The following descriptions are based on the original Historic Homes Registry applications and there may have been changes in ownership since then. Please contact the Society at HerndonHistoricalSociety@gmail.com with any updates.
Plaque #1 - Herndon Depot - 1857 717 Lynn Street
The Herndon Depot was constructed in 1857 as a stop on the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire railroad. In 1858 the town received a post office named for Captain William Lewis Herndon, a Virginia-born sea captain who had heroically gone down with his ship after directing passengers and crew into lifeboats.
The town was legally incorporated in 1879, keeping the name Herndon, and the first town council meetings were held at the depot. Although the official population was low, area farmers made Herndon their market center, with notable success.
The greatly increased efficiency of railroad transportation enabled area farmers to ship their goods to market more quickly and to plow the resulting profits back into their land. The routing of the railway line through the rural Herndon area resulted in the establishment of a thriving small community. In 1907, the Industrial and Historical Sketch of Fairfax County noted that “no point on either the main line or Bluemont branch of the Southern Railway ships more milk than Herndon.”
Lottie Dyer Schneider, born the year Herndon was incorporated, recalled that shipping milk to Washington was the main industry in Herndon during the later nineteenth century. She recalled hearing the daily noisy banging of milk cans, as they were loaded and unloaded from the big platform across the road from the depot, as hundreds of gallons of milk were shipped on express cars. She also remembered how “colored” citizens would frequently gather on the platform and play banjoes and sing into the twilight hours.
In 1912 the steam powered railroad was converted to the electric Washington and Old Dominion Railway line, bringing an increased number of Washington commuters to live in Herndon. Later, improved roads drew the passengers to the automobile and, in its later years, the station was used more as a freight depot than as a passenger terminal. Service was discontinued during the 1960’s.
In 1970 the Herndon Historical Society was organized and, in conjunction with the town, began the restoration of the depot. Memorabilia of Captain Herndon were collected and housed in the depot. In 1974 restoration was completed and the building was used as the office for the town’s Public Works Department. The brick town square around the depot was refurbished and was the setting for summer concerts.
The depot building is a rectangular, one-story wooden vertical board and batten structure, measuring approximately 70’ X 20’. It is basically in its original form, with the exception of 20 feet of the west end being removed to allow for construction of a road. Victorian style buttresses under the eaves are the building’s only decorative feature. The window and door framings are original, as are the semaphore and several pieces of hardware. The two baggage doors are original and, although currently blocked from within, they can be put into working order.
Currently, the depot is the home of the Herndon Visitor’s Center and the Herndon Historical Society. Care has been taken to maintain the arrangements of the three rooms in the old railroad station. The ticket master’s room divided the waiting room for “whites” from the waiting room for “coloreds.” All of this area has the original flooring, ceiling and walls.
The Herndon Depot has become the emblem of the town, with photos and sketches of it prominent on the town seal and publications.
In the mid 1860’s, Robert and Matilda Matthews sold 401 acres of land to Ancel St. John and J.H. Thompson, which included the land where the house on 725 Center St. now sits. St. John and Thompson then divided the land. St. John then gave a half acre to the school in 1869. The deed for the land, signed by St. John and the school trustees, but interestingly not signed until after the school was built in 1868, was rather explicit in its purpose: The land was “…for the maintenance, support and perpetuity of a Public School for the diffusion of knowledge among the children of men.” Herndon displayed a clear intention of making its school public and non-denominational, with the deed stating that the premises was to be used for “a Public School for the diffusion of knowledge among the progeny of men regardless of any particular religious faith.”
The structure at 725 Center Street was built in two sections. The rear section with its axis east-west was built in 1868 and the front section, perpendicular to the rear section, was probably built in 1876. The evidence for the house being built in two sections is based heavily on the structural features of the building – such as the thickness of door jams at the joining of the two sections (thick enough to be an outside wall), the placement of load-bearing walls, the manner in which the roof is constructed and joined, and the joining of the joists in the attic.
It appears that most of the structural framework was done by August 1868 and fully competed by December of 1868. In November of 1868 the school committee was buying books and school supplies. A meeting of the Herndon School Association was held in the school house in December of 1868, but there is no record in their minutes of when the students started actually attending the school.
In 1875, Herndon and FairfaxCounty agreed that the school would become part of the DranesvilleDistrictSchool system and the School Association agreed to transfer their interest in the school lot to the district trustee.
In about 1910 or 1911, FairfaxCounty decided that the school on Center Street was inadequate for the future needs of the Town. It bought several acres of land on Locust Street and began building a new school. Since then, 725 Center Street has had several owners. FairfaxCounty auctioned off the land which was purchased by Russell Lynn. Mr. Lynn never lived in the house since he already was living in 809 Elden Street. Mr. Lynn was Mayor from 1937-1945. Subsequent owners included the Chamblins (who converted the school into a residence as a wedding gift for his daughter), the Moreheads, the Norths, the Breckenridges, Walter Bishop (who from 1972-1983 was Herndon’s second Chief of Police), Donald LeVine, and the current owner.
When Mr. Chamblin converted the house to a residence, he somehow lifted the house and rolled it forward, closer to Center Street. There are strong indications that he dug a cellar. He torn down the single school chimney and built three new ones as well as a fireplace. He built the front porch (although the Breckenridges later replaced the wooden stairs with brick ones). The house had a wooden shingle roof, later changed to asphalt shingles in the 1940’s. Someone removed the school house bell tower, probably Chamblin, but this is unknown.
The Breckenridges installed radiators and converted the house from oil space heaters to gas furnace in about 1947, the first Herndon house to be connected to gas. The Bishops sided the house, which changed the exterior but helped save the deteriorating walls. It is unknown when the garage was built. The school used water from a well that is now under a mound in the side yard. Until the Town provided sewage, the house used a septic field which lies directly underneath the garden in the rear of the Smith’s house on an adjacent lot.
The land on which 807 Monroe Street now sits was originally owned by Lyman and Hannah Ballou. The Ballous sold approximately one acre of land to Mary and Myron Brinkerhoff in 1887. Fairfax County land records show that the Brinkerhoffs started paying taxes on the land and on a building on that lot in 1888.
The architecture of the home is Victorian style, a prominent style in the 1880’s and 1890’s.The house has a stone foundation and wooden shiplap siding with wainscoting. The gracefully curved front porch includes Doric columns. The stamped tin shingle silver roof has countless facets.
The house’s wood frame is known as balloon – a superior variation of the usual stick type. The studs are continuous members, a full double story running from the sill plate to the rafters. The floor joists are also continuous, some of which are 24 feet in length. Simple but elegant detailing is shown in the windows, door trims and moldings. The house has a stately bay window as well as a transom window over its front door.
The interior of the house has natural pine floors with two staircases to the second floor. The nine foot ceilings and seven foot windows impart a quality of spaciousness and luxury.
Previous owners include the Brinkerhoff’s, the Bready’s, the Thayer’s, the Cox’s, the Youngblood’s, and the Caden’s.
Since 1887 the site consisted of approximately one acre of land, until 1946 when then owner, Margie Cox, sold approximately ½ acre to C.C. and Nina Lowe. The house currently rests on approximately ½ acre of land. Herndon was incorporated in 1879 and the house at 807 Monroe Street was built in 1888, making it one of the many visible links to the historical origins of the town.
