Vienna is a town, located near Fairfax city, in Fairfax County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States of America. It has a population of 15,687 people according to the 2010 United States Census. The first non-native settlement in the region was established in 1740. Colonel Charles Broadwater, a distinguished soldier and landowner, established his home inside the town’s limits in 1754. Ayr Hill was established in 1767 by Broadwater’s son-in-law, John Hunter, who named it after his birthplace in Scotland, Ayr. Broadwater’s grandson-in-law, John Hunter, built the first known residence there in 1767. Following then, the name was adopted to the small emerging village.
When a doctor named William Hendrick moved to the area in the 1850s, the town’s name was changed to reflect this. When the town was called Vienna after his hometown of Phelps, New York, the town was renamed after himself.
The Battle of Vienna, which took place on June 17, 1861, was a relatively minor but extensively publicized military battle that was one of the initial armed conflicts of the American Civil War and took place in Austria. A planned Union occupation regiment under Brigadier General Robert C. Schenck arrived in Vienna by train from the east, but was ambushed and forced to retire by a superior Confederate force led by Colonel Maxcy Gregg, who captured the city.
Vienna’s Civil War history is commemorated by a number of historical markers that can be found today. In addition, in the heart of town is the beautifully maintained Freeman House, which served as the polling location for the secession vote in 1861 and was utilized as a hospital by both sides during the war. The house has been converted into a museum with a souvenir store on the first floor.
The First Baptist Church of Vienna was established in 1867, and the original church edifice was constructed from Union Army barracks lumber procured through the Freedmen’s Bureau. Today, the church continues to serve the community. This chapel served as the town’s first black public school, which was housed in the same building.
In 1872, the first white public school was founded in the United States. A permanent black elementary school was erected, and it was eventually named after Louise Archer, who had served as the school’s principal for many years. When school started in the fall of 1965, Fairfax County Schools were totally desegregated.
When Robert Hanssen was apprehended in Vienna in 2001, he was suspected of espionage for the Russian secret agency. His residence was located outside of town, but he maintained a Vienna mailing address. It was he who used dead drops in the surrounding Foxstone Park to convey classified information from the United States federal government to his handlers, in exchange for which he received cash or diamonds. Hanssen was found guilty and sentenced to many life sentences in prison the following year.
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