Neighborhoods of RVA: Church Hill

Church Hill – Where it all began for Richmond

church hill street

As a resident of Church Hill, I often find myself strolling along the weathered brick sidewalks of Richmond’s oldest neighborhood, transported back in time. Enjoying a cup of locally roasted Riverbend coffee, I take in the remarkable historic architectural details that surround me and reflect on the generations that have called Church Hill home over the years. It’s a cherished experience that I highly recommend to anyone in RVA!

Church Hill’s boundaries may be subject to debate, but generally, it is considered to extend from 21st Street to the West, 32nd Street to the East, T Street to the North, and Franklin to the South. Within these borders, you’ll discover smaller neighborhoods like Chimborazo, Union Hill, Fairmont, and others.

The origin of Church Hill traces back to William Byrd II, who was granted this land by King James. Upon his arrival and upon seeing the magnificent view of the James River from atop the hill, he was reminded of his native Richmond-on-Thames. In 1737, he commissioned a survey and developed a plan for what would eventually become the City of Richmond.

St. John’s Church played a pivotal role in American history in 1775 when Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in front of luminaries like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, and others. This historic moment ultimately led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America.

After the American Revolution, in 1779, Col. Richard Adams acquired a significant portion of the area following Richmond’s designation as the Capital of Virginia and built his own home. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many other homes were constructed as the neighborhood found its identity. The proximity to local tobacco factories and other businesses along Broad and Main Streets attracted numerous workers to the area.

Church Hill continued to play a significant role in American history during the Civil War when it became the site of the war’s largest hospital, located in what is now Chimborazo Park. Chimborazo Hill initially served as a training ground for large regiments. Troops constructed numerous wooden barracks, but they soon departed for the front lines. Subsequently, these structures were repurposed to establish the Chimborazo Hospital, where over 75,000 patients received medical treatment during its operational period.

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Like many other Richmond neighborhoods, Church Hill had its share of ups and downs over the years. The World Wars and Great Depression were particularly challenging periods for the area. However, in recent years, Church Hill has matured significantly. The pace of renovation projects, new home construction, and the establishment of neighborhood businesses has become almost frenetic. Church Hill is rapidly becoming one of Richmond’s most desirable and frequently visited neighborhoods. It appeals to a wide range of people, especially those who appreciate its historical charm combined with a small-town urban atmosphere just outside of downtown Richmond.

church hill architecture

Church Hill has also become a thriving hub for community innovators, developers, and builders. Modern architecture is finding its place alongside historic structures, and many builders are restoring and revitalizing Art Deco, Colonial Revival, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne buildings that were previously overlooked. The neighborhood boasts creative retail spaces, some of Richmond’s finest restaurants and bars, and numerous community-oriented venues, all contributing to its positive growth and vibrant atmosphere.

The Roosevelt – Award winning, southern-style restaurant and perhaps the best cocktail bar in Richmond. It’s worth a visit… maybe three.

The Hill Cafe – This one was around before it was cool. It’s freshly renovated and ready to serve. Try the meatloaf.

Metzger Bar and Butchery – Metzger is German for butcher and it’s a really good restaurant.

Liberty Public House – Family style eatery located in a revived Art Deco theater.

Proper Pie Co – Delicious pies of all kind… what more could you ask for?

Sub Rosa – Stone-milled grains baked inside a wood fired oven = awesomeness.Church Hill, Church Hill North, Chimborazo and Union Hill Homes for Sale

Patrick Sullivan

Patrick Sullivan

Phone: +1 804.397.5078

Multiple-time Distinguished Achiever award winner, 2017 Richmond’s Finest Business Professional and a VIrginia Living Magazine Top 50 Realtor. Architecture lover, outdoor enthusiast and a true fan of all things RVA.

Click here to learn more about Patrick

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