We care, because we all leave tracks.

Colonial Historic to Present

1606: King James I of England assumed ownership of all Virginia and in 1607, with the founding of Jamestown, established this ownership.

1649: Charles II, in exile after his father’s head was cut off during the revolt by Parliament, granted Virginia to seven Englishmen. (Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 and these grants were confirmed in 1661.) One of these men was Lord Thomas Culpeper, who received title to the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers that included the area of Herndon. The grant required the holder to give 20% of all gold and 10% of all silver found on these lands to the king through his agent in Jamestown.

1675: A large number of the Dogue tribe was slaughtered during a raid by local colonists who then traveled across the Potomac and began killing Native Americans they encountered. These raiders did not realize until some Marylanders stopped them, that they were then killing Susquehannocks who were at peace with the settlers and foes of the Dogues. Tensions built between the colonists and the Native Americans.

1676: Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. led a rebellion of several hundred Virginians, contrary to Governor William Berkley’s directives, against Native Americans throughout the Chesapeake Bay and into the Susquehannock’s territory. Bacon died of disease and the rebellion was squashed with 27 men hanged by the end of the year. By the end of the seventeenth century, it has been estimated that the Native American population had been reduced by 80% from wars with each other, battles with the colonists, and most significantly death from smallpox epidemics in the 1650’s and 1670’s, for which they had no immunity.

1677: King Charles sent three commissioners to Virginia to determine the cause of Bacon’s Rebellion. They reported back that the rebellion had been without merit and that the Native Americans had been attacked and dishonored without cause.

1700: Captain Daniel McCarty (1679-1724), a wealthy land holder from Westmoreland County of the Northern Neck, received a patent for the land surrounding the mouth of the Sugarland Run, including Lowe’s Island, where it empties into the Potomac River. This area was called the “Sugarlands” for the stand of sugar maples surrounding this creek. Daniel’s grandson negotiated a transaction of this property in November 1797 with George Washington, but Washington was unable to conclude the transaction before McCarty sold the property to another.

1710: Catherine, Lady Fairfax, inherited control of this land from her mother and father, Lady and Lord Culpeper. Catherine was the widow of Thomas, the Fifth Lord Fairfax.

1729: On February 27th, Robert Carter, Jr. was granted a patent of 8,141 acres of Northern Virginia that included the land around Herndon from Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax and Baron of Cameron (who had inherited it from his mother, Catherine, at the age of 20).

1742: Fairfax County was formed from Prince William County and named after Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron and son in law of Lord Culpeper. Thomas moved to America in 1747 after selling his English and Scottish lands. Thomas’s son, George Fairfax, was 16 year old George Washington’s assistant when Washington surveyed all of Fairfax’s property in 1748. Fairfax was so impressed with Washington’s work that he granted him a public surveyor’s title in 1749. Thomas built a home called “Greenway Court” southeast of Winchester where he lived until his death shortly after Cornwallis’s surrender to colonial troops at Yorktown (Fairfax who was a Whig said, “Well I may as well die now” upon hearing of Washington’s triumph).

1790: John Page of Rosewell, John Page of North River, and Robert Page of Broadneck were awarded 1,079 acres that included all of Runnymede Park from the Carter family on May 14th. Four weeks later, Eliza Blair Fairfax of Shannon Hill purchased this same 1,079 acres from the Page family members by a “Deed of Bargain & Sale” dated June 9th.

1801: Eliza Blair Fairfax relinquished her property, including these 1,079 acres, to her husband Fernando Fairfax on October 10th.

1802: Dr. Richard Coleman purchased these 1,079 acres from Fernando Fairfax on April 14th for $10,500. This property was divided into three lots; Lot 14 contained 327 acres that included all the land in Runnymede Park. The north, south, and east borders of these 327 acres are all contained in the same north, south, and east borders of the current Runnymede Park. The western border extended well beyond the current park boundaries. The north and east borders also happen to be the present day borders of the Town of Herndon.

Editor’s Note: Also included in these 1,079 acres was the Dranesville Tavern along present day Route 7 that was built ~ 1810 and owned by Dr. Coleman. Dr. Coleman’s father, Colonel John Coleman, a Revolutionary War veteran, built a house in 1776 near present day Locust and Center Street. Later, this house was reportedly made into Herndon’s first private school called Elden (after the name of a fruit farm on the property in the early 1800’s), which gave the name to Herndon’s main street that now runs through what was then its property.

