“I don’t know any neighborhoods where everyone’s walking around in seven-inch heels and perfect makeup.” Melissa McCarthy
One of Richmond’s best kept secrets is an area known as Forest Hill Park. It’s an area with a rich history dating back to its original owner, William Byrd, son of the recorded founder of the city of Richmond.
The Byrd family owned extensive land throughout central Virginia and the saga of Forest Hill park truly began when the younger Byrd auctioned off approximately 100 of his parcels to repay some debts. This property transfer reportedly included the area now known as Forest Hill park and began a series of property transfers including the purchase by Holden Rhodes, a Canadian transplant to Richmond. In 1833 Rhodes purchased a little over 100 acres and built a country estate for him and his wife the former Eliza Anne Cunliffe Heth. They called the home Boscobel, Italian for “beautiful woods,” and it was constructed of granite. The house became known as the “Old Stone House in Forest Hill park.”
After another series of transfers, following the Civil War, the property ended up in the hands of a group of investors from – wait for it – New York.
In 1889 the property was purchased by the Southside Land and Improvement Co. It became a hub for one of the country’s first successful trolley systems Forest Hill trolley. Fast forward to 1925 when the Virginia Passenger and Power Company – which later became Dominion Power – took over the property and in an attempt to increase traffic they even included a state of the art (circa 1920’s) amusement park with a carousel, roller coaster, fun house and of course a penny arcade. Combine that with the quarry pond bath house, boat lake, and golf course and who would want to ever leave. Unfortunately the Great Depression forced the closure of the Park in 1932.
The city of Richmond took the park over a year later and over the next 40 years began to revitalize the area to the point it is today. In 2002 the park was placed on the Virginia and national Registers of Historic Places. During the period of the city’s involvement, neighborhoods like Forest Hill, Westover Hills and Woodland Heights emerged. Forest Hill park was neighborhood developed in the early 1900’s. At the same time the Bungalow style home, which I have written about previously, became a popular prevalent style home.
Enter 4204 Forest Hill Avenue.
Built in 1930 this is a cornerstone property for the neighborhood officially called Forest Hill park land Development Company. Almost as if by divine intervention, the new owner is the perfect combination of property evaluator and improver. His company Dominion Due Diligence Group does that better than anyone in the country and even writes policy for HUD.
Like his predecessor, Holden Rhodes, Rob is a northern transplant who fell in love with the area. The park, the river, the trails and of course the proximity to downtown all make for the perfect place to rebuild, even as the area around his new home is well into the same process.
One of the great pleasures of being a real estate advisor is finding the perfect buyer for a property. Whether we represent the seller or the buyer there is an art to it. After seeing Rob in his new home I can say with some confidence this match goes in the win column.
Want to find the perfect home or perfect buyer for yours, you know where we are.
Enjoy Rob – Mr. Rhodes would be proud.
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