Since 1866, Mr. Harlon Phillips Waite, a New York native and a veteran of the Civil War, lived in Catlett, Virginia (FauquierCounty) with his wife, Elizabeth Ann Laws. They had no children but took as foster child Cora Laws, whose mother had died of typhoid fever.
Cora lived with the Waite’s until she married Magnus T. Wilkins in 1897 and moved to Herndon, where Mr. Wilkins began operating a general store at the corner of Spring and Elden Streets. Mr. Waite purchased a lot of land in Herndon in 1904 from Mr. Thomas Reed. The Wilkins built the house – which is now 637 Oak Street -- as a family residence in 1904. Mr. Waite, both a skilled carpenter and cabinet maker, designed the house similar to his own farm house in Catlett. He took trains from Catlett to Herndon through the spring and summer of 1904 while construction was being done. He built the house along with Charles Reed and other local help. The Waites eventually sold their Catlett home and came to live with the Wilkins until their deaths in 1915 and 1919.
Originally, the downstairs consisted of a kitchen, dining room, parlor and bedroom. A second bedroom was added in about 1910 when the Waites came to live with the Wilkins. One especially unique feature that Mr. Waite incorporated into the design of the home was the “U” shaped front staircase. The main or front entrance of the house faced Florence Street. The family, however, customarily used a side entry off of an open porch along the Oak Street side.
Previous owners of the home include the Wilkins, the Ridgeways, the Archers, the Steverwalds, the Kennis’s, and the Liddles.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ridgeway purchased the house in 1943 and began extensive remodeling at the end of WWII, in approximately 1946. Architect Carrol Curtis did the design and Herndon resident William Dawson did the carpentry work.
In the remodeling, the existing brick-looking asphalt shingle, which covered the original weather boarding, was covered with white asbestos shingling. The narrow porch along the north side of the kitchen was removed and the exterior door from the porch to the dining room was replaced with a window. The present flagstone front porch with its square columns was added as was the present front door.
The front stair case was moved from its original location by the dining room wall to a new location to accommodate the new front door. The back stairs from the kitchen to an upstairs bedroom was removed. An inside stair from the kitchen to the cellar was constructed. The wood cupboard, originally facing the north wall, was moved to the east wall.
A coal stove in the dining room provided the major source of heat when the Ridgeway’s bought the house. During remodeling, a gas and hot water radiator system was installed. Central air conditioning, including duct work, was installed in 1973, as well as attic insulation. Local painting contractors Joe Lee and Willie Page painted the exterior siding “Bucks County Gold” and the trim white in 1974.
The house at 839 Elden Street was built by Mr. Gillette in 1917. The house is historically significant, not only because of its typical Herndon architecture in the historic district, but also because of its owners and their contribution to the Town of Herndon.
The house is of modified Potomac River architecture. It had full length porches along the front and back, although the back porch was later incorporated into the house. It also has a sloping roof line with dormers and a chimney at one end.
The house now has four bedrooms, parlor, sitting room, living room, dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms and a partial basement with an outside entrance. There is elaborate molding and trim in the dining room, known as “Bible Fold,” since it was used in churches extensively. It has an all brick fireplace and a window seat along one dormer window. The living room, dining room and parlor open spaciously into each other. The stairway is enclosed. The detached garage lies partially on an adjacent lot which has a Locust Street boundary.
Previous owners of 839 Elden Street are the Churches, the Moultrops, the Steeles, the Pettys, the Chamblins, the Handys, the Trippetts, the Updikes, and the Finches.
The first family to live in the house was that of Guy N. Church, founder of the first telephone company in the Northern Virginia area. Guy, along with his father, installed public telephone service in the Herndon area. His family also lived in the house while he was in the Signal Corp as a 1st Lieutenant during WWI. Guy was the son of M.E. Church who started a drug store in Herndon in 1880, which was destroyed by a fire in 1888, at which time he moved to Falls Church.
When Mr. Church moved to Falls Church after the fire, he sold the house to one of his assistants in the telephone company, Henry Steele. While Mr. Steele was in the house he obtained a number of properties in Herndon, including the Herndon Cannery on Vice Street, which is no longer in use.
Ralph Chamblin and his family moved into the house in 1927. Mr. Chamblin was the pharmacist in Herndon for many years, the pharmacy located at 734 Pine Street. It was during this time that the back porch was incorporated into the house. Mrs. Virginia Chamblin had a beautiful garden along the side of the house which locals talked about for years.
During the time Mr. Updike lived in the house, he had the upstairs made into an apartment with a separate outside entrance on the second floor.
Mr. Finch, who lived in the house from 1945-1978, was a co-founder of Horn Motors located on Elden Street, and he also operated the Elden Gun Repair Shop in the garage on the property. After the renters who occupied the second floor moved out in the early 1950’s, the Finch’s remodeled the second floor for their own use. The upstairs hallway was removed and extra room was reclaimed from the eaves, including living space, closets and storage. Siding was put on during their residence and the kitchen was paneled and wood cabinets were put up.
The residence on the corner lot at 900 Elden Street, is located in what was referred to as “old Elden Street.” It was built in Cape Code style architecture and appears to have had no major modifications made to the external structure since its construction in 1912. Extensive restoration of the inside was done in the 1970’s.
Deeds show that several “early Herndon” families owned the house, including William and Lawrence Detwiler, the sons of Dr. Ed Detwiler. Edwin Detwiler was a successful Herndon physician in the late 1800’s who also served on the town council and school board. He was also a senior warden and registrar of St. Timothy’s Church and was appointed as the Fairfax County Coroner in 1910. Dr. Detwiler, along with his brother, Dr. Benjamin Detwiler (a dentist), initiated many “firsts” in Herndon. They had the first automobiles in Herndon, they started the Herndon Gas Company, and they erected the first telephone pole. Edwin Detwiler was famously murdered by the deranged son of a patient in 1916.
The previous owners of 900 Elden Street include the Chilcotts, the Breadys, the Robeys, the Bradshaws, the Gillettes, the Detwilers, the Roadhouses, the Hanzals, and the Colemans.
The first mention in a deed of a house on this property was under Mr. Ellery Chilcott’s name. The deed spoke of insurance required on buildings. It appeared that Mr. Chilcott either mortgaged the house or borrowed money to build a house.
Some of the charming original features of the home include ten foot ceilings, oak baseboard and ceiling molding, lathe and plaster walls, oak and pine floors, wide covered porches, pedestal bathroom sinks, gas heat, and large rooms, including a formal dining room and three bedrooms. The exterior of the house had cedar shakes and a garage.
Newer renovations include new roofs on the house and the garage, gutters and downspouts, new plumbing and improved electrical rewiring as the kitchen was upgraded with new appliances. Custom built oak cabinets with ceramic counter tops were added to the kitchen, as well as a skylight. The fireplace has had its damper replaced as well as a newer furnace and three air conditioning units.
Ancel St. John (an original Town Council member) and his wife, Isabelle, owned several parcels of land within the town when the first town map was drawn in 1878 by G.M. Hopkins. In 1884, the St John’s conveyed a tract of their land, to the Trustees of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. Some of that land included the parcel where the home at 752 Grace Street now sits. This home was originally a rectory for St. Timothy’s Church. The church was built in 1881 at the corner of Grace and Elden Streets. The Masons took over the church in 1969.
