Spencer Ong and Caitlin Brown, owners of a residence deemed worthy by the Herndon Historic Society for inclusion in its Historic Homes Registry and Walking Tour Sites, hold the honorary plaque they will display beside the front door of their home located at 1017 Tyler Street.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Herndon Historical Society sponsors a registry program for buildings at least 50 years old within the Town whose present exteriors retain the “spirit” of their original design and satisfy the Society's criteria of being compatible with the character of Herndon. Recently, the Society's committee reviewed and approved an application for a structure located at 1017 Tyler Street. The residence, privately owned by homeowners Spencer Ong and Caitlin Brown, will be included in the Society's Historic Homes Registry Program/Historic Homes List, as well as a site in the yet to be released updated, self-guided Walking Tour, according to Richard Downer, a Society member. The residence enters as Site No. 26.
On Oct. 3, the Society's president, Nancy Saunders, awarded Ong and Brown an official bronze plaque to be displayed on their home. According to the Society's online information page, the Registry Program is "intended to increase public awareness of Herndon’s older homes and buildings and their contribution to the Town’s distinctive character and spirit." Society member Richard Downer later explained the organization is updating information on its Walking Tour for structures listed in the Registry. Historic Structure #26 will be added.
THE PLAQUE is an honorific recognition; it notes that the original section of the residence is a 'historic structure' built in 1898, and as Society historian Barbara Glakas stated, "Well worthy of a plaque." During the presentation ceremony held Thursday, Oct. 3, Glakas confirmed the building met the criteria for the committee to approve the application. She described the original section of the residence as a modest, rectangular two-story frame structure typical of that period located in one of the earliest subdivisions in the Town of Herndon, the Van Vlecks, dating back to the 1890s. Spencer Ong affirmed Glakas' account. "We were told the original structure of our home was built in 1925, but upon researching the house in pursuit of a plaque, we discovered it was more likely built around 1898," he said.
For Ong's wife, Caitlin Brown, living in the Herndon Heritage Preservation District and surrounded by other charming homes, was "a blessing."
"It is, however, truly unique to be able to own and live in a piece of our town’s history. …The original structure of our home was once, over a century ago, cherished by a very large family. Today, both our historic home and the Town of Herndon provide the idealistic place for our family to live and grow," she said.
While Ong concurred with his wife, he elaborated on the town's character and unrecognized potential in Northern Virginia. "The Town of Herndon has a very unique, small-town feel, which my wife and I truly love. ...There’s a noticeable character within the Herndon Heritage Preservation District, and we are excited to be able to contribute to it. Having grown up in McLean, and having recently moved from Reston, I believe that Herndon is one of the most underrated Washington D.C. suburbs and has the greatest potential to thrive. From its community events, such as Friday Night Live and the Herndon Festival, to its plan for future development, such as the Silver-Line Metro in 2020, we are so proud to ground ourselves here and call Herndon, and this historic home therein, our home."
Downer closed the presentation as he shared with the couple his gratitude and admiration for undertaking the preservation of an old home. “I really appreciate you are taking the time to own an old home, and that is not an easy thing. There's always something to do in an old home," he said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit the Society's website at herndonhistoricalsociety.org. According to Saunders, if a structure meets the Criteria for Consideration, owners should contact the Society, and the board will make sure they have the resources available to start the application process.