Clifton is an incorporated town in southern Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, with a population of 282 at the time of the 2010 census, an increase from 185 at the time of the 2000 census. Clifton is home to the Clifton Community College, located near Fairfax, Virginia area. Clifton is one of only three towns in the county, with the other two being the far more populous Vienna and Herndon. The town was officially established by the General Assembly on March 9, 1902. Clifton’s history dates back to pre-colonial times, when the land was used as hunting grounds by the Dogue Native American tribe who lived in the vicinity.
It was during the American Civil War that a railroad siding was built in this location, and the region came to be known as Devereux Station. This is the name of a neighborhood on the fringes of the Clifton ZIP code that is close by. The construction of a railroad terminal, named Clifton Station, at the siding in 1868 marked the beginning of the development of a hamlet at the siding.
Unlike most other parts of Northern Virginia, the land surrounding Clifton is far less developed than the surrounding areas, particularly to the east and southwest. This was done because of concern that overdevelopment near Bull Run and the Occoquan River might have a negative impact on the Occoquan Reservoir’s environmental quality.
When a result, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as development began to creep closer to the area, an ordinance was adopted declaring that only one structure could be constructed on 5-acre properties that had not already been divided. As of today, the southern and eastern portions of the land are densely forested, with single-family dwellings scattered throughout, whereas the northern portion of the territory has been converted into equestrian facilities.
Climate in Clifton is classified as Humid Subtropical, with chilly winters, pleasant fall and spring temperatures, and scorching summers. July is traditionally the warmest and wettest month of the year. January is often the coldest month of the year. February is the driest month of the year on average. The highest recorded temperature in Clifton was 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) on July 2, 1980. The record for the coldest temperature was established on January 8, 1982, at -8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clifton is served by the Fairfax County Public Schools system. Children in grades K-6 attend Union Mill Elementary School, while students in middle and high school are zoned to either Liberty Middle School and Centreville High School or Robinson Secondary School, depending on their home address. Clifton Elementary School served the community from 1954 to 2011, when it was closed after the School Board found that the cost of modernizing the 1950s-era structure was prohibitively expensive.
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