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Sterling, Virginia is a census-designated place (CDP) in Loudoun County, Virginia. The population as of the 2010 United States Census was 27,822. It is located northwest of Herndon, east of Ashburn, and west of Great Falls, and includes part of Washington Dulles International Airport and the former AOL corporate headquarters. Sterling is also home to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office LWX (serving the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area), as well as the Sterling Field Support Center, the National Weather Service test, research, and evaluation center for weather instruments.
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (August 2010)
In the beginning of 1962, large farms made up the 1,762 acres (713 ha) of what today is called Sterling Park. Route 7, also known as Leesburg Pike, bordered what used to be Jesse Hughes's dairy farm. Hughes arrived in Loudoun County in the early 20th century and was a longtime head of the county's Democrats. Fred Franklin Tavenner, who was somewhat related to Benjamin Franklin, operated vast stretches of Sterling Farm at the southwest fringes of Sterling Park. Tavenner had purchased land from Albert Shaw, Jr., who had inherited it from his father Albert B. Shaw, editor and publisher of the American Review of Reviews. One of Shaw's spreads, totaling 1,640 acres (660 ha), was called "The Experimental Farm" because it was one of the first area farms to receive a U.S. grant for applying "scientific methods", as Tavenner called them. According to Tavenner, refugees from the Soviet Union ran the farm while Shaw remained in New York City.
Dulles International Airport and the extension of water and sewer lines to the airport began to change the landscape when construction started in 1959. Land prices rose from an average $125 per acre ($310/ha) to $500 per acre ($1,200/ha). During the same year, Marvin T. Broyhill, Jr., and his father made plans to develop land in the airport area under the company M.T. Broyhill & Sons Corporation. In late 1961, they decided to buy and incorporated Sterling Park Development Corporation with his son Marvin T. Broyhill, president, and a cousin, Thomas J. Broyhill, as vice president. Between April 28, and December 29, 1961 of that year, they purchased 1,762 acres (713 ha) in 14 parcels for $2,115,784. For the 226-acre (91 ha) Hughes farm along Route 7, they paid $1,700 per acre ($4,200/ha).
M.T. Broyhill & Sons Corporation learned where the right-of-way for Route 28 (Sully Road) would be, and hoped to develop Sterling Park on both sides of it, so they would not have to build a road through Sterling Park. However, Powell B. Harrison, who was instrumental in planning Route 28, insisted that road be kept generally free of development, for easy access to the airport. Therefore, the Broyhills developed Sterling Park east of Route 28, and had to build their own through road, today's Sterling Boulevard.
Marvin Broyhill, Jr.'s marketing thoughts were to "put together a prefabricated home marketed by U.S. Steel and sell it for about $17,000 [that is] 3,000 less than a comparable Fairfax County home . . . All homes to have air‑conditioning. Homeowners to have access without membership fees to golf and tennis courts and pools." Air conditioning was uncommon in homes of that price range at the time. Broyhill's ideas, except for free golf, are realities today. As selling points, Loudoun's taxes were less than half of Fairfax's taxes; Washington was a half-hour away, and the elder Broyhill envisioned commuter trains on the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, which since 1951, had carried only freight. The railroad tracks were the southern boundary of the present Sterling Park.
Sterling Park residents had to be of the "Caucasian race." No board member or speaker before the board raised an objection to the clause, a common one in the United States before the 1960s, when discriminatory housing was outlawed by the Fair Housing Act, which was enacted as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. No African American family moved into Sterling Park until August 1966, when the illegality of the clause became apparent. By then, the population of "The Park", as it had come to be known, reached 5,000.
According to the USGS, Sterling has an average elevation of 289 feet (88 m) above sea level. The USGS has assigned Sterling the geographical coordinates: [39.0062204, −77.4285992]. Sterling is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and borders the Potomac River.
- Broad Run Farms is a residential area north of Virginia State Route 7 and 28 that was founded in 1952. It shares the ZIP code of 20165 and calls itself, alternately, Sterling, or Potomac Falls. As an area much older than the surrounding recent growth, it has features unique to the region, including large lots, highly wooded old-growth trees, a wide variety of housing and a voluntary civic association. The Potomac River forms its northern border, and Broad Run its southern. A U.S. Senate lawyer bought the Miskel farm in 1950 and later subdivided it, founding Broad Run Farms. (The Civil War Skirmish at Miskel Farm propelled Confederate Captain John S. Mosby to fame.) The community banded together in 1995 with state and county help to finance and install its own sewer service in part through an added property tax. The lien was paid off several years early, the tax has been retired.
- Cascades is a 2,500-acre (1,000 ha) planned community within the 20165 ZIP code. The area is located in the northeastern-most part of Loudoun County, Virginia, between the Fairfax County line to the east, the Potomac River to the North, and Algonkian Parkway to the south. Located just north of Route 7, along the Algonkian Parkway, approximately 6500 homes comprise the community.