1818: Dr. Richard Coleman gave Lot 14 containing 327 acres to his daughter, Ann H. Ratcliffe, who then called it Lot 7 on her deed. Dr. Coleman died two years later. Ann’s husband was Charles Ratcliffe.

1821: Charles Ratcliffe, husband of Ann H. Ratcliffe, had $1/acre added to his property taxes because of the addition of new buildings. (It is possible that this addition was the sawmill fed by the millrace that runs through part of Runnymede Park. This would have been helpful in clearing the land for its future use in dairy farming for the next several decades.)

1838: November 15th, Robert Gunnel purchased 175 acres of land whose western border shared the eastern border of Lot 7 (which is the part of Reston that borders the current park) for $700. The beginning point for the survey of Gunnel’s property begins with point “a: begin at red oak south of Sugarland Run above the Sawmill and Dam of Mrs. Radcliffe.” It is therefore logical to assume that the millrace was actively sending water to a sawmill inside of Lot 7 by November 1838. (Though an 1878 map by G.M. Hopkins for Dranesville District No. 6 of Fairfax County voting district only shows Carper’s Sawmill located about a mile north off of the Folly Lick tributary to Sugarland Run. It is possible that the Radcliffe’s sawmill was no longer functioning by 1878.)

1843: John R. Ratcliffe purchased this 327 acre tract (recorded as 318 acres more or less) from his mother Ann for $5 on June 6th. John R. Ratcliffe moved to Kentucky in 1846.

Editor’s note: As described by Brian Conley in Cemeteries of Fairfax County, Virginia, there is a Ratcliffe/Coleman/Hanna Family Cemetery located 10 yards east of Centreville Rd., between Worldgate Dr. and the Dulles Toll Rd. This is the burial place of the Confederate spy Laura RATCLIFFE Hanna, who helped Colonel John Singleton Mosby gain information on Union plans during the Civil War. Laura’s sister married Richard Coleman, the grandson of Dr. Richard Coleman. Dr. Richard Coleman’s son, Richard, was sheriff of Fairfax County from 1818 until 1820. The Hanna Family home, "Merrybrook", still stands at 2346 Centreville Rd. The cemetery is surrounded by a 20' x 20' wrought iron fence and contains only one inscribed marker, a large granite marker inscribed on one side. An earlier relative, Richard Ratcliffe (1751-1825) donated the land upon which the Fairfax County Courthouse stands and petitioned the General Assembly for the right to sell lots for what would become the Town of Fairfax.

1844: According to personal property tax records in this year, John R. Ratcliffe, owned three slaves over 16 years old, one slave between 12 and 16 years old, and four horses.

1845: William Barker of Fairfax County placed a lien on this 327 acre plot (described as 300 acres more or less) on March 1st. According to this lien, known as the Sugar Land Run Tract, the land contained a sawmill and other buildings and “property, including slaves”.

1846: William Barker purchased this 327 acre tract for $2,250 from John R. Ratcliffe (who moved to Kentucky in this year).

Editor’s note: Present day Barker Hill Road located just west of Dranesville Road and parallel to Young Dairy Court is located within the boundaries of this 327 acre tract. Young Dairy Court may refer to the fact that much of this land was used for dairy farming around the turn of the 19th century.

1858: The citizens petitioned to have a post office located in their community. The U.S. Postal Service required a name for the town before a post office could be opened. The community named the town on July 13th after Captain William Lewis Herndon (who never lived nor visited this area). Captain Herndon helped to oversee the rescue of all the women and children on board his 272 foot steamship SS Central America as it sank with him and over 400 others still on board in a fierce, three day storm in September of the year before off the coast of the Carolinas. It has been said that one of the few male survivors of that shipwreck carrying California gold and passengers recommended Captain Herndon’s name to the town when they were considering a name for the town. (The shipwreck was discovered in 1988 by a commercial salvaging crew in 8,000 feet of water. They donated a lump of coal, one of the first artifacts found from among the 21 tons of gold and other relics that went down with the ship to the Herndon Historical Society in 1989.

It is currently on display at the Depot Museum.

1859: The people in this area had built a train station in 1857 in anticipation of the new railroad (at the time named the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad) which would be connected to this station in 1859. The opening of the railroad probably accelerated the agricultural development of Herndon as new markets were then made available and raw materials could be more easily transported to the town. The opening of the railroad in 1859 allowed the perishable products of the dairy industry to arrive in the huge markets of Alexandria and Washington in a fraction of the former time helping dairy to become Herndon’s largest farm income source. Captain Herndon’s daughter, Ellen Lewis Herndon, married Chester A. Arthur in 1859. He later became the 21st President of the U.S. in 1881 after her death in 1880 of pneumonia.