St. Timothy’s owned the rectory property from 1884 to 1952, until Dr. Daniel L. Detwiler bought the property from the church. Mrs. Esther Thompson purchased the property from the Detwilers in 1956. Richard and Elizabeth Peck purchased the property from Mrs. Thompson in 1957. They lived there until Elizabeth Peck's death in 1988. The current owners are Paul and Leslie Glass.
The rectory was built sometime between 1884 and 1890, as indicated in a set of 1891 minutes from a St. Timothy’s Church group meeting. It is quite likely and possible that St. Timothy’s Church, having acquired the rectory site, would proceed with construction of the rectory and have a livable house before the cold weather of 1885, which is why the construction date is affixed as 1885.
One might reasonably conclude that as a rectory it was occupied by rectors who, as non-owners, had little incentive to make changes in the house. The changes known to have been made were not very significant. The exterior configuration is almost identical with that of the original house. The back porch has been enlarged and screened in with removable glass panels. This was done after 1952 by Dr. Detwiler or Mrs. Thompson.
The interior was improved by a gas furnace and a hot water heating system. One full bath and a half bath have been added. The original bath still has the old tub with claw feet.
There were originally three fireplaces. The one in the living room is still in service. The chimney at the rear opened into two individual fireplaces, one in the dining room and one in the rector’s study. These two fireplaces have been sealed and walled up since the installation of a central heating system.
In 1865, Albert and Matilda sold 397 acres of land to Ancel St. John and J.H. Thompson, which they ultimately divided between themselves. In 1881, Mr. St. John (a member of Herndon’s first Town Council) sold three of his lots to Mrs. Mary M. Castleman. In 1898, Isaiah Bready (Herndon’s first Mayor) added more land to the Castlemen property by conveying some of his adjacent land to Mary E., Ida M., Lucy B., and Virginia O. Castleman (daughters of Mary M.). The Castleman property is where the house at 761 Grace Street now sits.
After Mrs. Mary M. Castleman bought her three lots from Mr. St. John, she contracted for the building of a large two-story frame house located at what is now 763 Grace Street. For a number of years in this house, Mrs. Castleman and her four daughters operated the Herndon Seminary, a private boarding and day school for the young people of Herndon and the surrounding area.
Failing health of one of the Castleman daughters made it necessary in the mid 1920’s to arrange for a dwelling separate from the school. It was at this time that the six room “bungalow” was built by Mr. E. E. Gillette, now known as 761 Grace Street.
In 1936, Eugene and Ida Bicksler bought the bungalow property. During the nine years that the Bicksler’s owned the house, changes were made to the interior. There is evidence from the chimney located in the corner of the dining room that the house was initially heated by a space or, perhaps, a circulating heater. The wall between the living room and the little front room was removed to extend the living room across the entire front of the house. The wall separating two bedrooms was removed to provide a master bedroom. The screened porch extending across a portion of the back of the house was enclosed to replace lost bedroom space by the removal of partitions. A hot water, oil-burning furnace was installed. The original clapboard was covered with asbestos shingles.
In 1945, the property was purchased by the current owners. In 1954 additional living space was needed, which resulted in extensive alterations and additions to the front of the house. Changes included an enlarged living room and bedroom, a bath adjoining the bedroom, a screened porch opening from the living room and fireplace in the living room. Several years later the screened porch was enclosed with paneling and glass windows.
In 1972 additional changes were made to the rear of the house, including a large bedroom, a bath, a utility room, a linen closet, pantry space and an enlarged breakfast room. Additional storage space was created by flooring the attic over the entire addition. A patio type porch was added at the back entrance. The exterior of the wing was covered with aluminum siding.
Over the years the numbering system on Grace Street went through changes. The original address of the bungalow house was 110 Grace Street. In approximately the 1950’s it was changed to 96 Grace Street. In 1975 it was renumbered again to 761 Grace Street.
Plaque #9 - Herndon United Methodist Church - 1915
The church building located at 655 Spring Street was once the home of Herndon United Methodist Church.
In the mid-1800’s, a number of New England families moved into the Herndon area, drawn by milder climate and ease of access to Washington and Alexandria. As these various settlers began to move into the area, they began to form churches. The Methodists were the first to organize, but soon a Congregational Church was started, followed a little later by St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
In the years 1857-1858 a few families organized the first Methodist congregation in the Herndon area. They worshipped in homes, in the “Rocky Hill School House,” (which was either on Rock Hill Road or Ox Road, now Sterling) and, in good weather, in a grove of trees.
An effort was made in 1860 to build a church. They started to build it and had it framed in, but before it could be completed a severe wind storm blew it down and no further efforts were made for several years.
After the Civil War, another effort was made to build a church. In 1872 the building, which now stands at the northwest corner of Elden and Center Streets, was built and became the home of the Methodist Episcopal (North) Congregation. Jacob Leonhardt gave the pulpit, and the pews were made by John Hough of Waterford, Virginia. This was the first church of any denomination in Herndon.
In 1914 a congregation of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church was organized and they built the church located at 655 Spring Street in 1915. They named it “Woolf Memorial M.E. Church, South” after their minister.
After the union of the branches of Methodism in 1939, the two Methodist congregations in Herndon decided to use the Spring Street church building, and it became the “Herndon United Methodist Church.” At a 1940 Board meeting the decision was made to use the money acquired from the sale of the Elden Street church property to enlarge the church on Spring Street. The plans were to add build four rooms, a basement dinging room and kitchen, rest rooms and a new furnace. The building was completed and first used in the winter of 1940.
In 1942 the pulpit and pulpit furniture from the former M.E. Church, North, was refinished and the pulpit was used as an alter. At the same time, alterations were made to the choir loft, pulpit, alter and a dossal curtain was purchased. A baptismal font was made by E.F. Kanmermier and Rev. M.W. Mann and was given as a memorial to H.H. Kanmerirer, a casualty of World War II. In 1952 the church was redecorated and new stain glass windows were dedicated. An electric organ was presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Euan Davis, in honor of their parents.
The Sunday school continued to grow, making it necessary to erect an addition to the church which would include a new kitchen, dining room and sufficient class room space for anticipated future growth. Land west of the church was obtained and the new addition officially opened in 1955.
Years later, the Herndon United Methodist Church moved out of the building at the Spring Street location and moved to a new location on Bennett Street, across from Herndon High School.
The land where 1000 Monroe Street now stands is known as D. Van Vleck’s addition to the Town of Herndon, after the farm once owned by Van Vleck. The property is still called “The Oaks” by long-term residents because the property includes about twenty two 150-200 year old oak trees, as well as dogwoods, several varieties of evergreens, and dozens of flowering and non-flowering plants. The original water well is still in place.
E. Barbour Hutchison, a life-long resident of Herndon, was born in 1876. He was teacher in the public school system, worked for the State Department, received a law degree from Georgetown University and became a principal in the school system. Hutchison Elementary School is named after him.
Originally, Mr. Hutchison owned the entire block bounded by Monroe Street, Second Street, Van Buren Street and 1st Street. Gradually, he sold much of this property off to relatives and friends. Much of the surrounding property to 1000 Monroe Street remains unfenced so that the lawns run together.
