Clifton is an incorporated town located in southwestern Fairfax County, Virginia. Incorporated by the General Assembly on March 9, 1902, Clifton is one of only three towns in the county, the other two being the much more populous Vienna and Herndon. Clifton's history begins pre-colonially, when the area was used as hunting grounds by the local Dogue Native American tribe. A railroad siding was constructed here during the Civil War, and the area became titled as Devereux Station. A nearby neighborhood on the outskirts of the Clifton ZIP code has this name. Development of a village at the siding began in 1868 when a railroad depot, named "Clifton Station", was constructed.
Unlike most areas in Northern Virginia, the land around Clifton is far less built up than nearby areas, especially to its east and southwest. This was out of the worry that overdevelopment near Bull Run and the Occoquan River would be environmentally damaging to the Occoquan Reservoir. Consequently, as development edged near the area in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an ordinance was enacted stating that only one building could be placed on 5-acre parcels that have not already been divided. Today, the southern and eastern portions of the area are heavily forested, with single-family homes, while the northern area has become equestrian areas.
There are still many families moving into the area despite disputes with contractors and developers. Formation of the Occoquan Watershed in the 1970s limited development due to ecological concerns and required all houses in the area to have at least 5 acres of land. This prevents nearly all development other than luxury single-family homes. In 2002, a new community was built on the edge of town called Frog Hill. Controversy arose about demolishing the abandoned Hetzel home on the corner of Chapel Road and Pendleton Avenue in 2006. The building and a replica home were finished in the winter of 2007.
In 2000, then-mayor Jim Chesley started a Labor Day antique car show in Clifton sponsored by the Northern Virginia Custom Cruisers and Clifton Lions clubs to raise money for local charities. The ninth annual Labor Day Car Show in 2008 attracted more than 400 antique cars, an estimated two thousand visitors, and raised over $30,000. That year's featured charity was Life With Cancer, a Fairfax hospital-based program that provides family support and education. In the past five years alone, the event has raised nearly $120,000 for various local charities.
Lynne Garvey Hodge and Jennifer Chesley co-chaired the annual Clifton Candlelight Homes Tour from 2002 to 2009. It has been held each year on the first Saturday in December. Chesley served solo in this capacity in 2010 and 2011. Included on the tour are five homes decorated for the holidays, the Caboose and live music in the churches.
The Clifton Spring Homes Tour is run by the Clifton Community Woman's Club and is held on the third Thursday in May. The 100-member General Federation of Women's Club group raises money for local charities via home tours, silent auction, boutique, and local women's art show and sale.
About the Neighborhood
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Data last updated: Mar 3, 2021 7:40:am.