1861: Confederate soldiers under General J.E.B. Stuart traveled near the banks of Sugarland Run as they moved north along both sides of Dranesville Road to meet Union General E.O.C. Ord at the “Battle of Dranesville” on December 20th. The train tracks to Herndon were captured by the Union but torn up by Confederates by the end of 1861. The Union was only able to maintain train service as far west as Vienna for the balance of the war, making the railroad virtually useless to Herndon until the war ended in 1865.

1866: William Barker died. In his will dated June 7th, he bequeathed 130 acres of land (known as Lot 2 in the will from a survey conducted by S.D. Farr) to his daughter Catherine Poole. This Lot 2 included all of Runnymede Park south of the Hunter’s Creek tennis court field from the Reston line across the Sugarland Run on the east to several hundred yards across the now Herndon Parkway to the west. He also bequeathed 169.66 acres (known as Lot 3 in the will) to his other daughter, Sarah Jane Bicksler, who was married to Henry Bicksler. This Lot 3 included all of Runnymede Park north of Lot 2 (also Hunter’s Creek subdivision and land west of now Herndon Parkway). The balance of the 327 acres (outside the current park bounds) apparently included the Barker’s homestead called “The Pines” which was given to his wife until her death and then equally to both daughters. In 1874, Barker’s wife, Katherine, with 30 others bought the land for the Chestnut Grove Cemetery, which began in 1881.

Sugarland Run as it flows through a section of Lot 3

Shown below are the approximate property boundaries from 1866 until present:

1905: J. H. Bicksler purchased all 130 acres of Lot 2 from Catherine Poole on March 1st.

1907: J.H. Bicksler (and his wife Mamie) records no buildings on these 130 acres of Lot 2. On November 15th, J. H. and Mamie Bicksler sold fifty acres of this Lot 2 to H. E. Van Duessen of Washington. This property that I will call Lot 2N was the northern most section of the original Lot 2, well west of the current Herndon Parkway and east to the current border of the park across Sugarland Run. This property (Lot 2N) included the land that now includes the “Carroll” House. Many of the early property lines can still be distinguished in the park today by the remnant fence posts and barbed wire penetrating trees that have long since grown around these old barriers to keep the cattle in. The photo is one example of an old tree stump with this barrier wire still attached on the banks of Sugarland Run.

1908: H.E. Van Duessen split the 50 acres of Lot 2N into a 20 acre eastern lot (includes all of the Lot 2N in the current park) that I will call Lot 2NE and a 30 acre section to the west of the current Herndon Parkway (I’ll call it Lot 2NW). On April 16th, Harry E. and Gertrude Van Duessen sold Lot 2NE (for $300) to J. Albert Hawkins with the proviso that Hawkins would have a 15 foot corridor access to the spring located on the southeast section of his Lot 2NW for his water needs (this deed was recorded on 7/15/1908). H.E. Van Duessen apparently retained Lot 2NW for himself and paid taxes in 1908 on a building in the 30 acre Lot 2NW valued at $600 (An 1878 map by G.M. Hopkins for Dranesville District No. 6 of Fairfax County voting district shows a house belonging to a “Wm. VanDusen” along Dranesville Road in this section of Lot2NW. It is possible that the Van Duessen family had been renting this property from Catherine Poole before H.E. Van Duessen purchased Lot 2N shortly after J.H. Bicksler purchased the land from Catherine Poole.)

Editor’s Note: Houses were built over the site of this Van Duessen spring in the 1980’s and interestingly enough, the homeowners discovered water problems to the foundations of their homes.

1909: No personal property tax records for J.A. Hawkins were recorded in 1909. Van Duessen paid tax on 30 acres of land plus a building valued at $600 on Lot 2NW.

1910: J.A. Hawkins paid personal property tax on 20 acres of land (Lot 2NE), 1 cattle @ $25, 1 watch @ $25, 1 musical instrument @ $5, 1 firearm @$5, household/kitchen furniture @$100, all other @ $15, and a building valued at $600. This is the first mention of a building in the Park’s current area that includes the “Carroll” House. On August 31st, J.A. and Georgette A. Hawkins sold Lot 2NE to Sarah V. Martz. Four days later on September 3rd, Sarah and C.F. Martz sold Lot 2NE to W.F. Middleton, Jr. for $1,500. This deed notes that the land was “improved by a stone dwelling.” (Assuming that the tax records are correct, J. Albert Hawkins and his wife Georgette built the stone cabin in 1909 (though there is no tax record for this year) or early 1910. There is no tax record for J.A. Hawkins of Fairfax County in 1911.)