E. Barbour Hutchison and his wife Mary built the house in 1924. The contractor’s name was Gillette. The house cost $15,000 when it was finished. The basement was dug out by hand for $.75 per day. The original house had a giant stove in the kitchen that used one of the chimneys. The Hutchisons added a sun parlor, brick walks and various hard wood floors.
The Hutchisons sold the house to Ben and Christine Johnson in 1967. The Johnsons sold the house to James Graham and William Hoofnagle in 1969. They sold it to William and Grace Churchill in 1970. The Churchills sold it to Cecil, Anne, William and Cynthia Poage in 1971. The senior Poages sold the property to their son and daughter-in-law, William and Cynthia Poage, in 1974.
While the Poages owned the house they made changes to include: renovated the kitchen; insulated walls; added storm and screened windows; installed a downstairs bathroom; paneled the attic; added a brick patio; painted the house (which had always previously been white).
In 1977, the Poages sold the property to the current owners. Changes they made to the house included: Added an 1810 mantel to the living room fireplace; renovated both upstairs bathrooms; added a second floor storm and screen door leading to the covered porch roof; hand-painted original murals in two of the bedrooms and one of the upstairs bathrooms.
The architectural style of the house is classic colonial. The foyer leads to a curved staircase with brass and cut glass chandeliers on the first and second floors. The living room is huge and has windows on the sides plus a doorway to the covered porch. The inside entrance to both the living room and dining room have glass paneled double doors. The kitchen is styled after a country kitchen and features a built in range, burners and cabinets plus a sink island. Just off the kitchen is a pantry for washer-dryer and storage, along with a small back porch. The sun parlor has large windows on three sides and grass wallpaper. The second story has four large bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet, and two bathrooms. A stairway leads to the third floor which includes two parallel rooms and additional storage space.
The property includes a three car garage in architecture consistent with the house.
Plaque #11 - Herndon Fortnightly Library - 1926 660 Spring Street
In 1889, just 10 years after the Town of Herndon became incorporated, a group of ladies met at the Herndon Seminary located on Grace Street. The purpose of this meeting was “the mutual improvement of its members in literature, art, science and the vital interests of the day.” The name chosen by the nine founders was the Fortnightly Club of Herndon and they met every two weeks at each others’ homes.
To achieve their aims, books were needed so Miss Ida Castleman suggested that they collect books, soon having more than a thousand. In 1910, Miss Virginia Castleman took a course in library science and offered to catalogue these books and make them the beginning of a public library. The ladies rented a room in the old Taylor house and subsequently in other locations such as the old Hattie Bready house and the Crippen Building, and people started borrowing books.
In 1917, the Crippen Building burned, as did most of the downtown business district of Herndon, destroying the entire library and most of the Fortnightly Club’s records, so the ladies started all over again, collecting volumes a second time for a new public library. In 1925 the club was incorporated as a non-profit organization and changed its name to The Fortnightly Club and Library Association of Herndon, Virginia.
In 1926, Mrs. Mary North was instrumental in procuring a one acre lot, through the services of H.W. Blanchard, a Commissioner and town resident, for the Fortnightly Club so that they could erect a library building. To finance this undertaking, the ladies took the $800 insurance money from the books burned in the Crippen building fire, raised $200 more and borrowed the rest from a local bank, paying $3,000 for the new library building at 660 Spring Street.
Mr. W.W. Wyatt was contracted to build the library. The building was a blonde brick Colonial with ivory colored pillars. The building was to be 30’x 28’, with a 30’ x 8’ porch. The foundation was 4 parts creek gravel to 1 part Portland cement, not less than 18 inches deep. The framing was composed of local pines. There were 6 windows with 12 lights, two in front of the building and two in each side. There were bookshelves installed on side and rear walls that were made of 7 ¾” pine or fir boards. The building was wired in BX cable for two ceiling lights, four plugs, and one porch light. There were wood mantels installed at fireplaces. The front porch was supported by four brick piers with lattices between four 10 x 12 colonial columns. There were wood steps with mitered risers and projecting treads.
The club moved into their new building in January of 1927. From 1927 until 1952, the Herndon Fortnightly Library was also used as a meeting place for numerous community affairs. As the town grew, it was agreed to by the ladies to enlarge the building with an addition. Graham James was the builder. The addition was added to the back of the original building and consisted of a large meeting room with a good sized stage at on side with an adjoining kitchenette, equipped with refrigerator, electric stove and cupboards, increasing its community use until the present day community center was built in the 1970’s. Changes were made to the porch, the lattices from the original building were removed through the years, a new roof went on, and storm windows and insulation.
In 1971, with the continued influx of people into the area, the Fortnightly Club decided it was best to rent the building to Fairfax County for a county library. The new library branch opened in 1972. In honor of the ladies of the club, who operated the library from their own volunteerism for over 80 years, the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees decided to name its branch the Herndon Fortnightly Library.
The Fortnightly Library later moved to its new current location on Center Street. In 1995, Herndon Friends Meeting purchased the building at 660 Spring Street and still occupies it today.
The house at 808 Elden Street was originally used as a parsonage for the Herndon Methodist-Episcopal Church, formerly located at 800 Elden Street. In 1872, Daniel and Maria Cayler deeded the property at 808 Elden Street to the Trustees of the church for $50 with the contingency that it should be “kept, maintained and disposed of as a place of divine worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church…” and “…further trust that said premises or any part thereof may be used, kept, maintained and disposed of as a place of Parsonage for the use of the ministry of the said Church…”
By 1874 all materials, except windows, and money were available to commence the parsonage. The house was completed in 1875. It as constructed of some donated materials and largely donated labor by the church circuit members. The original house is comprised of two rooms below with two rooms above, with a center stairway and a side entrance. This old section of the house is constructed of cedar. Floor joists are logs over rubble stone foundation with a cellar. The walls are solid, but the exact content of the wall structure is unsure. An outside toilet may have been used during this early period. Windows are of the small pane variety and the woodwork, which is oak, is irregular and poorly crafted. Only two upstairs doors, into the rooms which would have been the upstairs bedrooms, exist from this period. They are solid wood paneled. The floors are pine plank. The only fireplace at this time was in the kitchen and since has been covered with the chimney, being used now as a furnace vent.
The Herndon Methodist-Episcopal (M.E.) Church originally fell under the Baltimore Conference. Ministers in the Herndon M.E. church were transferred every 3-5 years. Between 1875 and about 1939 there were about 28 ministers who used the parsonage.
The wing of the present house which projects eastward was added sometime around the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The addition consisted of a living room on the first floor and a bedroom above it. They were joined to the main house by a two story foyer-style stairway. A front porch ran the length of the original addition. The addition was balloon framed, had tongue and grooved siding, pine floors, fluted Victorian woodwork and was constructed in a craftsman-like manner. The new living room originally had a fireplace, but this has since been closed and the chimney to the attic was taken down. The junctions of these two phases of construction are clearly discernable in the attic where the gable roof of the original house still exists under the roof of the later addition.
