Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Rivanna (06)

Henry Clay Marchant grave

In 1915, five years after Henry Clay Marchant’s death, his heirs turned the riverside land over to a group that saw in it a great aesthetic and recreational resource. The heirs leased, and later sold, the Marchant tract to the Albemarle Golf Club. Established in 1914, the club had enjoyed rapid growth, initially using leased land on Rose Hill. In 1915, George R. B. Michie, a charter member of the club and the president of the People’s National  Bank, approached the Marchant heirs and worked out a three-year lease for their land along the Rivanna River. For Michie, the arrangement seemed ideal. In 1909, Michie and his family had taken up residence in the 1820s house built by John A. G. Davis as the plantation house of The Farm.

Davis house aka the Farm

The house continued to look out over sod and pastures that the Marchant family had maintained since the 1890s. Now, with only minor changes, the landscape character would be preserved, and Michie would have the added advantage of having a golf course adjacent to his residence. For their part, the Marchant heirs insisted on preserving the pastoral character of the site. Their lease called for the land to be used for “athletic and grazing purposes only, and shall not be cultivated except so far as is necessary to get said land in the best condition possible for the raising of grass and sodding said land.” The sod could be removed only to build tennis courts and putting greens, and would have to be restored at the end of the lease. The existing grade of the land could not be altered, and no trees could be felled, save for a small orchard that could he removed if the golfers desired.

The rising popularity of golf in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was directly tied to the perception that urbanization would erode the health and vitality of the American citizens. A growing number of people who had been raised in the outdoors, on rural farms, had now taken up residence in cities and were spending their working lives indoors. This fact made the golf course seem an especially attractive venue for such city-dwellers to ensure healthy and restorative leisure. Pointing to the new golf course along the Rivanna, the Daily Progress reported: “The new grounds are within a short walking distance from the business center of Charlottesville ….The club is meeting a long-felt want in this community-that of furnishing healthful outdoor exercise for business and professional men who are kept in store or office during the major portion of the day.”  Many charter members of the Golf Club did indeed spend their days indoors doing white-collar work. For example, George Michie worked in the People’s National Bank at Third and Main. Marshall Timberlake ran his pharmacy  at Fourth  and Main. W.J. Keller  and  Harry  George operated their Main Street jewelry shop between Second Street and Third Street. All of these men lived within a few blocks of their workplace . All could now golf along the Rivanna where tennis, baseball, and boating were also available. Clearly, the Golf Club represented a new use for the agricultural lands along the Rivanna. Indeed, despite the appearance of the land that seemed somewhat pastoral in nature, the Marchant heirs had forbidden  the planting of corn on the site and in 1915 after a “very rigorous debate,” club members voted to terminate the pasturage of cows on the land, preferring to pay for the mowing of the fairways. Under these changed circumstances, the agricultural landscape grew increasingly attenuated; nevertheless, with the introduction of golf, the site retained both its alluring pastoral character and its intricate connection to the economic, residential, and social life of the region. In 1918, pleased with their location and the growth of their organization, the Albemarle Golf Club paid the Marchant heirs $18,800 and took full ownership of their riverside golf course.

Alb Golf club members

Members of the Albemarle Golf Club, 1921. Although not pictured, women could join the club as non-voting members, paying half the annual membership fee of men while the entrance fee was waived. Photo courtesy collection of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society.

Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Rivanna: The Unexecuted Plans For a River City
is by Daniel Bluestone and Steven G. Meeks. This article was published in Volume 70 2012 of the Magazine of Albemarle County History by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Copies of the Magazine are available at www.albemarlehistory.org

Timberlake Place


JABA held a ceremony today behind the historic Timberlake-Branham house to celebrate the ground-breaking of its income and age restricted multi-family housing project.


Mayor Satyendra Huja (center) joined by developers Preston Coiner and Chris Murray.


Timberlake Place has been in the planning stages since 1999 according to architect Charles Hendricks of The Gaines Group. Developer of this project is Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Inc.

Timberlake Place will provide 26 units of low-to-moderate income housing and one market-rate apartment for persons aged 55 and over. The new housing combines the historic rehabilitation of the Timberlake-Branham House with 22 newly constructed one- and two-bedroom apartments in three buildings behind the original house. The new construction has been carefully designed to fit in with the scale and character of the Woolen Mills neighborhood, and will feature both “senior-friendly” universal design, and energy-efficient EarthCraft construction throughout.–JABA

53 mgd part two


Scale / Character
The Woolen Mills has recently been designated a historic neighborhood both in Virginia and nationally. The proposed expansion is HUGE. The scale and character of the proposed building and use for Option A is incompatible. The building is massive compared to adjacent homes.


Feasibilty in Question
RWSA provided the information below on sizes of structures. A large portion of the staging area during construction would require tree clearing in the park and floodway. A portion of the site required for the development would be in the flood plain. The Charlottesville Zoning Regulations severely restrict construction in the flood way. Site is banked up against a stream (with no stream buffer) and destroys likely wetlands.


Environmental Impact in the Chesapeake Bay Region
The likely site of the expansion for Option A is bordered by nearby streams on two sides. The green circle indicates an area that may qualify as wetlands. Several years ago, then City Councilor Kevin Lynch indicated the City wanted to preserve this site as wetland. Surely, when this information is further confirmed, RWSA would not consider, in destroying wetlands or occupying important stream buffers, trading one set of water quality measures, for another?


