Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Neighborhoods at Tredegar
Oregon Hill was once the location of “Belvidere,” the home of William Byrd III. Before the Civil War, the hillside was divided into small lots where workers and builders constructed small brick and frame houses. Early in its development, the area was once described as being far from the city as Oregon, and so the neighborhood became known as Oregon Hill. Those who built their houses on the hill, native Virginians and immigrants alike, created a close-knit community of white, skilled industrial and craft workers. For well over one hundred years, Oregon Hill was home to many of Richmond’s oldest working families. As the fortunes of Tredegar and other industrial employers declined in the 20th century, poverty and neglect took its toll on Oregon Hill. Although the houses closest to the river have been torn down, the western part of Oregon Hill remains.
Gamble’s Hill is now home to the headquarters of Ethyl Corporation. Named after Revolutionary War veteran Robert Gamble, the neighborhood of Gamble’s Hill developed as a middle- and upper-middle class community of managers, entrepreneurs, professionals and city officials.
Location. 37° 32.149′ N, 77° 26.821′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Tredegar Street 0.1 miles west of South 5th Street. Touch for map. This marker is located outside the Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works. Marker is at or near this postal address: 470 Tredegar Street, Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Industrial Recycling (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Isle Prison (within shouting distance of this marker); Making Machines at Tredegar (within shouting distance of this marker); Tredegar Rolling Mills Belle Isle and Old Dominion Iron and Nail Works (within shouting distance of this marker); Worker Housing (within shouting distance of this marker); Tredegar in 1951 (within shouting distance of this marker); President Lincoln Visits Richmond (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. On the left are photos of Oregon Hill with the caption,"Although she never lived in the community, tobacco heiress and philanthropist Grace Arents has been called the “patron saint” of Oregon Hill. Her many contributions to the neighborhood stand as testimony to her kindness and generosity. She funded such community landmarks as the Grace Arents Elementary School, the St. Andrews School, the Arents Free Library and the Arents Public Baths. Grace Arents died in 1926. Although she left no personal records, she left her estate, Bloemendahl Farm, to the city of Richmond as the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens."
In the center are photos of Penitentiary Bottom with the caption, "Employment opportunities for African Americans living in Penitentiary Bottom were quite limited. While a few men held skilled jobs such as plasterer, barber or carpenter, most worked as unskilled laborers. The working life of Martin Morris, a resident of the Bottom, was typical. During his lifetime Morris found work as a butler, porter, janitor and laborer in the ironworks. His opportunities for obtaining useful skills were limited both by Jim Crow segregation and the protectionism of white workers. Most African American women found work as domestic servants or as laborers in tobacco factories. This photo was taken in front of the Second African Baptist Church, a community anchor."
On the right are photos of Gamble's Hill with the caption, "One feature at Gamble’s Hill which remains today is the park-like setting of its south slope. Originally purchased by the city in 1851 for a “public promenade,” the park was a popular place to stroll on warm summer evenings and a challenge to young sled riders on snowy winter days. From the park, residents could look down upon the massive Tredegar Iron Works and other industrial sites that lined the river front."
Also see . . .
1. Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works. Richmond National Battlefield Park (Submitted on November 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Tredegar Iron Works. National Park Service (Submitted on November 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Oregon Hill Historic District. National Park Service (Submitted on November 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
4. Dr. Njeri Jackson. African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University (Submitted on November 13, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Industry & Commerce • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 941 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3, 4. submitted on November 13, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.