Murphy Dairy Farm – Herndon, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Murphy Dairy Farm

A decaying garage hidden amid the dense forest is all that remains of a once-prosperous dairy farm. 

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Tucked away in a heavily wooded area located just off Frying Pan Road in Herndon, Virginia, sits the remains of the Murphy Dairy Farm.

The farm was constructed during the early 1850s according to the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites, although little information is available regarding the history of the dairy farm. Aerial photographs of the site from 1937 all the way through the late 70s/early 80s show that the farm included a house, garage, barn, a wood frame smokehouse, and a few other smaller structures. These photographs also show that the farm seemed well maintained and was likely prospering during its years of operation.

Around the time the Murphy Dairy Farm was constructed, the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad was established and ran through the town of Herndon. The railroad would play a vital role in the success of the region’s dairy farms, as farmers were able to ship their milk to Washington D.C. to be processed and distributed.

By 1990, the wood frame smokehouse had been moved a short distance over to Frying Pan Farm Park, while the barn and many of the other smaller structures were demolished. The remaining abandoned house would also be destroyed sometime later, leaving only the decaying garage that still stands today.

Know Before You Go

The remaining garage sits in the densely forested area on the north-west side at the intersection of Frying Pan Road and Sunrise Valley Drive. Parking is illegal and there are no sidewalks along these busy roads. Please be careful while on the property, as the structure is unstable. The structure is best viewed from the outside and at a safe distance.  It cannot be viewed from the road.