Jackson Ward is a nationally recognized historic neighborhood located on the northern side of Richmond’s downtown district. Its boundaries are defined by Interstate 64/95 to the north, Belvidere Street to the west, Broad Street to the south, and 2nd Street to the east. This neighborhood is renowned for its rich history, architecture, and potential for revitalization.
The origins of Jackson Ward can be traced back to 1769 when William Byrd III subdivided and sold 100 acres of land on the outskirts of the city. In the 1800s, several landowners followed suit by dividing their parcels into smaller lots. This led to the development of Jackson Ward, attracting a diverse population of European immigrants, freed slaves, artisans, and businessmen who constructed many of the historic buildings that still stand today. This growth was closely intertwined with the expansion of Richmond’s Broad Street corridor, creating a thriving African-American community known for its entertainment venues, churches, and civil rights activism. Jackson Ward earned the nickname “birthplace of Black Capitalism” due to its role in African-American economic development during this period.
Jackson Ward’s heyday in the 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed the construction of numerous distinctive and elegant architectural styles, including Greek Revival, Italianate, and Second Empire. However, the 1950s marked a period of decline for the neighborhood due to shifting demographics and the construction of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike. During this time, Jackson Ward’s reputation transitioned from being a cultural hub to a troubled neighborhood grappling with various challenges.
Thankfully, Jackson Ward is experiencing a resurgence. Individuals who appreciate the neighborhood’s character and possibilities, including homeowners, business owners, and investors, are contributing to its revival. Factors like the revitalization of Broad Street, the burgeoning arts community, and the neighborhood’s proximity to VCU’s campus, medical center, and Convention Center have all played a role in making it a sought-after destination in recent years.
Here are a few things to check out:
- Art and lots of it! – The Richmond arts community is thriving and Jackson Ward is home to many galleries. Check them out next time you are there or during First Fridays Art Walk.
- Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia – Located in the what was formerly the Leigh Street Armory, this is a “must visit” when visiting Jackson Ward.
- Hippodrome Theater – Opened in 1914. Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Richmond’s own Bill “Bojangles” Robinson performed there regularly.
Jackson Ward Homes for Sale
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.