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Herndon, Virginia

Herndon, Virginia
Town of Herndon
Historic area of Herndon
Historic area of Herndon
Official seal of Herndon, Virginia
Location of Herndon in Fairfax County, Virginia
Location of Herndon in Fairfax County, Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County Fairfax
Settled 1858
 • Type Town
 • Mayor Lisa Merkel
 • Total 4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2)
 • Land 4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 361 ft (112 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 23,292
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 20170
Area code(s) 703, 571
FIPS code 51-36648[1]
GNIS feature ID 1495675[2]

Herndon is a town in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties,[3][4] Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area of the United States. The population was 23,292 at the 2010 census, which makes it the largest of three towns in the county.[5]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
    • Top employers 4.1
  • Government 5
  • Attractions 6
  • Education 7
    • Primary and secondary schools 7.1
    • Public libraries 7.2
  • Climate 8
  • Notable people 9
  • Sister cities 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Herndon was named for Commander William Lewis Herndon, American naval explorer and author of Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon. Commander Herndon captained the ill-fated steamer SS Central America, going down with his ship while helping to save over 150 of its passengers and crew. The settlement was named Herndon in 1858. In the 1870s, many Northern soldiers and their families came to settle in the area, taking advantage of moderate climate and low land prices. Herndon also offered a group of friendly and local native Americans who helped the town to prosper via trade and instruction.[6]

Originally part of the rural surroundings of the Washington, D.C. area, the town of Herndon developed into a hub of dairy farming and vacationing for area residents, aided by its presence along the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad (later to become the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad).[6] When the railroad was converted into a hike-and-bike trail, Herndon capitalized on history and small-town feel (in a major metropolitan region) by converting its train station into a museum and visitors center by relocating a Norfolk Southern Railway caboose to a nearby site and repainting it in W&OD livery.[7]

Although the caboose itself never traveled through Herndon, it remains an iconic part of the downtown area that both locals and tourists visit daily.[7] The caboose and station offer a glimpse of the original downtown's historic charm, which residents are passionate about preserving.[7]

On January 14, 2004, the Town of Herndon commemorated its 125th anniversary.[8]

The town of Herndon was part of a nationally reported controversy involving illegal immigration beginning in 2005.[9] The controversy revolved around a day labor center called the Herndon Official Worker Center (HOW Center), operated by Reston Interfaith's Project Hope and Harmony under a grant from surrounding Fairfax County.[10] The HOW Center was created in response to daily gatherings of Hispanic workers at a local 7-Eleven store.[9][11]

The 2006 election for Mayor and Town Council revolved mainly around the issue, and resulted in unseating the pro-center Mayor and two councilmembers.[12] The center closed after less than two years of operation, in September 2007.


Herndon is located at (38.971478, −77.388675).[13]

Boundaries of Herndon as of 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 23,292 people, 7,472 households, and 5,357 families residing in the town. The population density was 5,129.9 people per square mile (1,981.3/km²). There were 7,190 housing units at an average density of 1,703.3 per square mile (657.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 50.7% White, 9.5% Black, 0.7% Native American, 17.9% Asian (8.5% Indian, 1.6% Vietnamese, 1.5% Chinese, 1.2% Filipino, 0.7% Korean, 0.1% Japanese, 4.2% Other Asian), 0.0% Pacific Islander, 16.0% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.6% of the population.

There were 6,962 households, of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.11 and the average family size was 3.54.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 3.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 111.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $72,912, and the median income for a family was $79,140 (these figures had risen to $92,947 and $108,446 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[15]). Males had a median income of $44,197 versus $35,548 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,941. About 4.7% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


The Center for Innovative Technology building, between Herndon and Dulles airport

Herndon is part of the Dulles Technology Corridor, which Fortune magazine named the "Netplex" because of the presence of the headquarters of such companies as AOL, XO Communications, Verizon Business (formerly MCI, formerly WorldCom, originally UUNET), and Network Solutions, which began as the INTERNIC – the registry where every domain name was once administered.

Some of those companies are within Herndon. Others have Herndon mailing addresses, but are located in unincorporated Fairfax or Loudoun counties, e.g., south of the Dulles Toll Road. These include Deltek and K12.

Top employers

According to the Town's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the Town are:[16]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Clear Wireless 500+
2 Booz Allen Hamilton 500+
3 Exelis 500+
4 249–499
5 Worldgate Sport & Health 249–499
6 MTS Transportation 100–250
7 Boeing 100–250
8 Air Line Pilots Association 100–250
9 CGI Federal 100–250
10 Segovia 100–250


The town is organized as an incorporated town by the Commonwealth of Virginia,[17][18] and is governed by an elected Mayor and Town Council[19] who serve on a part-time basis. The current Mayor is Lisa C. Merkel, who was first elected to Council in 2010 and served as Vice Mayor until her election as Mayor in 2012. The Mayor chairs the Council and heads the executive branch of the town government. The Police Department, independent of the county police department, is headed by Colonel Maggie DeBoard. and consists of 56 sworn officers along with the assistance of the Herndon Police Citizen Support Team. The Herndon Police Department achieved national recognition on November 8, 1986 by becoming the 7th police agency in Virginia and the 42nd police agency in the United States to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.[20]


