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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.
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. For example, Airbus North America.
Herndon contains the Herndon Depot Museum, the site of “Mosby’s Raid on Herndon Station”. The raid was a Civil War skirmish that took place on St. Patrick’s Day in 1863. Also within the town is a golf course, community art gallery, community center with basketball and racquetball courts, 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 Enterprise), 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).