Not NIMBY
The Woolen Mills is still more affected by Option D than Pantops households. The majority of homes in the Pantops neighborhood are a half-mile distant and unaffected by Option D.


Not NIMBY
Option D puts the new pumping station more distant from the Woolen Mills and still considerably distant from the nearest Pantops residents.




Smelly, Noisy
Since the 1960’s RWSA has occupied the existing site. When the first facility was installed, the neighborhood was promised there would be no smells, no noise. The Woolen Mills have lived with smells and noise these fifty plus years. We are told if the equipment is enclosed in a building the smells be be mitigated. RWSA acknowledges though there will always be smells and noise. It’s time to reverse poor planning and move the infrastructure out of the neighborhood. When someone flushes a toilet in Forest Lakes or UVA or Belmont, we don’t want to smell it in the Woolen Mills!


Good Urban Planning
Industrial zoning adjacent to residential neighborhoods is not considered appropriate zoning. This is a new facility – we’d like to see any examples of a new facility of this scale in a neighborhood in the United States. We believe few or none exist as testimony to the inappropriateness of these adjacencies.


Parkland lost
The site for Option A is parkland and is situated at the entrance to Riverview Park and is estimated to clear 1.5 acres of parkland for construction. That’s 1.5 acres of cleared park land to be turned into an industrial use! Please keep the “PROTECT” in “Public Park Protection.”


River“view” Park
A view of the river? Or, a view of a massive industrial complex? The image below imagines the view from historic homes toward a meadow and river views – a park restored as a gateway to the Rivanna River.

53 million gallons per day

















Click here to download a high resolution version of this document. The document above was prepared and presented to Charlottesville City Council by Woolen Mills resident Allison Ewing during the “matters from the public” portion of the March 7, 2011 Council meeting. The text below is a repeat of the text above, included so it can be found by Internet search engines.
To facilitate search engine function I add the following keywords: sewage pumping plant, floodplain, Park, DEQ, residential neighborhood, EPA, Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994, Environmental Justice.–Bill Emory

Feasibilty in Question

RWSA estimates the size of the site infrastructure will be two acres and the building will be 50’x90’. The additional capacity required, however, (2.12x current) would require a 90’x90’ building 35’ tall, based on the existing size and capacity. This drawing indicates that only approximately .8 acres of the assumed expansion will fit in the flood plain. The remainder of the two acres would have to be located in the flood way. The Charlottesville Zoning Regulations severely restrict construction in the flood way.

In the 1980’s when the pumping station was first built, the neighborhood was promised there would be no smells, no noise. The Woolen Mills have lived with smells and noise these thirty plus years. We are told if the equipment is enclosed in a building the smells be be mitigated. RWSA acknowledges though there will always be smells and noise. It’s time to reverse poor planning and move the infrastructure out of the neighborhood. When someone flushes a toilet in Forest Lakes or UVA or Belmont, we don’t want to smell it in the Woolen Mills!
Over the past twelve years, RWSA has spent considerable money trying to improve the unsightliness, smells and noise.
Why continue to spend good money after bad?

Scale/Character

The Woolen Mills has recently been designated a historic neighborhood both in Virginia and nationally. The proposed expansion is HUGE. The scale and character of the proposed building and use for Option A is incompatible. The building is massive compared to adjacent homes.

Parkland Lost
The site for Option A is parkland and is situated at the entrance to Riverview Park and is estimated to occupy two acres of land. That’s two acres of cleared park land to be turned into an industrial use! Please keep the “PROTECT” in “Public Park Protection.”

Environmental Impact in the Chesapeake Bay Region
The likely site of the expansion for Option A is bordered by nearby streams on two sides. The green circle indicates an area that may qualify as wetlands. Several years ago, then City Councilor Kevin Lynch
indicated the City wanted to preserve this site as wetland. Surely, when this information is further confirmed, RWSA would not consider, in destroying wetlands or occupying important stream buffers, trading one set of water quality measures, for another?

Property Values and Fairness
The difference between the costs of Option A (the least expensive – $25,000,000) and Option C (the most expensive – $37,000,000) is only 6 cents/1000 gallons. The average household uses roughly 5,000 gallons/month so the difference is only 30 cents/month for the average household – the equivalent to the price of a cappucino, on a yearly basis. Realtor Roger Voisinet estimates the property value of the adjacent home to be negatively impacted by $50,000.
The pumping station serves neighborhoods in the City and County and as distant as Forest Lakes, yet it has to solely bear the burden of the expansion? It seems only fair the pumping station expansion be
relocated and the costs of approximately 30 cents/month shared by all users.

Good Urban Planning
The City of Charlottesville supports infill development. This policy is good for the vitality of downtown and reduces automobile traffic while mitigating the pressure that fuels suburban sprawl. Good urban planning doesn’t mix industrial with residential uses. It is time to confront infrastructure demands in a manner consistent with these goals and with the City of Charlottesville’s motto, “A Great Place to Live for All of Our Citizens.”
This is NEW infrastructure (as stated in RWSA CIP document). No community would consider putting new infrastructure of this scale in a neighborhood today.

River “view” Park
A view of the river? Or, a view of a massive industrial complex? The image below imagines the view from historic homes toward a meadow and river views – a park restored as a gateway to the Rivanna River.–Allison Ewing