Charlottesville: A Brief History

The Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century

In 1854, the city held its first mayoral election. The mayor-city council form of town government continued until 1888, when Charlottesville was incorporated. At this time, a ring of land surrounding the original grid was annexed to create a city of 781 acres. This annexation and the slow recovery from the affects of the Civil War lead to a period of growth within the city. In 1887, the city received its first horse drawn street cars. An extra horse was kept at Vinegar Hill to assist cars in climbing the hill.

In 1895, the city macadamized the full length of Main Street, and the following year, East Market from Fifth to Eleventh Street also received the same improvement. "By 1920, the city had one mile of concrete paving, two miles of brick-surfaced streets, and eight miles of macadam. Since the city boasted it had forty-six miles of streets and alleys, this means less than one-fourth were paved in any manner whatsoever."4.

The turn of the twentieth century was a time of expansion and prosperity in Charlottesville. The increasing availability of good transportation in the form of rail and trolley lines, as well as graded and paved roads allowed easier travel to formerly distant parts of the city. Suburbanization began in these areas, especially near the University where housing was in high demand. Several farm holdings in the area were subdivided into suburban developments prior to World War II. Increasing development along the periphery of the town had the effect of slowly drawing activity away from the central business district. Areas such as Route 29 and Emmet Street on the north west side of town and Route 250 to the east became increasingly desirable locations for businesses and retail activity given the slow shift in population within the expanding city.

Charlottesville Brief Narrative Charlottesville Railroads Charlottesville Post World War II Charlottesville Brief Notes

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Last Modified: Thursday, 28-Jul-2005 17:00:33 EDT