Ashburn was originally named Farmwell after a nearby mansion of the same name owned by George Lee III. Part of the estate was purchased by the 1839 Vice Presidential candidate John Janney to have his summer home. There are two theories about the name Ashburn; one was it was named after a friend of Janney, another had to do with an ash tree that was hit by lightning and had burned for several days, and the local residents would give directions using the burnt ash tree as a landmark.
Developers came into the Ashburn area in the 1980’s and began building apartments, condos, townhomes, shopping centers and single-family dwellings in two separate developments of Ashburn Village and Ashburn Farms. The area is still growing. George Washington University’s Science and Technology has a campus on Route 7 north of Ashburn. Also located in Ashburn is the Washington Redskins’ training camp.