In about 1939 the M.E. Church went under the Virginia Conference which led to the church and house ultimately being sold in 1941. The church had apparently been renting the house between 1939-1945 when it was purchased by Harry and Alma William Breckenridge. The Breckenridges apparently continued to rent it until they sold it to Harry and Beatrice Lowry in 1945. The house was again sold to Douglas and Lucile Hubert (1946), to Barnard Jennings and William Hoofnagle (1954), to Doris Shull (also 1954).
The Shells were apparently responsible for the rear addition to the house. It included a bedroom and bath on the first floor, and a kitchen on the second floor. The house was converted to a two bedroom apartment upstairs and one two-bedroom apartment downstairs. The house was divided by a partition wall on the upper landing of the foyer. The front porch was removed at this time and asbestos siding and storm windows were added. A gas hot water furnace was also added, as well as insulation.
The Shull family continued to operate the house as income property until 1977 when they sold it to the current owner. The property returned to a single family dwelling with extensive renovations. A screened porch was added in the rear with French doors in the living room. A stained glass window was added on the foyer landing and in the dining room bay window.
The house at 652 Spring Street was built in 1908 and was known as the Hutchison-Steele House.
Dr. Hugh Barbour Hutchison was born in 1870. He married Helen Steele in about 1900 and they had three children. A wealthy man, Dr. Hutchison was a dentist with a practice Washington, D.C. He was also the co-owner of a 3,500 acre tract of land bought from the estate of Dr. Max Wiehle, now part of Reston. Prior to 1908, Dr. Hutchison and his family lived in a house at the end of Coral Road.
In 1908 Dr. Hutchison purchased a lot in the George A Williams subdivision, located near the intersection of what are now Spring and Oak Streets. He quickly started the construction of the house. Charles Reed (brother of local mortician, Thomas Reed) was the carpenter in charge of building the house. E.E. Gillette likely built the chimneys. The house was considered one of the most modern and well-built in town at that time.
The Federal style frame construction house was built on a fieldstone foundation with German clapboard siding which was painted a crème color or yellow. Features include a central hall and stairway, with four main rooms on both upper and lower floors. There are large pane double windows, symmetrically placed, with gabled dormers. The house has overhanging eaves, a broad plain frieze, a pedimented gable and a tin shingled roof. There was a porch on both the front and the back of the house. The interior walls are 9 ½’ to 10’ high and included crown molding, picture hanging molding and plate rails. The wooden floors are tongue-in-groove pine. The house is said to be the first in Herndon to have indoor plumbing. A windmill in the yard over a well pumped water into a large wooden tank located in the attic, with gravity feeding the water into the plumbing. The house had two chimney’s, but never fireplaces. The house was heated by coal and wood stoves in every room, until natural gas was available in Herndon about 1937.
Mrs. Steele was known to be a good gardener, with the yard having a fig tree, a vegetable garden and beautiful flowers. After the death of Mrs. Steele, the three children (Hugh Jr., Gilbert and Cuthbert) continued to live in the house with their grandmother. Cuthbert continued to live there with his grandmother until she died in 1923.
Dr. Hutchison put the house up for sale after his other-in-law died. The house was bought buy the Trustees of the Woolf Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, and used it was a parsonage. In 1939 the Woolf Memorial Church united with the Herndon Methodist Episcopal Church, to form the Herndon Methodist Church. It continued to be a parsonage and hosted many church functions, such as weddings, christenings, Sunday School classes and meetings.
Some modernization of the house took place during this period, including town water, sewer and natural gas hook ups. In 1963 it was determined that it was too costly to do all the repairs and renovation needed to house (such as a new heating plant) so the church decided to sell the old parsonage and build a new brick one, which they built on Van Buren Street.
Subsequently, the Hutchison-Steel house lot was re-subdivided. The northern lot was sold to a family who built and occupied a house there in 1967. Gus and Amber Panagos bought the Hutchison-Steele house in 1964. Gus was a teacher at Herndon High School. They installed some sheetrock and paneling over some plaster walls, rewired and replaced some fixtures and appliances. The one-car garage was destroyed in a fire.
The current owners bought the Hutchison-Steel house in 1972. They added a 2-car garage, re-roofed the porches, added porch rails, shutters, gutters and picket fences. They upgraded the kitchen and bathrooms, and installed central heating and air.
In 1886, 165 acres of what was known as the Elden Street Fruit Farm was conveyed to J. Luther Bowers. In 1890, the Bowers sold off 12.5 acres of that land, which was separated into 27 separate lots. 911 Elden Street sits on lot #19 which is approximately 126 square feet and located at the intersection of Elden Street and School Streets (formerly Mulberry Street). Lot #19 was bought by Mr. Hugh Wiley in 1890 fro $50. He borrowed money from Benjamin Middleton and from Baltimore Building and Loan Association, between the years of 1891 and 1893, the years in which it was believed that he build the house.
The house is a frame Victorian farmhouse with moveable shutters, a tin roof and a tin roof. It is thought that the original house had a kitchen, dining room, parlor and porch on the first floor, with a 27” wide staircase in the center, leading to the upstairs. Other architectural details include two roof gables, exposed beam in the attic, oak floors throughout, paneling and fluted oak handrail.
Mr. Wiley lived in the house for 12 years. In the next several years it was sold to several people: to Andrew and Lucy Hutchison in 1902, to Frank and Nellie Huddleson in 1906, to E.A. and Lovine Kirk in 1907, and to Ellen Buell in 1919. The Buells made many changes to the house. In 1919 there was still no electricity central heating or fireplace. The house was heated by the kitchen stove. There was an outhouse located between the kitchen and the barn. The land had many flowering trees and shrubs, as well as two large maple trees. The Buells had the basement dug out under part of the living room and added a coal furnace and hot water system with radiators. The coal bin and chute were next to School Street. When gas came to Herndon in 1938, the furnace was converted.
They removed a hallway partition which had closed off the parlor and led to the entrance of the kitchen. They added a fireplace in the living room. They also added French doors in the living room and dining room, leading to the front porch.
The house passed down to different members of the Buell family, including George and Emma Buell and Elizabeth Buell. George Buell later shored up and added a concrete floor to the barn, enabling him to park his car there. They also rented the house for short periods of time. In 1954, Elizabeth and her mother Emma, added a two-story apartment on the rear of the house, where Adelaide Adamson, and her son Rowland, lived. She was a Home Economics teacher at Herndon High School and the originator of the school lunch program in Fairfax County.
Ms. Adamson later bought the house from the Buells, and married Mr. Warren Neily. In 1970, the Neily’s enlarged the living room into part of the porch area. They also added a side porch and enclosed it with jalousie windows. They also built and enclosed a back porch the same way. In 1975 the house later was sold to John and Holly Hooker Ansaldi, who later divorced. The house conveyed back to Holly as Holly Medert, and later to her again as Holly Medert Hooker. Between 1975 and 1982 a five-foot chain link fence was added around the whole property. Insulation was added to the house with wallboard, covering some of the plaster walls. Two upstairs bedrooms were made into one bedroom with an enlarged closet.
Holly died in 1982 and her parents sold the house to the current owner who remodeled the kitchens and bathrooms. A half-bath was also added just off first floor kitchen. Closets were added to the upstairs hallway, to an upstairs bedroom and to the back porch, where a washer and dryer were kept. The big bedroom was again divided into two bedrooms.
In 1987 all the jalousie windows were removed from the porches and the front porch was restored to simulate its original look. The side porch was enclosed as a room.
