Vienna

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About Vienna

Vienna is a charming town in Fairfax County, Virginia, roughly bordered by I-66 on the south, I-495 on the east, Route 7 to the north, and Hunter Mill road to the west. Surrounding neighborhoods include Tyson's Corner (NE), Dun Loring (E), Merrifield (S), Oakton (SW), Clarks Crossing, Four Corners and Wolf Trap (NW).

Vienna is serviced by the Vienna Metro station, located across I-66 from the town's southwest corner.

Local historians say Vienna's first settler was probably Colonel Charles Broadwater, a regional landowner who built his Vienna home in 1754.

During the 1760s, a Scotsman named John Hunter married Broadwater's daughter and succeeded him as the area's principal landowner. Hunter built his house in 1767 and called it Ayr Hill after his native land. As the village grew, it assumed the same name and kept it for a hundred years. The area experienced a population boom from 1840 to 1869 as weather changes to the north and reasonable land values in Virginia drove immigrants towards Vienna.
Among them was the Hendrick family, who arrived in 1854. The Hendricks, who became major landowners and influential in community affairs, petitioned to have the town's name changed from Ayr Hill to Vienna, the name of their hometown in upstate New York.

Old Georgetown Road was the main route through Vienna before the railroad arrived in 1859. The AL&H (Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire) line started at Alexandria and was planned to extend to the coal fields of Hampshire County, but natural barriers and the Civil War prevented the materialization of this plan.

During the Civil War, Vienna became an alternate camping ground for the two contending forces and changed hands many times. Many families moved away for the duration and some never returned.

After the war, many northern families moved into and around Vienna. Among them was Major Orrin T. Hine, a Freedmen´s Bureau agent, farmer and real estate agent, who settled in Vienna in 1866. By 1885, he owned a large number of properties. In 1890, when the village of 300 persons became an incorporated town in order to improve its public schools and streets, Hine was elected Vienna´s first mayor, a position he held until his death in 1899. He was credited with having rebuilt and constructively guided the county torn by war decades earlier.

In 1867, the first black public school was established in Vienna. The first white public school was built in 1872. Town businesses included saw and grist mills, blacksmith shops, wheelwright shops, a tomato canning factory, a lime kiln, a wood and coal yard and a broom factory. There were also dairy farms within the town limits and in 1881, the Money and King Funeral Home opened. It still runs today. The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department is the oldest in Fairfax County, started in 1903 with a small hand-drawn chemical engine. Horse and buggies were replaced with a trolley line in 1903, providing hourly rides to and from Washington, DC. The first automobile owned in town arrived in 1904. The speed limit at the time was 12 mph.

In 1940, Vienna was still a small, quiet, rural town, but during the next decade the town experienced dramatic changes. Businesses moved from the Church Street commercial district to Maple Avenue. The post-World War II period brought nearly 10,000 new residents to Vienna, their new architectural styles mingling with the Victorians and other architectural styles of yesteryear. Subdivisions were created and the town continued to grow.

Vienna's first shopping center was built in 1954 and more followed during the late 1950's along a widened Maple Avenue, replacing Victorian homes and maple trees.

Fairfax Hospital, the county's first hospital, arrived in 1961 and was followed by construction of Dulles International Airport in 1962. The Vienna Community Center was dedicated in 1966, and in 1971 the Patrick Henry Library opened. Tysons Corner Center opened in 1968 and the Vienna Metro station started operations in 1986.

Amenities in Vienna include the Patrick Henry Library, Freeman House and Museum, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Washington and Old Dominion Trail, Church Street shops, a weekly farmer's market and The Little Library.