Often overshadowed by the more well known Northside neighborhoods of Bellevue and Ginter Park, Sherwood Park is a hidden gem. The area is filled with charming, mostly brick homes along sleepy, tree-lined streets. The adjacent historic campuses of Union Presbyterian Seminary and Veritas School also contribute to the neighborhood’s appeal. Its borders are formed by Westwood Avenue to the North, Brook Road to the East, Interstates 64/95 to the South and Hermitage Road to the West.
Sherwood Park (like other Northside neighborhoods Ginter Park, Laburnum Park and Bellevue) was originally conceived in the late 1800s as a streetcar community by well-known and accomplished Richmond businessman, Lewis Ginter. Ginter hired renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr. to design the neighborhood but, sadly, times changed and other forces watered down Olmstead’s vision before it could be fully realized. However, another decision Ginter made did turn out to be very significant and meaningful to Sherwood Park and Ginter Park — he convinced Union Theological Seminary to the move to the area by donating 11 acres of land for a new campus. Union began construction of the campus in the mid 1890s. It now stands as a beautiful example of Tudor Revival architecture and one of the most recognizable historic properties in Richmond.
Ginter’s focus shifted from Sherwood Park to Ginter Park over time as he saw more potential in the growing interest of more affluent families in the Ginter Park development. Still, some lots in Sherwood were sold prior to 1900 but residential development did not begin in earnest until the mid 1920s. The first home was completed in 1929. As more outside forces such as the Great Depression and the construction of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike further slowed progress, the bulk of the homes were built between 1930 and 1960.
As interest in city living has renewed in recent years and Northside has become a popular destination for home buyers, Sherwood Park is poised to flourish again. It’s easy to see with just a quick drive through the neighborhood… construction dumpsters and contractor trucks scattered from block to block are the telltale signs of growing investment in the area. Supporting entertainment / retail / commercial development in other areas only blocks away (such as The Boulevard corridor and Scott’s Addition) has also been a strong catalyst.
Things to do and see nearby:
Union Presbyterian Seminary – It’s nice to have such a striking campus with such handsome architecture just a stone’s throw from home.
Lewis Ginter Recreation Association – A historic gem now a busy summer favorite for nearby residents.
Early Bird Biscuit Company – Tasty biscuits and pastries on Bellevue Avenue. Yes, please.
MacArthur Ave – The place to be in Northside. Several popular restaurants, a coffee shop, yoga studio, a small market and a wine shop draw many from both nearby residents and folks from other parts of the City.
Little House Green Grocery – Local, organic, natural and high quality food in small convenient (and green) package.
Flying Squirrels Baseball – The San Francisco Giants Double-A affiliate plays just blocks away at The Diamond.