Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.
March 12, 2013

Y'know, that post on Colorado town name and histories was so fun I think I'll do it for Northern Virginia . . . again, Wikipedia except for when an alternate link is provided.

Herndon:   Incorporated in 1879, officially named Herndon in 1858 in honor of  Commander and explorer William Lewis Herndon, who went down with the SS Central America in 1857.

Dranesville:  Named for the first postmaster in the area, Washington Drane, about 1823.

Great Falls: Named for the nearby Great Falls on the Potomac River, portions of it were owned by George Washington, who attempted to build a canal along the river.

Falls Church: Named after an Anglican Church parish, which was named for its proximity to Little Falls, a waterfall on the Potomac River.  Incorporated in 1948.

McLean: named after John Roll McLean, former publisher and owner of the Washington Post, founded in 1910.

Centreville: Originally called Newgate, established as Centreville in 1792, this town was considered the halfway point between Alexandria and Warrenton.

Chantilly: named for Chantilly Mansion, owned by the Stuart family, built around 1817.  The area has been settled since the 1700's.

Reston:  A planned community, named for Robert E. Simon, who bought the land in 1961.

Sterling:  The railroad stop for this area was renamed Sterling in 1887.

Tyson's Corner: Originally established as Peach Grove in 1851.  Renamed for Postmaster William Tyson after the Civil War.

Ashburn: Originally called Farmwell after a nearby Lee plantation, the land was named Ashburn Farm by a Quaker who purchased it in 1841.  Legend states the village was named after an ash tree that was struck by lightning and burned for a week in 1896.

Vienna: Settled in 1754, incorporated in 1890.  Originally called Ayr Hill after the first house built in the area, renamed Vienna in 1849 after Dr. William Hendrick's request the area be named after his hometown of Vienna, NY.

Fairfax: Named for Thomas Fairfax (6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron), who was granted most of the land in Northern Virginia by King Charles.  The town was established in 1805.

Leesburg: originally named George Town (after King George) by tavern owner Nicholas Minor in 1757, quickly renamed Leesburg after Thomas Lee (father of Francis Lightfoot Lee) in 1758.