Landmark of the Month (July): Spinner's Bike Commute (Part II)

I ride through the town of Vienna about halfway through my bike commute. The W&OD Trail runs right through the middle of town, and Vienna still has a small-town type of feel.

The first European settler in Vienna may have been Colonel Charles Broadwater, a prominent colonial soldier and public servant, who owned much of the land in the region and built his home here in 1754.

In the 1760´s John Hunter, a native of Scotland, married Col. Broadwater's daughter. Partly by marriage and partly by purchase, he succeeded Col. Broadwater as the area's principal landowner. It was John Hunter who built the first house of record within the town in 1767 and called it "Ayr Hill" after his native Ayr County (Scotland). As the village grew, it assumed the name Ayr Hill, by which it was known for a hundred years.

Around that time, Moses Cummins, a prosperous northerner, built a plow factory in Ayr Hill. These plows were the first iron-beamed plows made in the U.S. and were shipped far and wide before the Civil War.

In the late 1850´s, the town was in need of a doctor, and they found a well-respected doctor named William Hendrick who was willing to consider moving to Ayr Hill. However, he had one condition that had to be agreed to: he would relocate to Ayr Hill if its name were changed to that of Vienna, his hometown in upstate New York. He must have been quite a doctor, as the town willingly made the change.

The railroad reached Vienna in 1858, and played a prominent role in the upcoming Civil War. When the war broke out, Vienna became an alternate camping ground for the two contending forces. The fifth skirmish of the war, part of the First Battle of Manassas, took place near the Park Street railroad crossing where the Vienna Community Center (I ride across the Park street crossing several times a week!)

After the war was over, many families from both north and south moved back to Vienna. Perhaps due to the influx of northern thought, the first black public school was built in 1868, while the first white public school wasn't built until 1872.

Skipping forward 130 years, in July of 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Vienna fourth on its list of the 100 best places to live in the United States!

The infamous Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who spied for the Soviets against the US for 20+ years, lived and was arrested in Vienna.

Robert Hanssen, one time Vienna resident; currently residing in the Supermax prison, Colorado, as Inmate #48551-083/D.

It's a quaint little town to ride through, but what I like best is the smell.As you ride into town, there's a bakery right off the trail, and you can smell it for miles away. On the other side, there's a large sawmill, and the smell of freshly sawn lumber hangs in the air. It's a great ride early in the morning.

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