Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia

Sancerres at Sunset

Top-secret antenna arrays tracked Sputnik.  A family of beavers built a dam that created a wetlands area attracting rare birds.

All these things happened in what is today Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Well, okay, the murder happened on the fabulous but fictitious spy series The Americans.  But it was set at Huntley Meadows Park.

Huntley’s fascinating history goes back much further. In 1757, Founding Father George Mason bought the Hybla Valley land and used it for dairy farming. 

The federal government acquired the land in 1941 and used it for various purposes over the next 30 years.

One of these was the Naval Research Laboratory’s Hybla Valley Research Station, which gathered intelligence by tracking foreign signals via top-secret antenna arrays.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth.  Within five hours, NRL was tracking it from Hybla Valley.

Swipe up to read the full post!