Vinegar Hill Photos

From UVA’s Vinegar Hill Project comes this great collection of historical photos of Vinegar Hill prior to its razing—houses and businesses, in particular. Anybody interested in local history will get a kick out of this.

5 Responses to “Vinegar Hill Photos”


  • While anything that is a part of history is very cool tome, this neighborhood seems best as history. I had known it was pretty much a slum, but not quite to that extent. Curiously, with the exception of that small area, it seems that the Black dominated portions of the city remain very close to the past. Much less gentrification that I had imagined.

    Imagine homes valued at under 2K in downtown Cville in our life time.

  • While a tiny number of structures were in terrible shape like this one, most appeared to be in good shape.

  • When I scroll the flickr pics, no way do i say MOST… perhaps occasional. And for better or worse, the value of a house is based on those around them, not the best in the middle.

  • Homes may have been shabby overall, no doubt shabbier than white areas of town. No doubt the overall “home values” were low. On the other hand, a community is more than just the overall value of the real estate in which it exists. Vinegar Hill was inhabited by a community made up families and individuals who had ties to one another: friendships, kinships, business relationships. When you uproot ALL of that, all at once, you can’t just deposit it in some new place, particularly a place like Westhaven, and expect the community to thrive. If the powers-that-be had truly been concerned about the living conditions of the residents of Vinegar Hill–rather than simply wishing to MOVE the residents and essentially annex the valuable land–they could have and should have “renewed” them on the land they had been on for generations.

  • This particular collection of pictures, I wonder if they were taken worth an agenda in mind. Sort of a “harvest of shame” idea. In the c.1980 era I used to hear this statistic “Charlottesville has the highest % of houses without indoor plumbing in the state,” something like that. At the time I took it as an attempt to dramatize the wide gap between rich & poor. (Similar comments were made about western Albemarle horse country up against hillbilly hollows.) Only later did I realize it had been part of the propaganda campaign to tear down Vinegar Hill. The buildings were gone, made into vacant fields, but the poisonous attitudes remained.

    You can look at the old insurance maps and see a wide variety of housing and businesses were there. Lebensraum for downtown interests took a lot of the coherence out of an old community in the center of the city.

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