The property on which 726 Park Avenue sits is part of a tract known as Durbin Van Vleck’s addition to the Town of Herndon, which was established in 1895. Maria Stanley purchased the property from Mr. Van Vleck in 1897 and took out a $1000 loan from William Bready, Trustee at Baltimore Building and Loan Association. It was during this period that is assumed the house was built, although the notes in the house plaque application did not explicitly say that. Ms. Stanley failed to make payments on the loan so the Loan Association acquired the property in 1898.
From then until 1978, the house was owned by a variety of people: George Woody, Thaddeus Woody, Madison and Sarah Kenfield, Frances Tinsman, David and Ellen Bicksler, Dr. J.T. Jones, Sarah Jane Poole, Walter and Lucille Reeves, Homer and Jean Stutsman, Otto and Carolyn Sifers, Nathaniel and Karen Butler, and Stephen and Judy Richards. Of those, the Jones family lived in the house for the longest period of time, 21 years, from 1921 to 1942.
The house is a Century Colonial style tin-roofed house, which sits back from the street on a 1 1/3 acre lot, behind eight large oak trees. The house was mainly square, with two stories and an attic. There was one finished room in the attic where their housekeeper stayed. There is a central hallway with four rooms on each floor. Dr. Jones was a country doctor and had his office in his home. At that time the home had white wood siding and dark shutters. The front porch was covered and held several chairs and a swing. A walkway from Park Avenue led to the steps up to the middle of the porch. There was a transom window above the front door. Patients sat in the hallway, waiting to see the doctor. The flooring was pine. In the entrance hall was a crank telephone. There was a wood stove in the Jones’s dining room, and an oil stove and kerosene hot water heater in the kitchen. An outside door in the back of the kitchen led to a pantry. Water was pumped up to a storage tank in the attic from the cistern under the pantry floor. From the attic, the water was piped to the bathroom and kitchen, with only gravity providing the water pressure.
The Jones’s had a barn in which they kept a horse and sleigh, so that Dr. Jones could make his rounds in the snow. They also had a cow and kept a chicken yard and coop. A semi-circle driveway from Grant Street ran between the main house and barn to the garage, where a car was kept. Behind the garage was a grape arbor and a two-hole outhouse. In the side yard they built a clay tennis court (presumably for a daughter who liked to play tennis), the only court in Herndon at the time.
The current owners bought the home in approximately 1979 and made many renovations between then and 1986. Nine coats of paint were stripped to reveal the original wood. All the plumbing was replaced. Insulation was added. Some interior walls were moved slightly. Electric lights were replaced and wiring was updated. New kitchen cabinets, appliances and floors were installed. Molding around the doors, windows and baseboards were replaced with wood that was custom-milled to duplicate the original wood. Chair railing and crown molding were added. The wood stove was removed from the den and a section of chimney brick was covered with plaster.
At some point a separate guest cottage was added to the lot (where the barn formerly stood) which was joined to the main house by a screened breezeway. A storage/workshop building was built in the far corner of the back yard. Another screened-in porch was added to the back of the house. The house was covered with light grey vinyl siding, with white trim and dark grey shutters. The house is heated by radiators in which water is heated by a gas furnace. One of the upstairs bedrooms has been replaced with two bathrooms. The pantry on the back of the kitchen has been replaced with a laundry room and a half bath. In 1986 the semicircular driveway was changed slightly and paved with asphalt.
Three hundred and seventy acres of land, in the downtown Herndon area were sold in about 1803/1804 by Ferdinando Fairfax to James and John Coleman. The land passed down through members of the Colemen family, including James and Sarah Bland, and Samuel and Sara Colemen. Later, portions of this land passed to Thomas Carper, Thomas and Elizabeth Cox, John McKeldon, Ulysses and Susan Curtis and Anna Gilbert Ward, Thomas King, and Richard and Elizabeth Cissell. In 1886 the Cissells sold a 165-acre parcel to J. Luther Bowers, trustee for Alice Bowers. This land is today surrounded by Elden Street, Center Street and the intersection of Locust Street/Sterling Road.
J. Luther Bowers subdivided his property into 27 lots he called the Eldenwood Fruit Farm. The house at 910 Locust Street sits on lot #18 of the Bowers property, at the intersection of Locust Street and Mulberry Street (now School Street).
In 1890 Mr. Bowers sold lot #18 to Robert and L.D. Forbes for $50. In 1893 they sold it to Mary Osgood for $65.Mary Osgood was a widow and a seamstress with five children. In 1894 Mrs. Osgood placed a lien on the house to secure $600 from Mercantile Railway Building and Loan Association, presumably to construct her home. The 1900 census shows Mrs. Osgood as owner of a mortgaged home. While the house was probably built in 1894, it was clearly built prior to 1900.
The house is a classic Virginia farm house, a small frame dwelling with a center hall design. It has a stone foundation, wide-board pine floors, standing seam metal roof and old glass window panes. Originally, the lower floor had a kitchen, living room and dining room, positioned above a full cellar. There was possibly an open porch off the kitchen. The second floor consisted of three bedrooms. The house was heated by a large stove located in the dining room with flues leading up to the second floor.
Mrs. Osgood’s daughters, Rosa and Mary, lived with Mrs. Osgood until her death, sometime before 1920. Rosa and Mary sold the lot to Fred and Estelle Moultrup in 1920. It later passed to F.S. McCandlish, then to Thomas Smith (trustee for Gertrude Hoffman), then to the Sibold family, who owned the property for 25 years. Mr. Sibold was known for his gardening skills. The Sibolds also raised chickens and rabbits. The Sibolds sold the property to a local builder, John Jackson, in 1964. He sold the property to Leonard and Loraine Simpkins in 1965.Mr. Jackson was a carpenter and made a number of repairs and upgrades to the house. After the Jacksons, the property was sold in 1986 to its current owner.
Sometime in the mid-1960’s central heating was added to the house. A bathroom was added to the second floor, probably when the Moultrups owned the house. The Simpkins turned the kitchen pantry room into a powder room. They also replaced existing plumbing and updated the electrical system. The Simpkins replaced crumbling plaster walls with drywall, although the original moldings remain, as do the original four-panel doors. They remodeled the kitchen and enclosed and paneled the porch, making a small den. A small deck was built off the den. They also repaired the front porch and installed new siding, shutters and gutters.
The current owner restored the pine floors to their original, natural appearance, added addition interior molding and installed a colonial gothic picket fence around the property.
Much like the early history of the 370 acres of land outlined for Plaque #18 at 910 Locust Street, the known background for the land on which 633 Nash Street sits begins in about 1803/1804 with a sale by Ferdinando Fairfax to James and John Coleman. The land passes to people including extended members of the Coleman family, the Blands, the Carpers, the Cox’s, the McKeldons, the Curtis’s, the Wards, the Kings, and the Cissells. In 1886 the Cissells sold a 165-acre parcel to J. Luther Bowers, trustee for Alice Bowers. Some of this land extended from Elden Street back into what are today the areas of Pearl, Oak, Wood, Spring and Van Buren Streets.
