The image above shows the area that is now the Town of Herndon, VA (where I currently live and work) and surrounding areas. It was drawn in 1864. The Library of Congress recently released a vast collection of Civil War era maps online [found at MeFi].
The black scar running through the image is a railroad, labelled the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire railroad. After some quick ‘net research, it was built in the late 1850s, and was meant to run from Alexandria (then an important port on the Potomac) to Hampshire county, WV in coal-mining country. It never made it past the Blue Ridge mountains, and was destroyed (at least partially) in the Civil War.
After that, it was rebuilt as the Washington & Old Dominion railroad, which ran until 1968. Nowadays, it’s the W&OD trail, the narrowest and longest park maintained by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
It runs right by my townhouse, and right by my workplace. After work moves in the spring… it’ll still be right off the W&OD, but a little bit closer to home. If I had a pair of rollerblades or a bike or something like that, it’d be about a 1.5 mile commute.
I’ll have to quit smoking.
p.s. The woes & yearning regarding my car situation is ongoing and, as yet, undecided.