- CountrySide is a housing development in Sterling (20165 ZIP code), bounded by the Potomac River to the north and by Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) to the south. This subdivision was conceived in the middle 1970s when 1,000 acres (400 ha) of farmland was divided in preparation for a planned housing development. Homes construction began in 1983 and continued through 1991. Today, CountrySide covers about 3.75 square miles (9.7 km2) and consists of 2,539 homes, which includes 1,269 single-family homes, 1,168 town homes, and 102 condominium units. CountrySide contains a shopping center CountrySide Marketplace, which is anchored by Safeway and CVS. The shopping center is within the mixed-use CountrySide Commercial and Professional Center, which contains various office buildings. CountrySide is governed by the CountrySide Proprietary, the community's homeowners association.
- Dulles is an unincorporated census-designated place located in Loudoun County, also part of the Washington Metropolitan Area with ZIP code 20166. The headquarters of Orbital ATK (on Warp Drive), ODIN Technologies, the former headquarters of MCI Inc., and AOL are located in Dulles. The usage of Dulles as a community name began in the mid-1980s when Loudoun County economic development officer Pam Treadwell successfully lobbied the United States Postal Service to allow Sterling businesses and residents to use Dulles as an alternate address. Dulles Town Center is a census-designated place located within Dulles, which contains the Dulles Town Center shopping mall.
- Lowes Island is an advertised portion of the legal subdivision of Cascades, but is not a legal subdivision itself. While newer residents use the city address "Potomac Falls, VA", the post office will recognize either "Potomac Falls, VA" or "Sterling, VA" as a correct mailing address. Almost 50% of the Lowes Island geography is taken up with the club grounds and a golf course.
- Potomac Falls is an unincorporated census-designated place also located in Loudoun County. Potomac Falls lies along the Potomac River and is in the northernmost portion of Sterling with the ZIP code of 20165, bordering Maryland. The name for Potomac Falls came from a competition to name the second new Post Office in Sterling. Alternately called Potomac Falls or Sterling, The village consists of the communities Glen Heather, Calvert's Glen, Cascades, CountrySide, Lowes Island, Rivercrest, Potomac Hunt, Great Falls Forest and Great Falls Chase. (Great Falls Forest was first considered a part of Fairfax County; however, when an additional part of the neighborhood was added, it was switched to Loudoun County.  Development of Potomac Falls began in the late 1980s, and is essentially complete today. Potomac Falls borders Great Falls and Fairfax County to the southeast and has several shopping areas, schools, and community centers. Potomac Falls is not located on any map. Potomac Falls is also home to three 18-hole golf courses including Trump National Golf Club and is home to the Potomac Falls High School Panthers.
- Sterling Park is a portion of Sterling with the ZIP code of 20164. The land where Sterling Park was built was mainly made up of a few very large farms. When construction of Dulles International Airport began in 1959, land prices began to rise. In 1961, Marvin T. Broyhill, Sr., saw this as a great investment opportunity and decided to buy the 1,762 acres (713 ha) that now make up Sterling Park . Construction of homes priced $14,800 to $22,500 was completed by 1967. Sterling Park was one of the first planned communities built in eastern Loudoun County and was a popular place for government workers to settle with their families outside Washington, D.C. Sterling Park also contains a variety of businesses, churches, parks, a community center, a semi-private golf club with schools, tennis courts, and two swimming pools. It is the home of the Park View High School Patriots.
- Sugarland Run is a portion of Sterling with the ZIP code of 20164. Built in the 1970s in the style of Sterling Park, its shopping center consists of a 7-Eleven store and gas station, Pizza Hut, Panda West, High Up Food Mart, and a laundromat (which burned down on January 10, 2008). The housing around Sugarland Elementary School consists of town houses, apartments and single-family homes, while the housing around Meadowland Elementary is predominately single-family homes. .  and over 26 miles (42 km) of walking paths. There is also a community swimming pool and playground situated across from the lake. The swimming pool is 75 feet (23 m) by 160 feet (50 m), with a large diving well and a separate baby pool. Sugarland Run also is a geographical feeder to Dominion High School.
Sterling is home to many businesses and also serves as branch offices for many major companies. According to Manta, the following companies, with annual revenues of $20 million or more, have headquarters in Sterling, Virginia: Neustar and Electronic Instrumentation and Technology. Companies that have a branch office or headquarters in Sterling, with a total number of employees over 1,000 or more are as follows: Alcatel-Lucent, Geo Trans, HR Solutions LLC, M.C. Dean, Inc., National Electronics Warranty Corp, N E W Customer Service Companies Inc, and Orbital Science.