Bowers accepted a lien on the 165 acres, with R. Walton Moore of the Fairfax Court House, acting as trustee. Moore assigned three separate to notes to G. Jones, who in turn assigned one of the notes to Henry Huyett. In 1890, Mr. Moore ultimately sold approximately 17 acres of the land to Mr. Huyett. Mr. Huyett then immediately sold the 17 acres to George Williams.
Mr. Williams subdivided his land into 27 parcels in 1891. These parcels were surrounded by VanBuren Street, Spring Street, and an unnamed street between Oak and Wood Streets. Rights of way for Nash and Third Street (now Pearl Street) were also within this subdivision. The house at 633 Nash Street straddles the boundary line of lots 3 and 4 in the subdivision.
In 1892, Mr. Williams sold lot #3 to Lucy Thompson. Then it went to Benjamin Garrett, and then later to Peyton Everett, who sold a 40-foot strip of it to W.F. Fillingame and the remainder of it to James Wilkins. In 1891, Mr. Williams sold lot #4 to Evangeline McKean, who later sold it to James Wilkins. By 1903, Mr. Wilkins owned both lot 4 and (most of) lot 3.
In 1903, when Mr. Wilkins purchased the lot from the Everett’s, the deed read, “…together with the improvements thereon and the appurtenances thereof…” The wording and the purchase price suggest that the house was existent on the land. The 1900 census showed that the Everett family lived in the Herndon. The records do not show a street address but they indicated that Mr. Everett was an engine watchman and owned a home with no mortgage. Therefore, it is believed that the house may have been built as a residence for the Everett’s sometime between 1896 and 1900.
The Wilkins owned the house until 1912. It was then sold to the Mayers, then the Hummers, then the Rusks, then the Niemans, then to Martha McMullen, who lived in the house for 39 years. When Mrs. McMullen entered a nursing home, the house was rented and eventually purchased by the Schultzes. A former Herndon Councilman purchased the home from the Schultzes in 1987.
The original house was a two-story rectangular form, with a den, kitchen, dining room and porch downstairs, and two or three bedrooms upstairs. The well for the house was by the original back door. A bigger living room, an additional bedroom and a second chimney was added shortly thereafter in about 1903. It is balloon construction of rough-cut full-dimension 2x4 and 2x6 lumber. The original foundation was unmortared stone. The floors are yellow pine with no subfloor. The house was heated with gas space heaters, vented or unvented through the flues in the two chimneys. In 1930, another large addition was made which expanded the kitchen with a mud room, laundry room and back entrance. It also expended an upstairs bedroom.
In the late 1970’s, the kitchen was renovated with a new sink, cabinets, vinyl flooring and some appliances. Carpeting was put in the upstairs, and a two-zone gas-fired baseboard hot water heating system was installed. A porcelain wood-burning stove was added, venting through the chimney flue. Crown molding and chair rail were added and the front porch was re-decked. A glass green house was added to the property. About 1/3 of the metal roof was replaced in 1987.
Plaque #21 - 1881 Herndon Masonic Lodge 820 Elden Street
The building in which Herndon’s Masonic Lodge #264 is housed, at 820 Elden Street on the corner of Grace Street, was originally St. Timothy’s Protestant Episcopal Church. Therefore, much of the building’s history relates to the church. The Masonic Temple #264 bought the property in 1969.
St. Timothy’s Mission started in 1871 with a small band of nine communicants and an itinerant Reverend named Boyden of Zion Church in Fairfax. Three years later, a small group of Episcopalians purchased a small building from Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Burton and Mr. Bready that housed both a cheese-making operation and a school for boys. It was moved to a lot at the corner of Vine and Grace Streets, property owned by Reverend and Mrs. Johnson. It was called St. Timothy’s Mission, St. Timothy’s Hall, and/or Mission House.
Mrs. Laonhardt, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Castleman were credited with the idea of building a larger, permanent Episcopal Church in Herndon. In 1876, church Trustees Killam, Hindle, Robey and Day purchased a half-acre lot on the northwest corner of Elden and Grace Streets from Mr. and Mrs. John Donn. In order to finance the building of their new church the Vestry attempted to sell the Mission building at Elden and Vine Streets. Although the Vestry owned this building, they did not own the land it sat on. The Johnson’s agreed to sell the land to the church for $1.00. The church profited $299 after they sold the land to Lyman Ballou in 1881 for $300.
The overall design of St. Timothy’s Church is called Warden’s Gothic or Carpenter’s Gothic, drawn by people without benefit of an architect. The names of the building committee and the carpenters are unknown. The Virginia pine, 7/8’ thick German siding, 8 penny nails and other building materials were likely furnished by a lumber company, owned by Mr. Laonhardt, an influential man of the church parish, located on Station Street across from the Depot. The construction plan indicated that the main sills were made of white oak. The floor supports were oak, with 1 ¼ inch thick Virginia pine on top, boards no wider than 6 inches. The rest of the frame was Virginia pine. Belfry posts were 6-inch square, except the top section which were 5-inch square. The entire building was covered in cypress shingles. The pews were made of white pine, except the pew caps and alter railings which were made of Carolina pine or ash, finished in oil. The front doors were 2 inches thick, heavily molded on the outside, with bead and butt on the inside, secured with two flush bolts and a six inch mortice lock. All other doors were 1 3/8 inches thick with six panels. The window frames were sash, double hung with weights and pulleys. The windows were No 1 American clear glass, beded and back puttied. One or two chimneys were planned. All the walls and ceilings were plastered. The entire building had two coats of paint, inside and out. No mention was made of the fish-scale shingles on the upper part of the belfry. It is possible that those shingles were added in the 1890’s when the steeple was renovated. The church was consecrated in April of 1881.
A large stain glass window, approximately 14 feet high, was installed behind the alter table in about 1900 in memory of an early church benefactor, John Day. It could be seen until the church’s interior remodeled in 1949, at which time it was boarded up, presumably due to structural weakness. The side windows were refitted in 1954. The original clear panes were replaced with opaque ones, with mullions set in diamond patterns and ecclesiastical symbols in stain glass along the top arches, purchased by memorial funds. The church as originally constructed had a steeple rather than a bell tower, the bell being too heavy for the steeple. The present bell tower was built in about 1893 or 1894. The belfry housed a McShane bell. It was removed from the belfry n 1981 and can now be seen at the new St. Timothy’s Church on VanBuren Street.
In 1948, a Parish Hall was built by the church which was used for religious, civic and recreational gatherings. The building included a large social hall, with a fireplace flanked by book cases, a narrow kitchen and four classrooms. Within 10 years the inadequacy of the hall was a great concern and the Herndon population continued to grow, especially after Dulles Airport opened. Ultimately, a new St. Timothy’s Church was built on Van Buren Street in 1968. In 1969 the Herndon Masonic Lodge #264 purchased the old St. Timothy property on Elden Street.
The land on which 953 Locust Street sits was once part of the 370 acres sold by Ferdinando Fairfax to the Coleman’s in 1803/1804. The land later passed to future Colemans, the Blands, the Carpers, the Cox’s, the McKeldons, the Curtis’s, the Wards, the Kings, and the Cissells. In 1886 the Cissells sold a 165-acre parcel to J. Luther Bowers, trustee for his wife, Alice Bowers. Over the years portions of the 165 acres were sold off until 135 acres remained. Alice had been renting out the 135 acres to garner income, but by about 1910 she decided to subdivide about 100 acres of the land into lots to sell, as a way to garner additional income from the land to provide herself with financial support during her declining years. This subdivision was roughly outlined by Locust, Spring, VanBuren, Alabama, and Elden Streets. In 1911, lot #3 was sold to William Dawson.
