Herndon Depot, also known currently as the Herndon Historical Society Museum, is a historical building in Fairfax County, Virginia, located in the town of Herndon. Originally built as a train depot for the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad, it would go on to serve several other railroad companies. On April 17th, 1979, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on June 18th, 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
In the mid-1800s, the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad was an integral part of the farming industry in the area, providing farmers with shipments for their goods. In order to expand the rail line’s use, the Herndon Depot was constructed in 1857 as an added stop for the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad. The addition of the depot helped the economy of Herndon skyrocket, giving farmers much easier access to convenient shipping of their farm products. As a result, Herndon began to thrive as a community. Because of Herndon Depot, the town continued to thrive and was legally incorporated in 1879, leading even more farmers in the area to flock to Herndon. The town quickly became a central hub for most of the farmers in the immediate area.
In addition to being a convenient rail station, Herndon Depot acted as a sort of community center, where people would assemble to socialize in town. As the years passed, the Herndon line was used less for commuters, attracting almost exclusively freight traffic as the automobile had begun to spread throughout the nation. In the 1960s, service to the line was finally shut down. In 1970, the Herndon Historical Society was created, and they began a restoration project for the depot. Restoration was completed in 1974, and following that, the depot building served as office space for the town’s Public Works Department. On April 17th, 1979, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on June 18th, 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.