Herndon boasts a wide variety of diversions and celebrations year round. Among the community events are:

May Friday Night Live! (free concerts May–August), Farmers' Market (May–October), Towne Square Singers, Big Truck Days, Public Works Forest and Meadow Wildflower Walk
June Herndon Festival, held for four days
July Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks
September Labor Day Jazz Festival, Annual Motorcycle Poker Run (Fraternal Order of Police), Annual NatureFest Celebration

Herndon contains the Herndon Depot Museum, the site of "Mosby's Raid on Herndon Station", which was a Civil War skirmish that took place on St. Patrick's Day, 1863. Also within the town is The Herndon Centennial Golf Course, the Herndon ArtSpace (a community art gallery), community center with basketball and racquetball courts and multiple baseball fields, and an aquatic center. Adjacent to the community center is Bready Park, with indoor tennis courts. Additionally, every residence within the town borders is within a mile or less of a public park.

Nearby attractions include the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum (which houses the Enola Gay B-29 Superfortress, a Concorde supersonic passenger airplane, an SR-71A Blackbird plane and the Space Shuttle Discovery), Frying Pan Park, Sully Plantation, Reston Town Center, Mount Vernon, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Colvin Run Mill, Aldie Mill, Oatlands Plantation, Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (which runs through the town).


Primary and secondary schools

Herndon is within the Fairfax County Public Schools district.

Public schools serving students within the Herndon town limits are:[21][22][23]

Private school options include Nysmith School for the Gifted, Temple Baptist, St Joseph's Elementary and several Montessori schools.

Public libraries

Fairfax County Public Library operates the Herndon Fortnightly Library in Herndon.[24]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Herndon has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[25]

Notable people

Sister cities

Its sister city is Runnymede, Surrey, England, United Kingdom.[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Virginia by Place – GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010". US Census Bureau. April 1, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Herndon History". Town of Herndon, Virginia. January 18, 2006. Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  7. ^ a b c Munro, Charles V. (October 19, 2005). "A history of Herndon through the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.". Herndon Connection (Alexandria, Virginia: Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 327". Virginia Legislative Assembly. January 29, 2004. 
  9. ^ a b Brush, Silla (October 24, 2005). "Local Labor Pains: America's immigration debate lands on Main Street".  
  10. ^ (archived 2006-09-07; 2006-12-29; 2007-04-15; 2007-06-11)Project Hope and Harmony
  11. ^ Gilbert, Daniel (15 December 2005). "Day laborer center opens in Herndon".  
  12. ^ Minutemen' Open New Front in Fight Against Illegal Immigration: Citizen Group Targets Illegal Laborers Where They Work"'".  
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Herndon town, Virginia – Fact Sheet – American FactFinder". Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  16. ^ "Town of Herndon CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  17. ^ "Code of Ordinances – Town of Herndon, Virginia; Charter, Chapter 2, Powers". Town of Herndon. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  18. ^ "Code of Virginia, Title 15.2 – Counties, Cities and Towns, Chapter 11 – Powers of Cities and Towns". Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  19. ^ "Code of Ordinances – Town of Herndon, Virginia; Charter, Chapter 3, Mayor and Council". Town of Herndon. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  20. ^ "Special News Release" (Microsoft Word) (Press release). Herndon Police Department. February 22, 2005. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  21. ^ "Schools and Centers Directory". Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  22. ^ "About Herndon >> Herndon Public Schools". Town of Herndon. January 18, 2006. Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Coates Elementary School". Fairfax County Public Schools. June 22, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Library Branches." Fairfax County Public Library. Retrieved on October 21, 2009.
  25. ^ Climate Summary for Herndon, Virginia
  26. ^ "Runnymede's Town Twinning Association". Runnymede Borough Council. Retrieved October 4, 2006. 

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
  • U.S. Census Bureau: American Fact-Finder: Herndon,
  • ArtSpace Herndon
  • Herndon Council for the Arts
  • Elden Street Players
  • List of Restaurants in Herndon (A wide variety, sorted by ethnicity and location)
  • Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
  • Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian Annex)
  • Friends of the W&OD Trail
  • Herndon Historical Society
  • May 2, 2006 election results
  • Final Voyage of the SS Central America Klare, Normand – Historian The Final Voyage of the Central America. Exhaustive research documentation of the tragedy from actual accounts by the survivors of the Central America. A further indepth biography of William Lewis Herndon' s life and US naval career.
  • Herndon and Gibbon, Lieutenants, United States Navy Klare, Normand – Historian Herndon and Gibbon. The First North American Explorers of the Amazon Valley. Lieutenant William Lewis Herndon's and Lieutenant Lardner Gibbon's expedition to map the Amazon river from its source to the Atlantic Ocean. Stories from their actual reports to Secretary of the Navy John P. Kennedy, President Millard Fillmore and the House of Representatives of the United States.
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