Currently, Sterling is home to three public high schools serving grades 9–12; Dominion High School, Park View High School, and Potomac Falls High School. Sterling also has three public middle schools serving grades 6–8; River Bend Middle School, Seneca Ridge Middle School, and Sterling Middle School. There are also twelve public elementary schools serving grades PK-5; Algonkian Elementary School, Countryside Elementary School, Forest Grove Elementary School, Guilford Elementary School, Horizon Elementary School, Lowes Island Elementary School, Meadlowland Elementary School, Potowmack Elementary School, Rolling Ridge Elementary School, Sterling Elementary School, Sugarland Elementary School, Sully Elementary School.
Northern Virginia Community College has a Loudoun campus on Harry F. Byrd Highway (Route 7). Nearby, in Ashburn, The George Washington University has its Virginia Science and Technology Campus, established in 1991.
Claude Moore Park occupies 357 acres (144 ha) in Sterling and offers activities for people of all ages, with three main areas. Claude Moore Recreation Center contains an Olympic-size indoor pool, a children's pool with water features, an exercise area, gymnasium, and several event and meeting rooms. The sportplex includes baseball and softball fields and the nature area includes hiking trails and the park. The last known undeveloped section of the historic Vestal's Gap Road runs across the park. Originally a trail first used by Native Americans, it was a major route for settlers between Alexandria and the Shenandoah Valley. George Washington used the road frequently in his travels between Mount Vernon and the western frontier. General Braddock's troops, including Daniel Boone, traveled Vestal's Gap Road during the French and Indian War.
Public works and services
Fire protection services are provided by the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company. Technical Rescue and Emergency Medical Services are provided by the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad. Both are non-governmental 501(c) non-profit organizations that operate as a part of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System, and share three stations: one in Sterling Park, one in Potomac Falls, and one in Kincora at the northern end of Pacific Boulevard. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police provide law enforcement.
Famous people who were born in or who lived in Sterling include:
- United States President James Buchanan had his summer home near what is now Ruritan Circle.
- Patton Oswalt, stand-up comedian
- Hilarie Burton, American actress from the television programs One Tree Hill and White Collar
- Austin St. John, American actor and martial artist from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series, who left acting to work as a paramedic and study martial arts
- Billy King, former general manager for the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA
- Pg. 99, a screamo band formed in 1999
- Conor Shanosky, a former United States men's national under-20 soccer team football player, who operated commonly as midfielder and defender, who was a D.C. United player, currently plays for Richmond Kickers.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Sterling has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Dulles Airport (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1960−present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||75
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||65.2
|Average high °F (°C)||42.5
|Average low °F (°C)||23.9
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||4.7
|Record low °F (°C)||−18
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.68
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||7.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.9||9.0||10.5||10.7||12.2||10.9||10.8||9.4||8.7||7.6||9.1||9.9||118.7|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||3.5||2.6||1.5||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.3||1.6||9.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||68.1||66.0||63.9||62.6||70.4||72.3||73.0||74.8||75.4||73.0||70.0||69.6||69.9|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1962–1990)|
- Willard, Virginia, adjacent village displaced for construction of Dulles Airport
- Algonkian Writers Conference, at Algonkian Park in Sterling
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- Scheel, Eugene; Broyhill, Marvin T., III (June 16, 2002). "With 'The Park,' County's Growth Battles Were Just Beginning". The History of Loudoun County, Virginia. Thomas Balch Library. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- Peskin, Dale (July 10, 2014). "Sterling gets its exciting back". Loudoun Times–Mirror. ISSN 0740-4034. Archived from the original on October 9, 2014.
' . . . put together a prefabricated home marketed by U.S. Steel and sell it for about $17,000 – $3,000 less than a comparable Fairfax County home', the developer wrote in his marketing plan. 'All homes to have air‑conditioning. Homeowners to have access without membership fees to golf and tennis courts and pools'.
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- "Sterling, Virginia (VA) companies & businesses". manta.com. June 15, 2010. Archived from the original on April 28, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- "Written testimony of CBP for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing titled "A Dangerous and Sophisticated Adversary: The Threat to the Homeland Posed by Cartel Operations"". Department of Homeland Security. 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
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- "Inside the DEA: A Chemist's Quest to Identify Mystery Drugs". Forensic Magazine. 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
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- "Loudoun County Public Schools' Official Website". loudoun.k12.va.us. June 15, 2010. Archived from the original on August 16, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "The George Washington University: Virginia Science and Technology Campus: About the Campus". gwu.edu. 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- "Sterling, VA Community Profile". hometownlocator.com. August 17, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- "Claude Moore Recreation Center". Loudoun County. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- The Vestal's Gap Road Marker
- Vestal's Gap Road
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- "Heritage Conservation Plan." Loudoun County, Virginia. 272 (18/22). Retrieved September 25, 2009.
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- "Power Morphicon 2007- Where are they Now? Part 1 of 6". YouTube. July 3, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- Climate Summary for Sterling, Virginia
- "NowData: NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
- "Station Name: VA WASHINGTON DC DULLES AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "WMO Climate Normals for WASHINGTON DC/DULLES INT'L AR, VA 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 4, 2015.