Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

194-0003 Clifton Historic District

Clifton Historic District
Photo credit: Calder Loth, 2022

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 04/16/1985

NRHP Listing Date 08/15/1985

NRHP Reference Number 85001786

Established on Pope’s Head Creek in southwestern Fairfax County, the tidy community of Clifton developed between 1868 and 1910 through the impetus of New York immigrant Harrison G. Otis. Otis purchased land parcels around the depot of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and in 1869 became postmaster of the new U. S. Post Office named Clifton. He promoted the settlement by opening roads, developing a sawmill, and building the Clifton Hotel, a residential and resort hostelry. In barely a decade the town had acquired churches, a school, shops, and a gristmill. By 1910 Clifton had 200 residents. Growth all but ceased after 1910 with the exhaustion of pulpwood supplies, which affected Clifton’s wood industries. With some sixty buildings, Clifton today preserves a near-perfect image of an early 1900s village. Set in shady yards, the Clifton Historic District’s wooden houses employ a variety of straightforward vernacular forms. Picket fences abound.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: May 23, 2022