It is possible that Hawkins built this cabin to enjoy on a part time basis. It was not uncommon at the turn of the 19th century for people to “escape” the city by traveling to a weekend home along one of the westerly railroads such as the W & OD station which opened at Herndon in 1859. Perhaps the Hawkins enjoyed this luxury for a short period around 1910 at the stone cabin now known as the “Carroll” House. One interesting issue is that the September 3rd sale document is attested to by J.A. Hawkins, a Fairfax County Notary Public whose commission was given on December 22, 1909 and due to expire on December 21, 1913.

Additionally, Jonah Crippen bought Lot 2NW (30 acres west of the park) from Harry E. and Gertrude Van Duessen on February 28th for $3,750.

1911: W.F. Middleton, Jr. sold Lot 2NE with the stone cabin to Joseph R. Poole on February 21st.

Editor’s Note: W.F. Middleton was a bank officer according to the Fairfax Herald (11/12/1909). Several members of the Middleton family (headed by Ben Middleton, a Farm Bureau officer) raised record breaking cows, poultry, and corn in the 1920’s in Herndon. According to Herndon’s May 6, 2003, web site historical listing, “Ben owned ‘Sadie, the best known Holstein in the world.’ This prize dairy cow produced over thirty tons of milk and one ton of butterfat in three years.”

1912: C.F. Martz, who with his wife Sarah had owned Lot 2NE for four days in 1910, bought 10 acres of Lot 2NW (outside the current park) from Jonah Crippen on March 18th for $500. On July 13th, J.H. and Mamie Bicksler sold 30.19 acres of the remaining Lot 2 (from their 1905 purchase) which included approximately (given minor adjustments on either side of the current Herndon Parkway) all of the current Runnymede Park property south of the 20 acre Lot 2NE that included the stone cabin. I will call this 30.19 acre property Lot 2S, which includes the land that now has the “Atkins” House. J.C. Crippen (owner of Lot 2NW since 1910) was the purchaser of this Lot 2S. Two months later on September 18th, Jonah Crippen sold Lot 2S to J.J. Darlington, a well known Washington lawyer and one Herndon’s wealthiest residents, who owned a 25 room house on Grove St.

1913: Sarah Bicksler, owner of Lot 3 (see 1866), died. Lot 3 (165.39 acres in 1913) was sold to J.H. Bicksler for $10,000. J.H. Bicksler divided the property so that there were 40 acres that included property directly north of the original Lot 2 which included the land that now has the Hunter’s Creek clubhouse, tennis courts, and probably once had the sawmill listed in 1838 and 1845. This 40 acres I will call Lot 3S. The 60 acre (actually 60.34 acres) lot included all of the remaining current Park property to the north of Lot 3S which I will call Lot 3N. Bicksler created a roadway access of 10’ on either side of Lot 3S and 3N running approximately east - west near the present day Worchester Street.

Editor’s Note: Present day Bicksler Court and Drive run just off of Worchester Street on the west side of the Herndon Parkway, which would have been included in Lot 3N. There are two Bicksler family cemeteries in Great Falls, VA, one reportedly in the Patowmack Dairy Farm property. Three of the 41 grave stones are marked at one cemetery indicating that the Bickslers buried there were born in 1798 (Samuel – died 1884), 1811 (Louisa – died 1874), and 1822 (John – died 1870). A Henry F. Bicksler was buried in the Herndon Cemetery according to a July 28th, 1918 article in The Rambler. A John T. Bicksler was granted a Confederate pension in October, 1888 and a Henry B. Bicksler fought in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. A Herbert Bicksler’s Station Street home burned in the great Herndon fire of March 31, 1917.

1919: J.H. and Mamie E. Bicksler sold the 60.34 acre Lot 3N to A.S. Harrison in October for $500. Harrison was a County Fair officer, the first Herndon Electric Company officer, and according to a relative of J.H. Bicksler, Eugene Bicksler , a Ford dealer who reportedly rented this property for others to farm. A.S. Harrison and his son raised many prize winning cattle in the 1920’s and 30’s according to contemporary newspaper articles.

1920: J.H. and Mamie E. Bicksler sold the 40 acre Lot 3S to Thomas J. and Mary E. Cartwright in 1920 for $10.