Mr. Dawson and his wife, Jennie, entered into a deed of trust with H.E. Hanes, to secure a $1,000 loan, to be paid back with interest within 3 years, presumably to begin construction of their house. Although a Deed of Release was not found, it is assumed the house was built between 1911- 1914, since the obligations of the loan were met and the house stayed in the family. When Mr. and Mrs. Dawson died (in 1956 and 1963, respectively) the house was left to the current owner who now reside in the house.
Mr. William Dawson was a carpenter. He was working on building his house at about the same time that he was subcontracted to work on building the Hotel Harrington at the intersection of 11th and E Streets, NW, Washington D.C. Family legend has it that it was conceivable that he may have utilized some spare material from the Hotel Harrington construction site in the construction of his own home. Such materials include some dark wood trim, as well as some brass door hardware.
The house is a Craftsman Bungalow architecture style which was popular in the early 1900’s and affordable to the average middle class family. It includes such features such as a façade-dominant porch with bold posts, a shallow-pitch roof, a front-facing gable and deep eaves, a practical lay out, large shared living and dining room space, large fireplace, hardwood floors, and utilitarian kitchen and bathroom.
The Dawson house is 1 ½ story wood frame, with a stone foundation with a partial basement and a crawl space. Its exterior was finished with concrete parging and originally had wood clapboard siding, later replaced with aluminum siding. The house has two brick chimneys and the original coal chute is still in place. The windows were nine-over-nine, nine-over-one and six-over-one double-hung sash, flanked by operable shutters. All windows and shutters are original, although at some point large single panes of glass were added on the exterior of the casement windows to provide “storm-window-type” insulation. The original kitchen was a single story wing at the south end of the main house, however, early in the life of the house a second story bedroom was constructed over the kitchen by Mr. Dawson. The porch at the southeast corner of the house was originally screened, but later was enclosed, possibly in the 1920’s. In the 1970’s it was converted to a laundry room. Thomas Kite added a workroom on the south end of the kitchen, sometime after they moved into the house in 1963. The original concrete septic tank was shared with lot #2 next door until the two houses were connected to the Town’s sewer system. The furnace in the basement was converted from coal-fired to gas. A duct air conditioning system was added after the Kites moved in. Mr. Kite and Haley Smith constructed a screened gazebo on the property in 1982. The landscaping includes mature trees and shrubs, including a chestnut tree, and a grape arbor planted by the Dawsons.
Interior features include dark wood trim and ceiling beams, large brick fire place with dark wood mantel with flanking built-in shelves, and dark-wood door and window surrounds. The light fixtures hanging in the living and dining rooms are original to the house. The dining room has repetitive paneled wainscot, created by dark-wood trim and in-filled with stucco-like material painted in a mottled dark green. The hardwood floor is still exposed. The bathroom has the original sink, footed bath tub, and tile wall surrounds. Gas lamp terminations are still exposed on various walls. The original radiators still provide steam heat.
Like the early history of the 370 acres of land outlined for historic plaque homes #18, #19 and #20, the 610 Spring Street land was sold by Ferdinando Fairfax in about 1803/1804 to James and John Coleman. The land passed to future Colemans, the Blands, the Carpers, the Cox’s, the McKeldons, the Curtis’s, the Wards, the Kings, and the Cissells. In 1886 the Cissells sold a 165-acre parcel to J. Luther Bowers, trustee for Alice Bowers. From Bowers it went to trustee R. Walton Moore. Mr. Moore assigned three separate to notes to G. Jones, who in turn assigned one of the notes to Henry Huyett, allowing him to obtained approximately 17 acres of the land in 1890. Mr. Huyett then immediately sold the 17 acres to George Williams. Mr. Williams subdivided his land into 27 parcels in 1891. It is believed that the house at 640 Spring Street is located on what was William’s subdivision lot #19, (although the house was built much later). Mr. Williams supposedly sold lot #19 to Willard Coleman, and then Williams and/or Coleman sold it to Worth Hulfish in 1892. Hulfish and his wife, Virginia, acquired several other lots from Williams (including #19) and then sold them to Martha Carlin in 1895. When Martha died the land was sold to H. Conway Hutchison, Harry Mitchell and M. Frank Hutchison. These men subdivided the original 8 lots into 11 new lots, creating a new Hutchison and Mitchell subdivision. The land that 640 Spring Street now sits on is considered lot #2 of the Hutchison/Mitchell subdivision, and is the smallest of the 11 lots, measuring 13,205 square feet. Frank Hutchison’s wife, Claire, bought lot #2, apparently as an investment, and sold it to a widow, Effie Averill, seven years later.
Mrs. Averill appears to be the person who had the home built in about 1923-24, as the 1924 tax records showed that there was a dwelling on the lot. She sold the house to the Robinson family in 1926. Mr. F.W. Robinson and his wife, Kathryn, were prominent members of Fairfax County. Mr. Robinson stayed in the house until his death in 1972. Mrs. Robinson, who started struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, reluctantly moved from the home in 1980. Subsequently, the house went to the Harrison’s, then to the Camps, then to the Gleason’s, and finally to the current owners in 1994.
The house is a general Cape Cod style, but also has some atypical features, such as the asymmetrical design. In the 1920’s the Town of Herndon saw the construction of had many Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogue homes, which were delivered on railroad cars. This house has many designs that are similar to Sears houses, but it is still a mystery as to whether or not his house was in fact a Sears house.
The Robinson family, which lived in the home for 54 years, was responsible for most of the changes to the original structure. The original house had 3 bedrooms and one bath, with a small winding stairway by the back hallway. It is believed that the original upstairs was one big room and that walls were erected in the 1930’s to make two rooms. There was cellar storage in the basement. The first floor had 2 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a bath, and a front porch. It is believed that a wood burning stove was in the kitchen, attached to the chimney with a stove pipe, but that was likely removed in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. In that time period the dining room was also expended, leaving mis-matched hardwood floors. The original radiator holes still exist in the corner of the dining room. In the 1940’s a dormer was added to the back of the house, creating a third upstairs room and a small bathroom. At the same time, the stairway was moved to the living room. A back concrete patio with an awning was added in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s the upstairs bathroom was expanded to include a bathtub. Also, upstairs closets and carpeting were added, and the drywall was upgraded. In 1987 the dated awning was removed, the kitchen was upgraded, removing the historic floor to ceiling cabinets. A shed and some fencing were added to the back yard. In the 1990’s a linoleum floor was added to the kitchen and a new steam boiler was added, although most of the original cast iron radiators still remain. The outside was painted to change its original color from white with black trim, to off-white with blue and red trim. The exterior still has its original wood boards and windows. The house still has no central air conditioning system, relying on window air conditioner units. The front porch retains its original footprint with a bead board wood ceiling and French doors leading to the living room.
Many “antique” plants still remain in the yard, including the 80+ year old Japanese maple, as well as English boxwoods, vinca minor, holly bushes, pink crape myrtle, silver maple, willow oak and azaleas.