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Town of Clifton Forge, Virginia
A Highlands Treasure
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The Town of Clifton Forge, Virginia is a Municipal Corporation and a Political Subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although the Town was chartered in 1906, its history dates back to the 1700s. The land that the Town now occupies was originally part of a 1770 land grant to a Robert Gallaspy by Lord Botetourt, the Governor of Virginia. The ownership of the land changed several times, and the Williamson and Smith families became the owners in the 1820s. A settlement developed along both sides of the Jackson River from Slaughter Pen Hollow to Smith Creek. The iron industry in Alleghany County and the completion of a road over North Mountain (now U.S. Route 60) in 1826 began the growth of the settlement. Mr. William Lyle Alexander of Lexington owned a forge in the Rainbow Gorge near Iron Gate, and he named the forge “Clifton” in honor of his father’s estate in Lexington; thus, we have the name “Clifton Forge.”

The Town has a rich railroad heritage with the first passenger train arriving in Clifton Forge in 1857. Clifton Forge grew up with the railroad industry and it became a major maintenance facility for steam locomotives of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C & O Railroad). The Town was a virtual boomtown during the heyday of the railroad with the C & O employing nearly 2,000 people. With the advent of the diesel engine, in the early 1950s the C & O Railroad located its maintenance diesel shops in West Virginia and many of the jobs were transferred to the new facility. Because of its rich railroad heritage, Clifton Forge is the home of the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society, Inc.

The Town and its neighbors, the City of Covington and Alleghany County, comprise the Alleghany Highlands – Virginia’s western gateway. The region, named for the beautiful Alleghany Mountains, is a lush mountain playground nestled at the southern tip of the Shenandoah Valley. Recreational and educational opportunities abound. Nearby are Douthat State Park, Lake Moomaw, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, which offer camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, and fishing. Nearby colleges are Mountain Gateway Community College, Washington & Lee University, Southern Virginia College, Roanoke College, and VMI. The Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center is located in downtown Clifton Forge and offers art exhibits and locally crafted items of the highest quality as well as the Clifton Forge School of the Arts. A short drive North is The Homestead, a five-star, world-renowned resort offering golf, tennis, snow skiing, ice skating, fly fishing, sporting clays, and horseback riding. Also within comfortable reach is the award-winning and historic Greenbrier Resort.

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547 Main Street Clifton Forge, VA 24422

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Town Hall of Clifton Forge, Va.
547 Main Street
Clifton Forge, Virginia 24422
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Office Hours: M-F 8:30am to 5pm

Distances from
Clifton Forge, VA

To Douthat State Park: 5.7 miles
To Covington, Virginia: 13 miles
To Humpback Covered Bridge: 16 miles
To Falling Spring Falls: 18 miles
To Lexington, Virginia: 29 miles
To The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, VA: 35 miles
To The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV: 36 miles
To Roanoke, VA: 44 miles
To Blacksburg, VA: 77 miles
To Charlottesville, VA: 95 miles
To Charleston, WV: 150 miles
To Richmond, VA: 166 miles
To Washington, DC: 218 miles

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