Salsbury Spring – Vienna, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

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Salsbury Spring

The last vestige of a once substantial orchard and farm in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. 


Harmon Leroy Salsbury was a native New Yorker who fought in the American Civil War as the white captain of Company D, 26th Regiment, a troop comprised of Black soldiers. After his discharge from the army in 1865, he moved to Vienna, Virginia, with his brother, George, and started a farm and orchard. 

Salsbury built strong bonds with the local Black community, selling land parcels to freedmen at favorable rates. He donated the land that would become West End Cemetery and also sold land to the trustees of Sons and Daughters Cemetery, which is the final resting place for several soldiers who served in his unit.

Many historic homes in Vienna stand on the 250 acres that were once part of Salsbury’s Dairy Farm. The small corner lot that makes up his namesake park was donated to the town of Vienna in 1938 by Salsbury’s third wife, Lucia, and his children.

The park has been dedicated as a Certified Native Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. It is home to several native trees and plants, including river birches, serviceberry, button bushes, and golden ragwort.

The Louise Archer School was built in 1939 and was near the spring on Nutley Street. Students carried water from there to the school in buckets.

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September 15, 2022

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