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Lorton Virginia

Lorton is a census-designated place (CDP) located in Fairfax County, Virginia. At the 2000 census, the Lorton population was 17,786.

Lorton is named for a town in the Lake District Park, Cumbria in England, the hometown of Joseph Plaskett who settled in the area running a general store and opened the Lorton Valley, Virginia Post Office on November 11, 1875.

Before the identity of Lorton, the commercial center was Colchester and the spiritual and historical center of the community around which the leading citizens of the time revolved was Pohick Church.

From the early 20th century until November 2001, Lorton was the site of a District of Columbia correctional facility called the Lorton Reformatory which, among other things, detained approximately 168 women from the women’s suffrage movement from the Washington D.C. area from June to December 1917.

Lorton is also is one of the two stations that serves Amtrak’s Auto Train which carries passengers and their vehicles non-stop to central Florida. The Lorton and Occoquan Railroad once operated between the Lorton Reformatory and Occoquan, Virginia, with connection to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad.

The actual community of Lorton is included by South Run and Mason Neck from west to east and by Newington and Occoquan.

Historic landmarks include Gunston Hall, George Mason’s Home and Belvoir which was George Fairfax’s home. Woodlawn Plantation and Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s Home on the Potomac River lie just to the North.

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,786 people, 5,663 households, and 3,884 families residing in Lorton Virginia. The population density was 1,436.6 people per square mile. There were 5,892 housing units at an average density of 475.9/sq mi.

There were 5,663 households in Lorton, out of which 42.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.21. Of the 2,616 people residing outside households, the vast majority were inmates at Lorton Reformatory, which was located within Lorton’s bounds and would close the year following the 2000 census.

In Lorton Virginia the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 45.2% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 2.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 125.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 133.6 males.

The median income for a household in Lorton Virginia was $60,150, and the median income for a family was $63,821 (these figures had risen to $83,911 and $93,953 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $43,586 versus $36,694 for females. The per capita income for Lorton Virginia was $25,146. About 5.0% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.

Lorton is located within the Fairfax Public School System. There are five elementary schools to serve Lorton residents, Gunston Elementary, Lorton Station, Silverbrook, Laurel Hill and Halley. There is a new school currently being built, Laurel Hill Elementary, expected to be finished in time for the 2009-2010 school year.

Considerable development has taken place in Lorton Virginia during the last few years, including on the former prison grounds. Gunston Plaza Shopping Center is no longer the largest shopping center in the vicinity. The plaza includes a medical clinic, space for several business offices, grocery, restaurants, gymnasium, a senior citizen’s center, and a number of shops and the post office. Library services in the area have expanded from bookmobile service to a store front library and now to a 10,000-square-foot building. The Lorton Heritage Society has developed the Lorton History Garden on the library’s south side. Several new town centers have now opened up in Lorton Virginia over the past few years. They include new grocery stores, coffee shops, salons, and several nice restaurants.

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