1921: J.J. Darlington died and Lot 2S (30.19 acres) plus 6.16 adjacent (?) acres were purchased by Gertrude Hinkel and husband, W.R. Hubard from Darlington’s estate.

1930: Sarah A.B. Cartwright purchased the 40 acre Lot 3S from Mary E. Cartwright for $5. (According to discussions with Eugene Bicksler and 92 year old Mrs. Greear in 1985, the Cartwrights owned a home at the intersection of Dranesville Road and Park Avenue.)

1931: Gertrude Hinkel and her husband defaulted on a lien that they had placed on this land on August 15, 1921 for $10,500. Lot 2S and the land (still no recorded building on this Lot 2S) were auctioned and bought by National Savings and Trust, the lien holder, on July 9th for $6,787.70.

1933: On February 3rd, Mary and Annie Cartwright and Susan Copperthite purchased Lot 3S for $1,000 (that their grandparents Thomas and Mary had purchased for $10 in 1920). They were foreclosed on Lot 3S in the same year and Lot 3S was sold to Thomas E. Reed for $1,470 on October 21st in the foreclosure auction. (During this Depression Era, banks acquired many of the properties in this area and resold them as buyers became available.)

1956: Franklin L. Carroll and his family (including son, Frank, Jr.) were living in the stone cabin on property in the Lot 2NE that had been built (most likely) by J.A. Hawkins around 1910. Mr. Carroll borrowed $4,000 and built the southern facing cinderblock addition to the side of the “Carroll” House.

Editor’s Note: It has been reported that Frank Carroll, Jr. was told by his father that Mrs. Sarah Martz lived alone in this cabin after her husband died until she died while still living in this small home.

The Carroll House Property

1956: A two story brick home was built on the west side of the 22.3 acre property located in Lot 2S just south of Lot 2NE extending to Sugarland Run. This property includes what would become the current entrance to the park. The house, known as the Atkins House at 235 Herndon Parkway belonged to Carol E. and Colin Atkins, Jr. at the time is was acquired by the town in 1988. The house remains today and is leased by the town to a residential tenant within the boundaries of the park.

1968: A sewer line was installed on the eastern edge of the park along Sugarland Run that eliminated the connection of the millrace and the creek, apparently just upstream from where the Meadow Path meets the Sycamore Trail.

1970’s: Hunter’s Creek subdivision was developed in the early 1970’s. September 1973, the Hunter’s Creek developer donated 14.5 acres of floodplain land Lot 3S and part of the southern half of Lot 3N to the Town of Herndon. In 1977 the clubhouse and tennis courts were constructed on 4.8 acres of Lot 3S, eliminating the foundation of the old sawmill and the terminus of the millrace. The Stuart Woods Apartments were built at the south border to the park.

1986: Frank Carroll sold his 15.6 acre property in Lot 2NE on November 17th to Rehabilitation and Development Corporation with a provision that he live in the Carroll House until they build him a new home. The developer had intended to create a multi-home development on this property.

1987: On July 2nd, the Town acquired 3.2 acres of floodplain land at the northern end of Lot 3N along the Sugarland Run from the Old Dranesville Hunt Club. A bond referendum was approved for the Town of Herndon to purchase property to build the Aquatic Center on Ferndale Avenue and to create a park “… to help preserve open space … and meet future recreational needs.” This park would eventually become Runnymede Park.

1988: On August 4th, the Town of Herndon purchased the 22.3 acre parcel including the two story brick house from Carol and Colin Atkins for $955,000. On December 21st, the town finalized the purchase of the 15.6 acre Carroll property with the stone cabin and cinderblock addition for $1 million. These two properties of 37.8 acres were add to the 17.7 acres of floodplain property that the Town already owned north of the Carroll property (acquired in 1973 and 1987), creating what was then called “Northeast Herndon Park.”

On November 8th, the park was renamed in honor of Herndon’s “Sister City” in England (Runnymede) where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. Frank Carroll, who had settled the matter of a new house with the original developer continued to live in the Carroll House for three years with the agreement of the town before moving to Colorado.

1990: Mike Johnson, Fairfax County Archaeologist, did a preliminary archaeological reconnaissance of Runnymede Park. He identified and registered with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources both the 19th century millrace remnants and a prehistoric Native American site, both of which according to his report may merit further professional study.

