On November 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy dedicated what was then called Dulles International Airport. The main terminal was designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 – September 1, 1961) who was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland. Saarinen also had a hand in the design of the St. Louis Arch and the Sydney Opera House. The design of Dulles’ main terminal, with its curved roof and tapered columns, was intended to be suggestive of flight. Dulles was the nation’s first airport specifically designed for jet airplanes and ushered in a new chapter in airport design. Said Saarinen: “I think this terminal building is the best thing I have done.”
Dulles Airport was named in honor of John Foster Dulles (February 25, 1888 – May 24, 1959) who, among other things, served as Secretary of State under President Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. During the same time period John’s brother, Allen Welsh Dulles, was Director of the CIA.
Approximately 26 square miles of Virginia land from Willard, Chantilly, Pleasant Valley, Sterling, and Ashburn was purchased for construction. By the airport's completion, all remains of civilization prior to 1958 on this land had virtually disappeared. Willard, also known as Willard Crossroads, was an unincorporated community named after Joseph Edward Willard, a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly from 1893 to 1901.