Located in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, Clifton Forge is a small town that has witnessed its fair share of historical events. From its early days as a bustling railroad town to its role in the Civil War, this area of southwestern Virginia has a rich history. Let's explore seven of the most significant historical events that have taken place near Clifton Forge, VA.
1. Founding of Clifton Forge (1821):
Clifton Forge owes its existence to the railroad industry. It was originally established in 1821 as a small settlement named "Jackson's River Depot." The arrival of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in the 1850s transformed the area into a focal point of transportation.
2. Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O):
The construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad played a vital role in the town's development. The railroad spurred economic growth, attracting workers and businesses to the area. Clifton Forge became a hub for railroad operations, with repair yards, roundhouses, and a locomotive shop.
3. Battle of Purgatory Mountain (1864):
During the American Civil War, Clifton Forge witnessed the Battle of Purgatory Mountain, also known as the Battle of Covington. Confederate forces, led by General Jubal Early, clashed with Union troops under General George Crook. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory, allowing them to briefly threaten Union supply lines.
4. Founding of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (1964):
A turning point in the town's educational landscape occurred in 1964 with the establishment of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. Named after a prominent local figure, the college offered new educational opportunities to the people of Clifton Forge and surrounding communities.
5. Clifton Forge Historic District:
In 1991, the Clifton Forge Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This designation signifies the area's architectural and historical significance, preserving its heritage for future generations. Walking through the historic district allows visitors to experience the town's vibrant past.
6. Beginnings of the Virginia Hot Springs (18th century):
Near Clifton Forge, visitors can find the Virginia Hot Springs, known for their healing properties. The hot springs were first recognized for their therapeutic value by Native Americans. Later, in the 18th century, European settlers began to visit the springs, establishing its reputation as a health retreat.
7. Preservation of the C&O Railway Heritage Center:
The C&O Railway Heritage Center, located in Clifton Forge, highlights the town's railroad history. The center preserves and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. It is a living testament to the impact of the railroad industry on the region's development.
Clifton Forge, VA, with its connection to the railroad industry and the events of the Civil War, is steeped in history. From battles to the founding of significant institutions, this area has witnessed significant historical events. Today, Clifton Forge stands as a reminder of its past while embracing its role as a vibrant community in southwestern Virginia.
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