Editor’s Note: Significant debate ensued among the Town’s citizens regarding the future of Runnymede Park (sports fields, all natural, passive recreation, tot-lots, etc.), virtually since the Town’s purchase of the property in 1988. The Town’s Planning Commission held meetings with hundreds of people attending and dozens of experts testifying on the most appropriate use of Runnymede Park. Some called this period “The Battle of Runnymede.” In May 1990, five of the seven Town Council Members were elected on the push to “Keep Runnymede Natural”.

1991: The Runnymede Park Master Plan was adopted by the Town Council in December that defined the park as a natural park with passive recreational opportunities.

1992: The town purchased 10 acres of land at the corner of Van Buren and Herndon Parkway and developed it as an active sports facility (Haley Smith Park), reducing the need for sports facilities in Runnymede Park.

1993: On March 28, a section of the Colonial Pipeline ruptured in Reston and spilled 278,000 gallons of diesel fuel into Sugarland Run upstream from the park just south of Herndon. The spill flowed through the stream valley, including Runnymede Park, and into the Potomac River near Lowe’s Island. The stream was near flood stage at the time and fuel spilled over some land areas. There was severe damage to the vegetation and other aquatic life in Sugarland Run. Colonial Pipeline, Fairfax County Hazmat, and local volunteers helped to clean up the spill using traditional and bio-remediation methods.

The mandatory Chesapeake Bay Protection Act designated 39 of Runnymede’s 58 acres and adjacent buffers as “Resource Protection Area.”

1994: Volunteers, led by Dr. John De Noyer and Ann Csonka, designed and built with Town approval an information kiosk and native plant garden at the entrance to the park.

1995: A historical assessment of the Carroll House was completed for the Town of Herndon by C. Richard Bierce. The Bierce report hypothesizes that the original stone section of the Carroll House may have been constructed as a “summer home away from the city” because it “is atypical in its basic configuration, plan, and scale” for full-year use. Bierce felt that the Carroll “cottage style and form” were “consistent with some of the more romantic ideals of the Arts & Crafts movement.” The Bierce report detailed and photographed the floor plan of the house and frame shed that appeared to have been built about the same time as the stone cottage. Unfortunately the shed was removed sometime shortly after this report was completed.

The Town hired Chester Environmental to perform a study of the structural features and consider the future possible use of the Atkins House as a nature center. It was determined that the Atkins House would be unsuitable for this purpose and it remains a rented single family home today.

1996: In August, the Friends of Runnymede Park was formed by concerned citizens “to protect, enhance, and preserve the physical, natural, and cultural heritage of this special parkland in the Town of Herndon.”

1998: On January 23rd, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia required Colonial Pipeline to perform several restoration projects as a result of their March 28, 1993 fuel spill. Colonial hired CH2M Hill as their consultant. CH2M Hill subsequently constructed the stormwater retention and drainage outlet facility in the wetlands area near the end of Cavendish Street.

In May the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Chapter of the Town Comprehensive Plan was adopted, identifying Runnymede Park as a primary location for watershed educational activities.

The first annual NatureFest celebration was held on October 25th to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the founding of Runnymede Park. Three hundred people came to this first event with nine nature stations set up throughout the park to help more citizens gain a greater appreciation for the value of this remarkable park. The event has grown each year since and has been shifted to the third Sunday in September capture the warmer weather.

1999: The Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Native Plant Society designated Runnymede Park as a Native Plant Registry Site, which was adopted by resolution of the Town Council in October.

2000: Knowledgeable volunteers from the Virginia and Maryland Native Plant Societies, the Friends of Runnymede Park, and others, led by Roderick H. Simmons, completed a Vascular Flora and Natural Communities Survey begun in 1987 that details over 450 species of plants found in Runnymede Park. It has been assumed that Runnymede’s meadow has maintained its remarkable native plant diversity as a result of its previous use as a pasture for cattle, rather than being planted for agricultural crops.

2001: The Runnymede Park Resource Management Plan of 2001 was presented by CEHP, Inc. of Bethesda, MD and adopted by the Town Council on March 13th. The purpose of the plan was “to guide management of the natural and cultural resources of the park … and to provide recommendations for an appropriate nature center for the park.”

2002 to present: The Herndon Parks and Recreation Department began the search for the architect and ideal design of the nature center to be located in the Carroll House field to meet the goals of the Resource Management Plan. Funds were budgeted and grants were obtained that should allow this nature center to be open to the public in late 2007.

Heron fishing in Sugarland Run                      Monarch butterfly feeding on the meadow’s tickseed


Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) at the meadow

Deer pausing along Sugarland Run in Fall