Martha Jefferson Historic District
The Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Association filed an application on May 24, 2010 to be the first City neighborhood to be designated as a Historic Conservation District. City Council approved their application on October 18, 2010. For more information, including a map of the proposed district, follow this link: Proposed Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Historic Conservation District.
The Martha Jefferson Historic District was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register on December 5, 2007 and the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2008. The district began as a large farm known as Locust Grove that was later subdivided. East High Street forms the southern boundary of the district, while the 250 By-pass to the north creates a definitive edge for this neighborhood. Eastern and western boundaries for the northern portion of the district are roughly the back edge of properties fronting Locust Avenue. Heading south, closer to Martha Jefferson Hospital, the eastern and western boundaries spread out to include properties fronting Lexington Avenue to the west and Grove Avenue to the east.
The neighborhood began to develop in the late 19th century with the help of the Locust Grove Investment Company and continued to grow with the establishment of the Martha Jefferson Hospital in 1903. The neighborhood was built for the middle and upper classes and offered some of the amenities of suburban development while still being close to downtown Charlottesville. The district retains much of its historic fabric as few buildings were constructed after the 1950s. The original plantation house for the Locust Grove property remains on a large lot in this district and features an intact detached kitchen and smokehouse, rare examples of these architectural types within the city. Many of the later homes are in Victorian or Bungalow styles and demonstrate the shift from agricultural to residential land use.
The history of this neighborhood features ongoing negotiations between the residents and the needs of Martha Jefferson Hospital. The hospital rapidly expanded after World War II and has continued to grow, often into the surrounding residences. Maplewood Cemetery is included within this historic district and was originally a family burial plot that later became a public burial ground and many people associated with both the neighborhood and the hospital are buried there.