posted by Mark Washburn on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 at 6:34pm.

WO&D train - herndon vaPhoto: trsdos

Originally established in the mid 1800s, the town of Herndon is seeing a rebirth of sorts. Town leaders recently transferred five-acres of land as part of a redevelopment plan for the historic downtown district.

The idea is for a public/private partnership aimed at turning some of downtown into a new mixed-use community. The project involves hundreds of new apartments, thousands of square feet of retail space and restaurants, an arts center, a series of public plazas and a multi-level parking garage.

The planned development sits about 1.5-miles from the Silver Line’s Herndon stop. For the town itself, the project brings something new to a place that’s often celebrated for its history as much as its future.

The town of Herndon currently has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The old train depot in Downtown Herndon now serves as a visitor’s center and museum.  

A preserved red caboose marks the town’s rich heritage too, tied to the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. The old railroad line is now called the W&OD Trail and is used for outdoor recreation.

There are other nearby museums too, including the Udvar-Hazy Center. With ties to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, it boasts thousands of space and aviation-themed artifacts.

The town is additionally home to galleries, art centers, golf courses and biking and hiking trails. As well, you’ll find water parks, traditional parks and the town is known to host music festivals and some free summer concerts.

Home to around 24,000 residents today, Herndon traces its roots back to a Naval Commander, explorer and author. These days, the town is still forward-thinking.

It’s part of the Dulles Technology Corridor, which includes a number of defense and technology centers. Because Herndon sits on the outskirts of DC, the town offers a small-town feel, yet also close proximity to the capital.

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