Herndon Depot is an important historic landmark in western Fairfax County. Originally constructed in 1857, it is a classic example of a railroad station. At one time, it was a popular commuter stop and a major shipping point for dairy products. Its use varied over time, including time spent as town offices and for local businesses. But by the 1960s, it had fallen into disrepair and was no longer suitable for such purposes.
It was the railroad that first made Herndon possible. In 1688, King Charles II of England granted Thomas Culpeper five million acres of land that became part of what is known as the Northern Neck. Herndon was originally located on a small portion of this tract of land. A mill was built along a stream near the intersection of Elden and Locust Streets in the early nineteenth century.
Today, the depot serves as the headquarters of the Herndon Depot Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving local history. The museum is open to the public on Sundays from noon to three PM. The Depot Museum contains a variety of exhibits and materials that will interest visitors. The museum is housed in the original train depot, which was built in the mid-1800s. It served as a railroad station in a dairy community until 1968.
A surplus Norfolk and Western caboose was purchased by the Herndon Historical Society in 1989. This caboose is located adjacent to the W&OD trail, which once ran along the railroad line. The depot is owned by the Town of Herndon and the Society monitors its condition and funds the necessary interior restoration. In 2003, the Caboose was dedicated in memory of George Moore. In 2008, it was renovated and the windows watertight.
The depot building is a one-story wooden vertical structure measuring 70.5 by 20.1 feet. The depot has two baggage doors, two original window framings, and several pieces of hardware. The site is also part of the Virginia Civil War Trails Program. The museum is open to the public to tour. Just make sure to bring a camera with you, as some of the displays are not wheelchair accessible. Once you've seen the Herndon Depot, you'll see why this historic landmark is so important in our community.
Herndon Depot was once the town's community center and a place for local farmers to get their dairy products to Washington, DC. However, in the 1960s, the Herndon line ceased to operate and was largely used by freight traffic. In 1970, the Herndon Historical Society was formed and began a campaign to save the depot. The town's Public Works Department used the building for office space.
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